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Know Your Roots presents: The Promise of Biodynamics

The Promise of Biodynamics

A Two-Part Intensive Workshop Series for Bio-Intensive Orchards and Vineyards

Led by Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots, LLC


This two-part workshop series focuses on the philosophy and applied practices of biodynamics for orchardists and viticulturists. It is intended to create a foundation for comprehensive bio-intensive farming practices based on the biodynamic approach. Biodynamics is more than just the next step in organic farming, because it is more than just input substitution. It is a philosophy – practical and otherwise – that engages the farm as an organism and utilizes the natural and spiritual energies of the surroundings to enliven the farm for the production of food, medicine, and the human spirit.

This workshop series is more than just an advanced ‘how to’ approach to organic farming. It is designed to teach and extend the philosophy of biodynamics as based on the tenets of anthroposophy – human wisdom and observation – as set out by Rudolf Steiner and based on the teachings of Goethe. And this begins with the food we eat. The basic understanding being that the quality of what we eat is based on how we grow it and the energy we put into it; all of which comes back to us in a higher more enlivened state.

“The bio-dynamic method of agriculture, developed by Rudolf Steiner in 1924, endeavors to encourage the natural tendencies of intrinsic activity in the building up of form and substance in plant, soil and animal. For healthy plant growth it is necessary to apply different methods of management not directly to the plant, but to its surroundings. When carrying out his special endeavor, the more the farmer can bear in mind the totality of his farm – fields, meadows, forests, livestock, crop rotation, etc. – the more it can begin to take shape as an organism, with its individual place in the landscape. In this way the life processes in agriculture are intensified by comparison to those in nature. They support the plant in its intrinsic activity.”


The Promise of Biodynamics – PART I


  • When: March 11 2018 [Sunday]

  • Where: Finger Lakes Cider House, Interlaken, NY

  • Time: 9-3pm

  • Cost: $100 single session, $150 for both sessions (before Feb 11)

  • Brief list of topics: Introduction to biodynamics; Basic Orchard Physiology, Ecology & Biology; Soil Health; Common Insects and Diseases; Energy; The Preps; An early-season Management Framework.

  • Detailed Description: The workshop series will start by introducing biodynamics as science, philosophy, and practice as a foundation for bio-intensive orcharding. We will continue by discussing basic orchard concepts that are a reality of growing fruit in the northeast as a lead-in to utilizing the biodynamic preps within a workable management framework. You will leave this part of the course with a solid understanding of how to use biodynamic practices in your own orchard. The framework will provide a solid guideline for your approach, but will not be a recipe. A crucial aspect of successful biodynamic farming is the utilization of phenomenology, or observation in your decision-making process. This and other related topics are something we will discuss in more detail during the first part of the course. This course will be apple-centric, though we will talk about other fruit crops depending on interest level.

The Promise of Biodynamics – PART II


  • When: August 11 2018 [Saturday]

  • Where: Apostrophe Orchard, Hector, NY

  • Time: 9-3pm

  • Cost: $100 single session, $150 for both sessions (before Feb 11)

  • Brief list of topics: Recap of Part I; Discussion of Personal Experiences; Assessing Orchard Health; The Preps; A late-season Management Framework.

  • Detailed Description: The workshop series will continue by recapping the topics and discussion from Part I; then there will be a roundtable discussion of personal experiences utilizing biodynamics in a bio-intensive orchard management strategy; the last part of this session will be spent assessing orchard and soil health in situ, and how to use the preps and other bio-intensive tools to improve orchard and vineyard health as we head into the latter part of the growing season.

COST: This is a two-part workshop series where attendance to both Parts is strongly encouraged, but not required. Part I lays the foundation for kicking off the season in good form, whereas Part II utilizes what we learned in Part I as a basis for assessing orchard ecosystem health and adjusting the management approach.

Part I - $100

Part II - $100

Both Parts - $150 if you sign up by Feb 11, $175 after Feb 11.

All fees includes lunch catered by Finger Lakes Cider House and informational materials.

Cancellation: 50% refundable if you cancel by Feb 25, 25% refundable if you cancel by March 4, no refunds offered for cancellations after Mar 4th.