Kwendalo co-hosts workshop with biodynamic expert Dr Georg Meissner

We were fortunate to be able to co-host a two-day workshop with Dr Georg Meissner at the Harmony Centre, Kwendalo. In partnership with Plett’s local biodynamic expert Avice Hindmarch, the workshop consisted of presentations and practical activities both at Kwendalo and other local farms in the area. Dr. Meissner works as an associated scientist and lecturer for biodynamic viticulture at the Geisenheim University and is considered one of the leading experts in biodynamic viticulture inside and outside of Germany. He regularly takes on an advisory role for farms in conversion to biodynamic cultivation and engages with biodynamic education and training programmes.

It was an inspiring two days with visiting biodynamic expert Dr. Georg Meissner.   The workshop gently guided participants into a different way of thinking about their relationship with farming, with the land and their observations and participation with the greater agroecosystem.  There were important historical and philosophical perspectives imparted which helped to frame the current deteriorating state of conventional (industrial) farming. For Kwendalo, this is especially important as our gardens have been designed and are tended using regenerative agriculture. You can read about Kwendalo founder, John Cavill’s first steps towards bringing understanding and restorative balance to the estate through a Land Constellation with Kwendalo Associate, Dr Saskia Von Diest of EcoFluency. This harmony with nature is a thread that runs through everything that we do at Kwendalo: learning at the Kwendalo Institute and Kwendalo Gardens, serving whole food and juices at the Green Cafe, or offering a serene space at the Wellness Centre or Manor House.

Dr Meissner’s workshop was attended by a diverse group of participants from Plettenberg Bay including small-scale local food growers, Plett Winelands vineyard owners and growers, and staff from the Kwendalo Gardens. They enjoyed stimulating discussions and idea exchanges during the farm and vineyard visits in the area. The outcome of the workshop was a shared resolve towards rethinking our relationship with the farms with which we are all engaged and to keep meeting and sharing new knowledge with this practice. It’s an exciting time for biodynamics in Plettenberg Bay and the Garden Route!

“I came expecting a bang-bang bullet point list of the how-to’s for biodynamic farming. We didn’t get that yet we left with something much more: the importance of really noticing, of honing our observations of landscape and climate to attune…and give us more complete understanding of the processes going on in our specific spaces. It’s a lifelong practice, it’s a deepening of a relationhip,” reflected one participant.

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