Who we are
The Biodynamic Association (BDA) is a charitable organisation founded in 1929 to foster and promote biodynamic farming and gardening in the UK. We give support and advice, publish our journal Star & Furrow, and organize regular workshops and conferences. We belong to the worldwide biodynamic movement, inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture Lectures, given in 1924. Put simply, our aim is greater vitality for people and planet through more biodynamic acres, more biodynamic food, and more understanding of biodynamics.
Membership is open to everyone interested in biodynamics, whether or not they are practicing farmers or gardeners. The present subscription rate is £35 per annum for up to 2 members of the same household in the United Kingdom; £20 per annum for students, unwaged, and senior citizens; £40 for members in Europe; and £45 for all other countries.
We invite you to join our work by becoming a member.
Our contact details can be found here.
Our Roots in Anthroposophy
Biodynamics was first envisioned by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) in a series of lectures given in 1924. Since then biodynamics has spread and continued to develop worldwide. The Association keeps abreast of its developments in science, nutrition, education, health and social reform. It is linked to the Agricultural Section of the School of Spiritual Science (Switzerland) and affiliated as a group of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain. It is also a full member of Demeter International.
Biodynamics is an international movement, practiced widely in over 50 countries. Currently there are approx 5000 certified biodynamic farms worldwide, though the number of farms, smallholdings, vineyards, gardens and private gardeners practising biodynamic methods is much greater.
Demeter International is the body that sets the standards for certification. To join Demeter is to join a worldwide family of biodynamic organic farmers, growers, artisan food producers, and manufacturers. Demeter International is committed to developing its standards and promoting the Demeter brand; supporting its licensees; providing a resource base for Demeter certified ingredients etc.; and furthering the work of Biodynamics. Its headquarters are in Darmstadt, Germany.
Demeter is the only ecological association that has built up a network of individual certification organisations world-wide. The full scope of its work can be found here.
In Spring 2011 Patrick Holden CBE agreed to be Patron for the Biodynamic Association. He has a long association with biodynamics, having spent a year on the biodynamic course at Emerson College.
He was formerly the Director of the Soil Association; he is currently Director of the Sustainable Food Trust, which he founded in 2011.Read more about Patrick here
Biodynamic Association Executive
Gabriel Kaye has worked with and supported biodynamics all her life. Born on a biodynamic farm and a keen biodynamic gardener, Gabriel has worked for the Biodynamic Association and Certification for seven years. She helped start, develop and lead the Biodynamic Land Trust. Gabriel has a background in administration and management of associations, schools, and other charitable organisations, building a wealth of expertise in these areas. She has run her own craft pottery business, been a trainer and consultant in organisational structures, charity requirements, and management for Steiner Schools and has a grown family. Now in 2019 she brings her experience and expertise to the Biodynamic Association as its Executive Director.
Director of Communications and Fundraising
Dr. Paul Rainger lives on a smallholding in Gloucestershire. He joined the Association in 2019 to help further develop the BDA’s marketing, communications and fundraising, having previously been in a similar role with St Werburghs City Farm in Bristol. Prior to that Paul was Founder & Director of Bristol’s BIG Green Week Festival for four years, and worked with Forum for the Future on a range of sustainable city living projects. He has also been Head of Farm Animal Welfare for the World Society for the Protection of Animals, Director of Campaigns for the Liberal Democrats, and a research astronomer at St Andrews University.
Jessica has worked for the Association since 1999. It is a job she loves and she never fails to be excited about the work of the biodynamic movement and its potential. Each day, the Association brings her in touch with all kinds of inspirational and heart warming people both from the UK and abroad. For her, it is like belonging to the best family possible.
Her role is to run the office: this involves anything and everything to do with the Association, including assisting with any inquires about biodynamics, membership, events, regional groups, education, sourcing products, and administering our online shop for books, DVD’s, and biodynamic preparations. She also has responsibility for the e newsletter, Biodynamic Buzz, and helps with the day to day updating of the website etc.
Editor Star and Furrow and Research Coordinator
Richard has been involved with biodynamic work for over 45 years, mostly in the fields of gardening, research and food processing, including nearly 30 years working in Camphill Communities (both in the UK and overseas). A former Trustee of the BDA, he has been editor of the BDA membership magazine Star and Furrow for the past 18 years. Richard has an in depth knowledge of biodynamic standards, and is the Biodynamic Certification’s Processing Technical officer, and an Inspector. He has a degree in Chemistry, is currently studying for a Master’s Degree on Researching Holistic Approaches to Agroecology with the Crossfields Institute, and acts as the BDA’s coordinator for biodynamic research.
Biodynamic Association Council (Trustees)
Julia Wright ( Chair)
Julia is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University (CAWR). She has a degree in environmental studies, a postgraduate diploma in Land Resource Planning, an MSc in Sustainable Agriculture and a PhD on the coping strategies of the Cuban farming and food system in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union. In 2003 she headed up the International Programme of the Henry Doubleday Research Association (now Garden Organic), based at Ryton Gardens, and has over 25 years of experience in international research and development relating to organic farming and food security, both in the UK and overseas, including Latin America. Her current project is a research programme on “Quantum based Agriculture” in order to recognise and give credibility to the non physical dimensions of agriculture.
Joe Couling ( Vice Chair)
I am a biodynamic apprentice at Fern Verrow farm in Herefordshire where we grow fruit, vegetables, flowers, and herbs. I have recently changed careers after working as an online marketer in the publishing industry. My particular area of interest is in the current dialogue between science and spirituality and in the synthesis of ancient wisdom with the new sciences. This is an exciting moment to be a part of the biodynamic movement as it reaches a growing mainstream audience. I have the experience necessary to both articulate and disseminate the esoteric concepts at the heart of biodynamics to a new audience using online media.
Ian looks after and dispatches the biodynamic preparations and books on behalf of the BDA from where he lives in the Grange Village Community, Gloucestershire. He was also the BDA treasurer between 1999 and 2015 and still keeps a keen eye on the Association’s finances. He is passionate about the planets and stars and especially how they influence biodynamic growing through the biodynamic planting calendar. On this he has given many workshops and courses to biodynamic apprentices and others over the years. Ian came to biodynamics after a 20 year period in Birmingham involved in wholefoods and Friends of the Earth campaigns. He worked for a while in the garden at the Grange growing seeds before working in the Grange office for many years.
Benedict is founder of Soil, Silence and Service, a project committed to bringing the powerful and poor together through a deep re-engagement with the land. Having spent two years living with Benedictine monks, he is now a passionate advocate for sustainable land-based livelihoods and in particular, the promotion and development of biodynamic gardening and farming. Having successfully built up his own Cambridge-based technology company and consulted for a wide range over organizations spanning the Creative Industries, the Tech sector and Healthcare, Benedict now works for the Charities Aid Foundation.
BDA Agricultural Advisor
Peter Brown has farmed biodynamically since he was 21, first on a farm near Cape Town in South Africa for 15 years, then in Germany for 3 years before moving to Tablehurst Farm in Sussex in 1994. In 1996 Tablehurst became one of the first CSA’s in the country, a mixed biodynamic farm of over 600 acres with a farm shop, which includes 3 apprentices and 3 adults with learning disabilities as part of the team. As Director (20014-2017), among his other achievements, Peter devoted much of his energy into successfully launching the Seed Co-operative http://www.seedcooperative.org.uk He continues to serve the BDA as a trustee and is the Biodynamic Association’s Agricultural Adviser.
A previous trustee, Spencer is currently Vice Chair of the BDA, and is a biodynamic farmer at Lauriston Farm in Essex, which became Demeter certified in 2008. Most of the farm is a SSSI for birds. They also raise Shetland cattle and North Ronaldsay sheep, produce vegetables and keep bees. Spencer studied environmental science at degree level and worked on a conservation research studentship with MAFF for three years, and worked in industry before joining the family farm. The farm business is currently becoming community owned where feeding the local community, education about biodynamics and working with adults with learning difficulties will be a major focus. In addition to giving local talks about biodynamics and bees, Spencer runs a seven day introductory biodynamic course and around 200 people a year on farm walks and open days.
Anette Drevson ( Hon Treasurer)
As a newly elected trustee in 2018 Anette is taking over the position as treasurer. With an apprenticeship as tax assistant Anette kicked-off her professional journey which has given her insight into pretty much all corporate financial areas in the following 30 years. In-between she added to her educational background an Honours Degree in Economics with major in Management Accounting as well as an MBA in Performance Management. Anette recently decided to open a new chapter by turning her skills in more meaningful directions. The biodynamic world is therefore new and so far unknown territory to her. In her home county Cornwall Anette is involved in many different social, environmental and sustainable initiatives and charities. In her very own projects, she is supporting entrepreneurs and social enterprises in their Financial Wayfinding. Furthermore, Anette is establishing herself as Web Designer which enables her creative side.
Odilia has spent her life involved in the biodynamic movement, and has been a member of the Biodynamic Association for over 20 years. She grew up in Kings Langley, was educated at the local Steiner School, and now teaches children with severe or profound learning difficulties. She helps to run the Biodynamic allotments in Kings Langley, is involved in her local Transition activities and also organises ‘Ways to Quality’ courses which brings her in contact with many Camphill Communities. Having been involved for several years on the fringes of the GM debate, she is passionate about developing transparency and respect for all aspects of our environment and those who live in it.
Involved with biodynamic farming for over 40 years, Chris became a trustee of the BDA in 2000, and served as the Chairman of Trustees from 2013 to 2018. Farming has been a huge part of his life since he was 18. He worked at Newton Dee Camphill Village Trust in Scotland whilst attending agricultural college (part-time), and attended Felinfach College of Farming and Agriculture whilst working for the BDA’s Patron, Patrick Holden. He also has a BA (in Religion and Ethics in Western Thought) from the University of Wales (Lampeter) and a Masters (Sustainable Agricultural Systems) from the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. 28 years ago he, his wife and 4 sons moved to a 48 acre bare field in Herefordshire, which has been gradually transformed into a small organic/Biodynamic farm. Chris also works for Herefordshire Council supporting adults with a variety of needs.
Roberto is the Biodynamic Land Co-ordinator at Clervaux near Darlington, a Ruskin Mill Trust centre. He oversees their biodynamic market garden , farmland and woodland and is responsible for providing social, therapeutic and work experience opportunities on the land for Clervaux residents, land workers and volunteers. He has a long standing interest in Nature, extensive experience of permaculture and organic and sustainable farming practices, and has worked as a Woofer in the UK and south East Asia. His qualifications include the BDA 2 year Level 3 Diploma in Biodynamic Agriculture, and MSc in Practical Skills Therapeutic Education at the University of West England Roberto’s special interest is in developing biodynamic gardening for back- yard gardeners particularly in urban gardens, encouraging biodynamic practice at a local level, and to bring more biodynamics to the North East!
Since growing up on Stormy Hall farm, a biodynamic farm in the North Yorkshire Moors in Botton Village, Hannah has always lived with a keen interest and many questions about our food and farming systems. Over the years she witnessed her father, Hans Steenbergen, developing Stormy Hall Demeter Seeds, out of which grew the Seed Co-operative, which she now works for freelance. During her studies at the University of St Andrews, she co-founded Transition University of St Andrews, before graduating with an MA in Sustainable Development. She spent a year studying at the international Youth Initiative Programme in Järna, Sweden and later returned there to work for Summer of Soil. Currently Hannah is a Projects Officer at the Sustainable Food Trust. She is involved in several areas of the organisation including policy and research work, finance and admin, as well as communications, film making and events.
Is a biodynamic farmer, consultant, and teacher. Estate manager at Waltham Place a 220-acre biodynamic estate in Berkshire. André has worked extensively as a market gardener, outdoor classroom teacher and was a founding member of the seed company Living Seeds in Portugal. André has had the opportunity to work on farms in Brazil, Portugal, and UK. He has travelled widely teaching workshops and lecturing on Biodynamic agriculture. He is recognized as a biodynamic consultant by the international Biodynamic Agriculture section at the Goetheanum in Switzerland, and his educational work is featured in the documentary The Challenge of Rudolf Steiner.
Board of Studies
Our family of organisations
BDA Certification is a department within the UK Biodynamic Association, and is responsible for the certification of UK producers and processors to organic and biodynamic (Demeter) standards.
It is a member of the International Biodynamic Association (IBDA) and Demeter International (DI). It is the IBDA, who owns the Demeter Trademark. This is administered by Demeter International, who licenses the Biodynamic Association in the UK to sub-license the use of the Trade Mark in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
The Trade Mark is used by all certified biodynamic producers in the UK and the Republic of Ireland is the guarantee to consumers that internationally recognised Demeter (biodynamic) standards are being followed. The standards cover production, processing, labelling, and trade, and apply in more than 50 countries. They are equivalent to, and in many cases higher than, EU organic standards.
Tel: 01453 766296
The Biodynamic Land Trust is a charitable community benefit society, established in 2011 to secure land for biodynamic farming, gardening and food production in the long term. We do this in many ways, including: gift and lease back, bequests, partnerships, community involvement and share offers.
It is directed by a small board of volunteer directors who are elected by members at Annual General Meetings. Members join by investing in withdrawable, non-profit shares. Both individuals and organisations can join, each member has one vote.
The BDA is the custodian trustee of the Biodynamic Land Trust.
Biodynamic Land Trust Ltd
Tel: 01453 367233
Charity XT33649, Community Benefit Society, registration number 31448R
The Biodynamic Association has been instrumental in bringing about the Seed Co-operative, which is dedicated to ensuring a resilient and sustainable food future through seeds. Open pollinated seeds adapt to their local conditions and changes in climate through natural processes due to inherent genetic biodiversity.
We work in three main themes:
- Producing biodynamic and organic vegetable, herb and flower seed, and developing a network of seed growers.
- Breeding new varieties of vegetable seed for organic and biodynamic farming.
- Sharing knowledge and skills about seed saving, plant breeding and the importance of seed and food sovereignty.
Seed Co-operative is the trading name of Biodynamic and Organic Plant Breeding and Seeds Ltd, which is registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 as a Community Benefit Society. The BDA is a custodian trustee of the Seed Co-operative.
Gosberton Bank Nursery
Tel: 01775 840592
Community Benefit Society, registration number 7013
A huge thanks to our loyal publishers, authors and photographers who have allowed us to explain and illustrate biodynamics with their inspiring photographs and work
Will Heap; for photos from Biodynamics in Practice, published by Rudolf Steiner Press.
Tessa Traeger; for photos from Fern Verrow, published by Quadrille.
Dorling Kindersley; for photos from DK Biodynamic Gardening.
Jenny Zarins, for photos in Eat Right, published by Kyle Books.
All these books can be purchased in our online shop.
Individual photo credits
Misty cow: Eat Right © Kyle Books / Jenny Zarins
Pumpkins: © Richard Swann
Cow by fence: © Richard Swann
Pea pod: © Eat Right © Kyle Books / Jenny Zarins
Vineyard: © Richard Swann
Biodynamic preps: Biodynamic Gardening DK © Dorling Kindersley / Will Heap
Field prep blog: Biodynamic Gardening DK © Dorling Kindersley / Will Heap
Compost prep blog: Biodynamic Gardening DK © Dorling Kindersley / Will Heap
Vine: © Richard Swann
Lunar calendar blog: Biodynamic Gardening DK © Dorling Kindersley / Will Heap
Spraying: Biodynamic Gardening DK © Dorling Kindersley / Will Heap
Research blog: © Richard Swann
Courgette flower: Biodynamic Gardening DK © Dorling Kindersley / Will Heap
Lupins: Biodynamics in Practice © Rudolph Steiner Press / Will Heap
Cosmos: © Richard Swann
Vine: © Richard Swann
Single bees: © Heidi Herrmann
Bee swarm: © Heidi Herrmann
Seed collecting: © Organic Growers Association
Seed drying: © Organic Growers Association
Lettuces: © Richard Swann
Chard: Biodynamics in Practice © Rudolph Steiner Press / Will Heap
Cosmos: © Richard Swann
Redcurrants: Biodynamic Gardening DK © Dorling Kindersley / Will Heap
Girl and cow: © Richard Swann
Chickens: Eat Right © Kyle Books / Jenny Zarins
Fruit punnets: Fern Verrow © Quadrille / Tessa Traeger
Group gardening: © Richard Swann
Vineyard: © Monty Waldin
Horns in wheelbarrow: © Richard Swann
Sheep in sunset: © Richard Swann
People talking: © Richard Swann
Elderflowers: Fern Verrow © Quadrille / Tessa Traeger
Gardeners composting: © Richard Swann
Shop scene: © Richard Swann
Bees in cells: © Heidi Herrmann
CSA Organic Health shop © Richard Swann
Vortex: © Richard Swann
Apples: Biodynamics in Practice © Rudolph Steiner Press / Will Heap
Geese: Biodynamics in Practice © Rudolph Steiner Press / Will Heap