Quality or Quantity?

Western Civilization’s agriculture is in a major shift. Not just a market correction or a shift brought on by our increasing ecological crisis, but a fundamental shift of identity and culture. The peasant culture that still fed Europe and the Americas until the turn of the 20th century is completely gone. In the US, even the moderately industrialized family farm is a rare commodity today. Agribusiness and corporate superfarming has replaced agriculture and the beliefs that guided action in farming 40 years ago are extinct. Increasingly, we have a polarized food stream: the vast majority is cheap factory food with a very small minority of high-end, hand-crafted quality foods. It is my belief that the former system is in danger of becoming a plague and that the latter will prove itself well worth focusing our attention on. My work is dedicated to increasing the knowledge and skill base of those who are inspired to produce quality foods.

A More Personal Hello and Welcome

I offer consulting services for farmers, vineyard managers, gardners and ranchers. I have been doing so part time over the last 21 years and am now doing so full time.

Gardening at home with my family while growing up in the midwest (veggies, flowers & table grapes), I also spent several summers on hog and cattle farms. Later, after training in Europe (milk production & viticulture), I farmed professionally for 10 years. I have farmed and gardened part-time many of the years since. I also hold a Ph.D. in Agricultural Education from Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and have taught various aspects of farming and gardening at the university level, to professionals and to farmers.

I have always been concerned with the health of the land and its inhabitants. This led me to question how we work, farm and serve society. In the process, I discovered traditional and indigenous farming systems, organics, permaculture, agroecology and biodynamics. I soon realized that biodynamics was my path and that in many ways it combined the best of all of these above mentioned systems into a whole paradigm while also offering many new and unique approaches to farming with the highest expectations for quality and health.

Back in 1973, when I first heard about biodynamics, I was amazed how rich, sophisticated and ecologically comprehensive this approach was. The fact that it is based on a spiritual philosophy that is equally practical also intrigued me then as it does today.

Biodynamics can be approached in different ways. Professionals will find that it is readily understood in the context of agroecology and ecosytems health. Others will find it’s sensitivity to nature and to the human soul appealing. Still others will find that its practical applications not only work exceptionally well, but that every farm or garden can be enhanced using these methods. No matter what frame of reference you use to get to know biodynamics – be it scientific, humanistic or purely practical, in order to deeply understand its potential it is helpful to return to its founder Rudolf Steiner and his philosophy to understand the conceptual foundations and many varied implications. I will therefore go to some length to include materials about Steiner, his life and work on this site. It is a work in progress.

Biodynamics is practiced around the world and I am but one of many thousands of interpreters, experimenters and interested students involved in this wonderful attempt at renewing agriculture. You can find links to many other websites and organizations working with biodynamics in my pages. I encourage you to take a look at them all. I am also a student of agroecology. Here too, I will attempt to offer insights, explanations and links to help you explore this relatively new science that looks at agriculture with scientific tools and analysis derived from ecology.

Enjoy my website and if you are interested in my consulting services or educational programs, you may certainly contact me at: info@andrewlorand.com