Relevance of the Course
Nowadays, we increasingly hear complaints about the lack of taste, vitality, and nutrition in foods. We also hear stories of the increasing rise of cancer and other forms of degenerative diseases especially among the young. More and more, people are realizing that modern agriculture, the so-called “green revolution” agriculture, is the source of many of these problems. The heavy use of pesticides chronically poisons thousands of farmers and triggers cancerous illnesses in consumers. The wide use of artificial manures decreases soil fertility and produces food of low nutritious values, resulting in weak vitality and health in humans. Plant varieties are starting to run down due to the lack of vitality in seeds raised thru chemical farming, making farming more risky and less profitable.
As recognition of these problems, corporations and some scientists have introduced the use of genetic engineering in agriculture, further increasing the toxicity of modern-day farming. Fortunately, there are alternatives available to the destructive practices of green revolution agriculture. Together, these alternatives are known as “sustainable agriculture”.
Among these alternatives is bio-dynamic agriculture, an advanced form of organic farming that works directly with the formative forces of life that govern all living processes. Bio-dynamic agriculture is one of the many initiatives arising out of spiritual science introduced in the beginning of the 20th century by Dr. Rudolf Steiner. Over 1 million hectares around the world, producing the widest diversity of food products, are currently under bio-dynamic cultivation. The Course Lecturer has successfully introduced and adapted bio-dynamic farming in the Philippines.
This introductory course will cover the existing challenges of green revolution agriculture: the hazards of pesticides, the long-term damage to the soil and to human health by artificial chemical fertilizers, internal and external soil erosion, and others.
From this grounding in the problems of conventional agriculture, we will take a look at the basic principles of the bio-dynamic agriculture approach. We will also devote time to actual hands-on compost making, green manuring, ecological pest management, watering techniques, bio-dynamic techniques, and specific cultural practices for some vegetables including lettuce.
We will begin the course on Friday evening with an introduction of participants and their expectations. We will spend the whole of Saturday and Sunday (except the evenings) tackling the various theoretical and practical aspects of bio-dynamic agriculture. We will end the course on late Sunday afternoon.
We would like to emphasize that this course is an introductory course. It will give enough understanding and skills to start a small garden. However, this does not mean that all the important elements of organic and bio-dynamic farming will be covered by the course. What is more important is that participants begin a practice in bio-dynamic farming and start a journal of experiences and questions. This will become the basis for participation in advanced courses in bio-dynamic agriculture which the Course Instructor will hold in due time.
This course is relevant to all those who want to produce organic and bio-dynamic foods. It is also for all those who want to understand the serious health and environmental problems associated with chemical agriculture and the various forms of sustainable agriculture that address these problems. It is for the housewife, the student, the teacher, the professional, the farmer, the businessperson, and for anybody else who wants to live a healthier life and promote a safer environment. In short, it is for everybody, even those without agriculture background, who wants to have a more healthy and meaningful existence.
Nicanor Perlas is the instructor of the course. Perlas graduated with highest honors and was the valedictorian of his class in agriculture and worked, hands-on, with organic and bio-dynamic farming for over 25 years. He has trained thousands in more than 23 provinces in the bio-dynamic approach in the past 15 years. He also advised sustainable agriculture programs worth over P300 million by donor agencies pursuing large-scale sustainable agriculture in the Philippines. He headed the Philippine Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (PhilSAC), composed of dozens of civil society organizations, and spearheaded many national events in sustainable agriculture. He is the General Manager of Ikapati Farm, the country’s first large-scale, commercial organic and bio-dynamic vegetable farm. Nicanor Perlas has received the Global 500 Award of the UN, the Outstanding Filipino Award (TOFIL), and the alternative Nobel Prize for his work in sustainable agriculture, among others.