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Biodynamic Prep Week 2023

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

Discover the magic of biodynamic prepping - come join us!

This year our Prep Week is happening on the 3rd, 4th and 5th October at the Tablehurst Lower Barn. There will be hot drinks and home made cake for all and we can't wait to welcome your help in this amazing activity that keeps our community farm vital, fertile and joyous!

Participation is free and you can book here to join one, two or all three days.

Our resident prep expert, Briony Young will introduce the concept of the preparations and why they are needed to create healthy soil and a balanced ecosystem on the land. The first time the preparations were brought to light was by Rudolf Steiner in his Agriculture Lectures given in Koberwitz (1). Koberwitz could be regarded as the birthplace of biodynamic agriculture, with Rudolf Steiner delivering eight lectures there in German in the summer of 1924. The principles and practices of those lectures are still used today with demonstrable improvements in soil structure and quality.

The first afternoon focuses on BD 500, the 'Horn manure'. The process involves filling a cow horn with cow manure and compacting the filling by tapping it onto a firm surface. The filled cow horns are taken to a purpose-dug pit on the farm and are buried until next Spring.

The second afternoon introduces BD503, the 'Chamomile' prep, and the concept of 'goo' - the undifferentiated matter that holds all potentiality and the blueprint for each individual life form on earth.

The chamomile preparation involves stuffing the small intestine of a cow with dried chamomile flowers to create a 'chamomile sausage.' The delicate process of hand stuffing the 'sausage' with chamomile releases the scent of sunny flowers and hay into the working space creating a heady fragrance reminiscent of gentle sun-drenched chamomile summer lawns. The fragrance lingers on your fingers for hours afterwards. The 'chamomile sausages' are buried in a different location to the horn manure prep - again to remain until next Spring.

On the final afternoon we'll be introduced to BD 505, the 'Oak Bark,' and BD 507, the 'Dandelion' preps.

The Oak bark is obtained by carefully shaving some of the outer layer of the oak tree bark to collect the material needed without damage to the tree. Oak is used due to its inherent qualities of strength, longevity, and ability to 'record' the processes of its environment. The shavings are tightly packed into the brain cavity of pig sculls, representing the capacity for ordered framework and intelligence, a reminder that human and animal structures are perfectly designed for their functions. The pig skulls are submerged in water, to capture the water forces during the winter months, until ready to reemerge in the Spring, when the Oak bark will be recovered after its cold, crystallising winter experience.

BD 507 'Dandelion' involves stuffing mesentery pouches with dried dandelion flowers collected earlier in the year at a specific point in their lifecycle, so that the flowers don't turn into dandelion seeds whilst dried and stored, waiting for use in the autumn for the preps. Mesentery (2) from a cow is used for the pouches. It is sown up closed with precision using twine to prevent loss of flowers. These 'pouches' are buried in the ground in their own location on the farm.

All the preps will rest in the land for the winter. They will be gently reclaimed in the Spring and stored safely until ready to be used on the farm in the coming year.

Prep week is an annual event and you are all very welcome to come and join us this year and the next and the next...

Very much looking forward to seeing you and thank you!

Briony explaining the preps to a rapt audience during the 2022 Prep Week

  1. Koberwitz, as was known in Steiner's time, is now Kobierzyce, a village in Wrocław County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland.

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