RHCs for the Midlands, David and Rosemary, organised a regional gathering at Rush Farm on 22nd November and asked the participants if one of them would like to write a report for us. Thanks to host Robert Manton who sent us this.
I have now been a WWOOF host for two years and only recently become aware of the bio-dynamic system of farming after a visit to Stroud, which seems to be a stronghold for organic farming, permaculture and bio-dynamics. So when the opportunity arose to visit Rush Farm near Redditch, a bio-dynamic farm, I took the opportunity to see for myself what it was all about.
There were about eight of us attending and three of those were WWOOFers. We were welcomed by Adrian (Parsons) the farm owner and he outlined the organisation of the farm over coffee. We all then went on a farm walk and looked at the livestock and cropping.
We had very good explanations as to how the farm land is kept very fertile by bio-dynamic principles. The seasonal timings of applying bio-dynamic preparations for fertility, disease and pest control in relation to the lunar cycle was made very clear to us. The pasture was in excellent condition as was all the livestock. The local vet has been astounded that there were no cases of liver fluke in the sheep considering that some of the pasture is very wet. Adrian attributes this to the use of the bio-dynamic principles.
The walk took us through his well managed woodland. We then returned to the farm house for an excellent lunch and this was followed in the comfort of Adrian’s lounge by a further detailed explanation of the farm enterprise and we were given the opportunity to ask questions .Before we all left I was intrigued to be shown the preparation mixing machine.
I came away very informed about bio-dynamics and could clearly see that it was working for Adrian’s farm. I felt that this has got to be the way forward in the future for farming in order to produce wholesome food and also to help towards the problem of climate change and the exhaustion of fossil fuels.
In all a great day which I found informative and stimulating. I have made a start on my smallholding with making bio-dynamic preparations. An excellent book on the subject is Bio-Dynamic Gardening by Monty Waldin.
From an inspired WWOOF host Robert Manton