Highland Hall Waldorf School

Biodynamic Farm

What is Biodynamics?
 
Biodynamics is a modern, ecological approach to agriculture that strives to bring balance and healing to the Earth through a renewed awareness of all the forces at work in the farm - among and between the soil, plants, animals, and humans, as well as the cosmos itself. The farmer works to create a holistic and diversified farm eco-system that generates fertility and health from within the farm itself, as is practical for the locale.
 
Biodynamic preparations – made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs – are applied regularly to the soil to restore and harmonize the vital forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being produced. The biodynamic planting calendar is utilized to help the farmer work consciously with seasonal, solar and lunar rhythms and their influences on soil, plant and animal health. Composting, seed-saving, crop rotation, and companion planting are also key components of biodynamic farming. The ultimate intention of biodynamics is to actively heal and enliven the Earth as we work it, leading to improved health and vitality of its inhabitants.
 

The Highland Hall Biodynamic Farm


The campus of Highland Hall Waldorf School includes a thriving 3-acre biodynamic farm comprised of 24 raised vegetable beds, medicinal and culinary herb gardens, medieval dye and fiber gardens, row crop fields, perennial berry beds, fruit tree orchard and permaculture food forest, monarch sanctuary, bee hives and chickens.

 

Through practical hands-on work, our school farm & garden program endeavors to help students understand that as human beings, we draw our daily nourishment from the Earth. As such, we are responsible for caring for the Earth along with the well being of others. In short, we grow gardens to grow caring people.

 

The garden is also a metaphor for building healthy communities. By working together to bring about positive changes from our efforts, we develop a deep sense of hope for the future. In the garden, children are given an opportunity connect with nature and experience it through observation and wonder.

 

Blending the principles of biodynamics and permaculture, our farm manager, Bridget Kelley, tends to the farm and teaches all of our gardening classes. From math and science to art and history, there is almost no subject that cannot be related in some way to gardening. As such, she has developed a gardening curriculum that corresponds to the Waldorf lower school curriculum, with a focus on seasonal and biological cycles, planting, soil building, harvesting, preparing and (of course!) eating. In the high school, students can chose to take biodynamic farming as an elective, which further deepens their connection to Earth and Community.

 

Ways to Give


With the support of the Garden Gnome Society at Highland Hall, a group of parents and friends who are passionate about gardening and sustainability, the farm program has been able to grow and serve more students and the school community over the last five years. New under the auspices of the Garden Gnome Society is the Little Chicken Project, which gives supporters the opportunity to sponsor a member of the flock. Participants receive naming rights, fresh eggs throughout the year, and a plaque on the school coop.

 

With future support, we plan to hire additional farm personnel; develop an even deeper curriculum for the high school, summer camp and lower school; build a greenhouse and outdoor classroom structure and build housing and corrals for more farm animals.

 

We invite you to get involved with the Garden Gnome Society. Click here to learn more.

  

Farm Stand


Every Wednesday throughout the year, our fresh-harvested biodynamic produce, honey and eggs are available for purchase at our community farm stand. Parents and faculty are given the opportunity to enjoy delicious produce and eggs, while gaining exposure to our farm, its practices, and the means by which it serves our children’s education and the school community at large. 100% of farm stand proceeds goes back to supporting our farm and garden program.

 

Summer Farm Camp

 

Our two week summer camp program includes a farm camp where elementary students enjoy the Highland Hall Farm at peak harvest time. Each day has a special theme such as Harvest Day, Bug Day, and Color Day. Activities include harvesting, food preparation (and tasting), plant dye crafts, healing salve making, bug exploration, nature crafts, seed saving, and much more.  

 

Community Work Parties

 

Many members of the Highland Hall community love to help on our farm. There is always much work to be done, and many hands make light work. Every Wednesday morning after drop-off, we host “Coffee in the Garden” where parents and friends come together on the farm to help in any way that is needed. Additional Saturday work parties are also scheduled throughout the year to help with larger farm projects. Children are welcome to attend (and help) during our Saturday work parties.

 

Similar to our community work parties, we enjoy hosting workdays on the farm for corporations who encourage their employees to serve their community. Many large corporations nearby have missions that support sustainable, organic agriculture; we hope to form mutually beneficial partnerships where something is gained for all involved.

 

Community Partners

 

Highland Hall Waldorf School is also proud to be working partners with TreePeople and El Nido. Throughout the year, our campus farm is host to community outreach workshops presented by TreePeople and El Nido. Both organizations support and educate about environmental and food growth sustainability.

 

Learn More

 

Biodynamic Farming: A Farm-Forward Approach 

 

8 Ways to Learn About Biodynamics

 

Josephine Porter Institute - source of biodynamic preparations