Helmy Abouleish visited the 40th anniversary celebration of the Biodynamic Farmers School at the Lake Constance in Germany.
Making the impossible possible meant 40 years ago for a group of Demeter farmers to start their own vocational training for Biodynamic agriculture at the Lake Constance in Germany. Since then, young people have been learning the art of agriculture directly at the farms in the region, accompanied and taught by practitioners in a school without a classroom: the Biodynamic Farmers School at the Lake Constance.
Over the past 40 years, the Farmers School has trained about 600 Biodynamic farmers and gardeners – and not only with exceptionally good exam results. The anniversary guests, including representatives from politics and business, emphasized above all the maturity, independence and willpower of the young people. Among the guests were Friedlinde Gurr-Hirsch, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection, Martin Hahn of the German political party Alliance 90/The Greens, Sarah Klein, training consultant, Alexander Gerber, CEO of Demeter and Helmy Abouleish, SEKEMs CEO and new president of Demeter International.
Initiative, enthusiasm and kindness
Space for the development of individual potential, this is what the Farmers School at the Lake Constance offers to the young people in their training. “The Agricultural School is very important for the Biodynamic development at the Lake Constance,” said Martin Hahn from the political party Alliance 90/The Greens during the opening of the anniversary celebration. Friedlinde Gurr-Hirsch, Parliamentary State Secretary, continued in her speech on behalf of Minister Hauck that this way of agriculture sets standards for the development of agriculture as a whole. For 2030 the governorate Baden-Württemberg aims to apply 30% Organic farming in the region of which a large part should be Demeter certified.
“Young, already very well-educated people, are knocking on our doors and ask for training opportunities,” outlines Thomas Müller, board member and instructor at the Farmers School. “They want to know how we work in the biodynamic field. We practice ourselves daily in our perceptions and learn to place ourselves as a whole human being in the context of working with nature. Theory and practice are mutually beneficial. Like this, the training becomes successful, and hence we can find the common thread in the abundance of suggestions.” Commitment, initiative, volunteer work, enthusiasm and kindness – all of this characterizes the Farmers School. To the politicians the organizers expressed their wish that the training on the farms should be promoted by the state as self-evident as for instance environmental measures.
Cultural work with the earth
From Lake Constance to Egypt – a change of perspective as the highlight of the festive evening. Also, the SEKEM Initiative celebrated recently its 40th anniversary. “I come here because a miracle has developed at the Lake Constance,” said Helmy Abouleish, drawing the link between Lake Constance and Egypt. Many of Egypt’s challenges, such as water scarcity, air pollution, education or democracy issues, are not directly relevant at the Lake Constance. But what united the festival society, however, is the understanding of agriculture as a livelihood for human development. Land management is cultural work with the earth, economy in which love and respect are expressed and social relationships that are socially effective. “I am glad that all this is alive in modern forms on the farms here at the Lake Constance. With educational work, we unfold light in the hearts, minds and hands of our co-workers. When we also artistically move all our questions, form our language, sing and play theater, we help people in their personal development. They then experience how they grow and this may be the most valuable part in their education,” concluded the SEKEM CEO.
Appreciations from different perspectives, confidence and visions at the end of each and every thank you. Framed was the anniversary celebration of music, with which the students themselves expressed their joy and dedication. The light coming from the future could be seen already shining in all those young people.
Dr. Simone Helmle, Demeter Academy