Arrived London on Nov 5
Visited with Shabari’s dear friend Baroness Sylvia von Hohenberg who pampered us and drove us on the most marvellous tour of London’s hidden secrets including a visit to:
The Prospect of Whitby which is a historic public house on the banks of the Thames at Wapping in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It lays claim to being the site of the oldest riverside tavern, dating from around 1520.
Then we traveled on to the Royal Naval College in Greenwich. We delighted in eating whitefish at Trafalgar Tavern on the Thames in Greenwich across from the College. We visited the Cutty Sark, the world’s sole surviving tea clipper, and fastest ship of her time.
Shabari and Sylvia von Hohenberg at the Royal Navy College, Greenwich, England
Cutty Sark Greenwich, England
November 8 drove to Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209, Cambridge is the second oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s fourth-oldest surviving university.
November 8 & 9 Mark Moodie family and Forest of Dean
Mark Moodie, Shabari, Hugh Lovel
Our AgroHomeopathy hero, Mark Moodie and lovely wife and daughters hosted us for two nights. Sitting by the fireplace, I recorded two podcasts of Mark discussing his history with Agrohomeopathy and his views of the future of Biodynamics and AgroHomeopathy. His important website: www.Considera.org Find people around the globe using homeopathy on their farms and gardens.
Many of us are familiar with the Biodynamic Preparation “Three Kings Prep”, due to Mark Moodie publishing “ Hugo Erbe’s “New Biodynamic Preparations” book. Mark also has published “Homoeopathy for Farm and Garden” by Vaikunthanath das Kaviraj. And the collected English translations of homeodynamic pioneer Enzo Nastati. You can find all this at: http://www.moodie.biz/index.html
November 10 & 11 Coventry University
Lecture organized by Julia Wright, PHD at Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience
Julia Wright has worked for 28 years on sustainable agriculture and food security applied research and development, specialising in building capacity and resilience of vulnerable groups to natural and man-made disasters, regeneration of the natural resource base, and low-carbon systems. Sectoral experience covers production and postharvest, agroforestry, food supply and distribution systems, urban agriculture and nutrition, organic and fair trade, bioregional development, research, extension and knowledge systems, and farmer livelihood strategies.
Julia invited Hugh to speak to her staff, the public and the graduate degree students in her department.
At the end of the lecture, Julia introduced us to her friends Elizabeth and Dennis Kucinich. Elizabeth has produced of two documentaries (Hot Water and GMO OMG.) Dennis is former 8-term US Congressman and two-time Democratic Presidential candidate. The Kucinichs split their time between Cleveland, Ohio, and Washington, DC.
Dennis Kucinich, Julia Wright, Shabari Bird and Hugh Lovel
Also at the Coventry University lecture was Hugh’s old friend Roelf Havinga who had flown over from the Netherlands for the day and joined us for a lovely dinner.
November 12 & 13 Tetford, Linconshire
Consultation for Shire Farms, proud owners of Quantum Agriculture Fieldbroadcaster
Soil to Soul
Aura-Soma Products Limited owns and operates close to 500 acres of lush farmland in Lincolnshire, where we are in a process of development to grow as many of the plants and herbs used in our colour products as the English climate can accommodate. With the acquisition of the first 50 acres in 1995 at Tetford, we were able to implement Chairman Mike Booth’s long-time interest in biodynamic farming, an agricultural method which excludes the use of artificial fertilisers or pesticides and relies on the natural symbiosis between the soil and all the diverse elements, plant-life and creatures involved in a thriving farm.
Colour is a universal language and tool for well-being that has profound implications for understanding and transforming ourselves and our world. In recent years there has been an explosion of activity in the field of colour education as new techniques and areas of expertise have evolved for the purpose of researching and chronicling the profound effects of colour on all aspects of human physiology and psychology. Aura-Soma Products Limited is delighted with continuing to be at the forefront of this field for over 25 years.
Shire farmer Kate Urry
Through all our travels visiting farms, very few receive the praise Hugh has for the work Kate Urry is doing on the farm. We wish her all the luck. She is even growing spelt for oil for the AuraSoma color bottles.
White Hart Inn and Pub Tetford, Lincolshire
Our favorite pub in England is in Tetford, Lincolnshire the village where Aura Soma is located. This Traditional droving Inn has been the centre of rural life since around 1520. It was frequented by local born poet Tennyson and Dr Johnson a great character who wrote the first English dictionary.
It is a family run business encouraging a warm, relaxed friendly atmosphere where dogs sit in the pub with their masters. Great food. Wonderful local bands. Locals with their dogs every evening sharing stories. Mellow life.
Downton Abby country.
Sylvia suggested a visit to York and York Cathedral which is known as York Minster.
The day was very cold and rainy and challenging. However well worth the tour and we felt deeply connected to one of the most sacred and ancient sites of the Celts, the Romans and centuries of English nobility. The Cathedral opened in 637 AD.
Spent the night in Richmond at the Black Lion Inn.
Richmond was founded in 1071 by the Breton Alan Rufus, on lands granted to him by William the Conqueror. Richmond Castle, completed in 1086, had a keep and walls encompassing the area now known as the Market Place. It is a Georgian era town, with cobblestone streets, gas lights, and old castle. It is considered one of the most romantic towns in Europe.
Full English Breakfast at the Black Lion included Black Pudding
Perth, Scotland Nov. 15-19
Hugh’s round trip ticket from Australia and three-day consultation fees were paid for by Stewart’s of Tayside. Our visit was initiated by Stephan Timmerman of the Netherlands, who is the horticulture advisor to Stewarts soft fruit growers- Irek Vypasek and Grezesiek Putuyra- horticulturalist specialists who are originally from Poland. Hugh so admires these men who are bringing increasing soil fertility and quality fruit to Scotland. These three days were like our Advanced Course on steroids.
Stewarts of Tayside farm is over 3,500 acres of land and have generations of experience of growing swede (rutabagas), soft fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries) and arable crops. We constantly strive to engage in the latest innovative and environmentally friendly growing, harvesting and packing techniques and are entirely self-sufficient. We are one company with three functional areas – Growing; Packing; Delivery.
We are the largest independent grower of strawberries in Scotland with five sites within three miles of our pack-house. We grow over 200 acres of varying varieties of strawberries, all on South facing sites in a combination of table top and in ground production.
We are continually innovating, investing in and expanding our strawberry production, with the latest tunnels and a state of the art irrigation and fertigation system. Our soil is our most precious asset and we work tirelessly at improving it and making use of it in the best possible manner to grow our crop. However, our growing techniques will always remain a carefully guarded secret because we firmly believe that the strawberries we produce are some of the best tasting fruit that is supplied in the country.
Our location and climate, coupled with our growing techniques, form the perfect combination towards a consistently delicious berry throughout the season, which our customer testimonials highlight. We offer a reliable, consistent and high quality berry, grown by some of the premier experts in the UK who are dedicated and have a proven track record of delivering.
We have invested significantly in our storage and packing facilities over the years. Our Tofthill site is home to a number of unique high capacity compartmentalized cold stores. This has enabled us to continuously supply UK swede to our customers 52 weeks of the year without the need for importing.
Alongside our cold stores we have dedicated pack houses for our swede and fruit enterprises. Our swede packing facility is home to a washing and processing line where all of our swede is trimmed and graded. Our secondary pack house for swede is an overwrapping facility that makes use of multi-function printing technology and is capable of fixed or catch weight produce. Our facility ensures that we efficiently can cope with demand for process swede, wrapped wholes, portions, loose swede, stew packs, nets and we deliver both to the UK and mainland Europe.
Our fruit is packed in a 17,200 square foot processing facility. This incorporates a 7,500 sq foot intake chill and a 9,700 sq foot packing area. The rapid cooling chill that we use brings fruit to an ideal temperature within one hour of it being harvested. Our packing facility has state of the art weighting systems, twin lane heat sealers and pre-printed film wrapping machines
Hugh Lovel, Irek Vypasek, Stephan Timmermans Stewarts of Tayside truck
November 20-23 Naas, Ireland
We were guests three nights at the Killashee Home Hotel near Naas
During our stay there were four wedding receptions with as many redhead brides and dozens of lovely redheaded flower girls and bridesmaids. I will cherish this memory. Fairy tale.
Biodynamic/Biological Farming Workshop
Thanks to the diligent efforts of David Wallis, Robbie Byrne, and the Irish Biodynamic Association and Matheus Wagter who generated a 3 day workshop near Naas in Ireland. This included a field tour of the farm of Alfie and Devon Beetie nearby. This was a lively group that included conventional farmers who asked good questions and struggled to understand difficult ideas. It also was gratifying to walk David’s family farm, Derrycouch, and see the many things that were improving under his management, unconventional as it was. We are so grateful to David’s sister, Karina for hosting us so elegantly in her home. Here is a letter we received afterward from one of the attendees:
Hi to all the team at Quantum Agriculture. My name is Thomas O Connor, I attended the 3 day workshop last weekend in Ireland. I just want to Thank Hugh and his Lovely wife for making the extra effort to visit us and share his vast experience and knowledge. It was inspirational. I can assure you it was a very effective workshop. It was the broadest gathering of Irish agriculture in years and will have profound benefits to the future of Irish food resilience and security. Hugh has both inspired and connected us. Personally it has solidified the ether of knowledge I had gathered from far and wide into a very solid reality. I hope Hugh will visit us if he is ever this side of the Atlantic again.
Slán, Grá agus Sonas (Health, Love and Happiness)
And from the Irish Examiner
Quantum lessons from soil courses at the Biodynamic Agricultural Association of Ireland
The Biodynamic Agricultural Association of Ireland has revitalised itself. In a comfy rut for at least a decade, with a small dedicated group of earnest practitioners, there is a renewed vigour to the organisation.
Their recent newsletter spoke of appraisal and of renewal.
To this end, a series of short, intensive soils courses have been undertaken.
In Spring, a course called “Soils, Biological Farming and Biodynamics” ran and was well attended.
Their recent three-day event, A New Agronomy Primer, with Hugh Lovel was a more ambitious affair.
Some 55 farmers, tillage, dairy and horticulture, or varying sizes, biodynamic, organic and conventional as well as a sprinkling of advisors, all converged on the Ospreys Hotel in Naas.
This event was led by farmer, writer and multidisciplinary scientist Hugh Lovel.
Lovel travelled from Australia to the UK and Ireland for some speaking engagements.
He is on the national board of Biodynamic Agriculture Australia, the biodynamic organisation with the largest membership base in the world.
Lovel is part of a consultancy called Quantum Agriculture, and has pioneered a process called biochemical sequencing, which provides an insight into the conditions needed for optimum plant nutrition.
According to the Biodynamic Agricultural Association of Ireland: “He [Lovel] shows the fascinating roles of boron, silicon and calcium in sap pressure, nutrient delivery, successful fruiting and amino acid production.
“The interplays of nitrogen, magnesium, trace elements, phosphorus, sulphur and magnesium are revealed and the farmer/gardener is given a new practical insight into the role of nutrients.”
Cloughjordan community farm grower Kevin Dudley was in attendance, and was impressed with what he learning and experienced over the three days.
“It was mainly about biochemical process in farming; in other words moving beyond NPK and lime.
“He set out the whole process, about the importance of sulphur, boron and silicon, for example, before even considering Nitrogen,” he said.
With Nitrogen, and indeed other elements, a key issue is availability, they may be in the soil in abundance, but can the crop access them? And what is inhibiting their take up?
“So if you put 10-10-20 into ground, you are drowning the bacteria that can take N out of the air.
“The N from the bag, nitrate, is the same as what bacteria excrete. So you kill the mineral-accessing biology,” Dudley learned.
The importance of good soil tests and good compost were also emphasised; indeed, whole new soil testing regimes and the poorly composted nature of much of farm yard manure farmers have access were discussed.
Another issue was how to stabilize nutrients in slurry.
The process Lovel revealed is the addition of hamates. Hamates are a form of carbon which is in the process of turning into coal.
These, Lovel claimed, bond nutrients into in the slurry, preventing their loss.
The event also included field trips to Alfie and Devon Bettie’s 80-acre tillage farm.
Indeed, some prominent and larger scale farmers, both conventional and already organic, are showing an interest in biodynamic there days, especially the biological agri-science end of it.
The Biodynamic Association of Ireland have great plans for growth and engagement with the farming community, and have seen some noteworthy new recruits, such as tillage Farmer Trevor Harris from Kildare.
Harris has been a demonstration farmer for Teagasc, so many will have visited his 90ha farm near Donadea.
From muck and magic to quantum biology, and it didn’t even take a century.
This seems to be the trajectory of the biodynamic farming movement.
Perhaps a 21st century blossoming for biodynamics is underway.
November 23-24 Travel to Atlanta, Georgia by way of Frankfort
at home at Birdsnest Retreat with my son Gabriel Cymerman Bird, Deborah Jameson, Kathleen Seacrest, Lisa Harmon, and Wilson Harmon with wonderful turkey prepared by Hugh