Based on Rudolf Steiner’s work with farmers, biodynamic farming and gardening works to ensure a complex and healthy ecosystem that can support the plants and animals being grown and cultivated for consumption. The biodynamic farmer pays particular attention to soil health through biodynamic preparations, crop rotations, on-site fertility building, and more.
At San Francisco Waldorf School we have an early grades biodynamic gardening program and a high school urban agriculture program. Our early grades program for kindergarten through 3rd grade takes place at St. Anne’s Home, a home serving the elderly poor run by Little Sisters of the Poor. This community relationship to the garden allows the children to see agriculture in service to humanity as well as the land itself. One of the goals of our work at St. Anne’s is to grow the children’s love and reverence for the earth. We do this through meaningful farming work which they find fascinating (particularly when it involves bugs) and satisfying.
Starting during the second year of kindergarten, the children experience a full curriculum during their regular field trips to the garden. They plant, dig, harvest, and explore the garden with a deepening awareness as they grow older. They experience real work as farmers that demands full body movement and rich sensory interactions. They expand their understanding of seasonal cycles, begin to learn about bees through observation of hive materials, cook from the garden, build garden infrastructure (rock basins, raised beds), and develop good habits of tool usage and care. Their work is balanced with stories that explain and introduce natural, seasonal phenomena as well as create wonder and appreciation for nature and spirit beings.