A beautiful sunny day sees the annual general meeting of the Biodynamic Land Trust in the just completed building on Huxhams Cross Farm looking out over the abundance of vegetables growing against a backdrop of rolling hills.
The experience of the arising of the farm touches two ways of seeing the spectra of light, as Newton and Goethe described.
For Newton,as the father of modern science, the light is the addition of energetic colours, as a farm is made of elements as fertiliser, irrigation, harvesting tools, which can be isolated, refined and perfected in their separate functions.
For Goethe however the colours arise at the boundary of dark and light. There is a complementary spectra of the darkening of light, where the colours subtract from the fullness of light, into shades of separation by which the whole can be known. These colours have a negative energy with respect to light. They surrender their identity to give nuance to the whole quality of light. In the same way, this farm is realised by people who have surrendered their contribution and passion for the sake of the composite quality of the land as a whole.
What is celebrated on the day of the Biodynamic Land Trust meeting is the land itself and its natural abundance. A biodynamic approach to farming suggests that soil quality, microorganisms, the vegetation, the land, the animals as a whole lends itself to some kind of completion, in which these elements work together to realise their separate contributions in a whole identity of health. This view of health is there for us to live, amidst all our challenges, when we surrender to the whole, alongside asserting our individuality.
Huxhams Cross Farm is found on the edge of the Dartington Hall Estate near Totnes in Devon. It covers 34 acres of land that was bought by the Biodynamic Land Trust in 2015. The Trust holds land in perpetuity for sustainable food production. The Apricot Centre team are the first tenants of the farm and are developing it from a bare collection of 5 fields, that have been down to conventional barley for the last 40 year, to a rich and diverse food producing farm. The farm is part of the new learning campus on the Dartington Hall Estate.
The farm was designed using the permaulture methodolgy, with an aim to produce delicious biodynamic food, vegetables, fruit, eggs, preserves and flour. The farm also supports wildlife biodiversity and has been designed to be low carbon. In the spring of 2017 we planted over 1000 fruit trees and bushes, 3000 agroforestry trees, established the beginning of the vegetable production, introduce a flock of 130 hens, and welcomed two cows called Damson and Daffodil on to the farm.
Marina O’Connell is a horticulturist and a permaculture designer, with a specialism in fruit growing in particular, glasshouse growing, vegetables and flowers. Food processing of especially fruit, making jams cordials juices for sale. She is really happy with large scale systems and focusing on income generation and setting up small businesses.
Marina have been designing permaculture gardens, market gardens, community gardens and farms for 20 years. Her specialist areas are in horticulture, orchards, glasshouses, integrating people into these systems for training or well-being. Creating/ designing income streams and food processing. She also loves flowers!
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