2nd Biodynamic Conference in Turkey

The 2nd Biodynamic Agriculture Conference took place at Burdur Ağlasun Sagalassos Lodge Hotel and in compost preparing areas in Tefenni Seydiler Village on 21-22 October 2017. The main theme was husbandry This 2nd BD Conference was prepared with the collaboration of Birlik A.Ş. and İstafil Bio-dinamik Tarım Çiftliği Ltd.Şti. together with the efforts and presentations of our agricultural advisor Hans Supenkämper and Dr. Anet Spengler-Neff from FIBL. Farmers, export companies, supervisory firms and guests from different sectors also attended along with university students from all over our country - a group of 60 mostly young people with high energy who were all hungry for knowledge. Guests from Iran, Bulgaria, Germany and Switzerland also participated. The presence and the enthusiasm of the young people increased the overall energy. It was a privilege for all of the participants to work with the students who were able to attend the conference through the support of İstafil Bio-dinamik Tarım Çiftliği Ltd.Şti. from Ege University, Samsun 19 Mayıs University and Tokat Gaziosmanpaşa University Agriculture Faculty, Garden Plants and Zootechnics Division. We wish to continue increasing our collaboration with our universities. Our conference day in Tefenni started with an introduction by Hans Supenkaemper. Engin Fırıncı, Project officer of Birlik A.Ş. and Ramazan Çelik, one of the farmers in Tefenni. They gave detailed information about the beginning, development and aims of the Biodynamic  project. At the Compost and Biodynamic Preparation Centre in Seydiler Village, we stirred BD-500 (Horn Manure) and CPP (Cow Pat Preparation) in wooden barrels on the upper floor of the Biodynamic house, built with the support of Birlik A.Ş. The effort of the participants involved in this special mixing method was wonderful to see.   Also the boxes in which the BD preparations were preserved downstairs, were very interesting. One of the main points that makes Biodynamic agriculture different from the others are the herbal preparations that must be used. All of the preparation storage boxes were separately surrounded by peat moss, filled with horn manure, yarrow, chamomile, stinging nettle, oak bark and dandelion. Then stag bladder, which was filled with dried yarrow in spring, was taken from its place under the roof of the preparation house where it had been hanging from spring until autumn to collect the sun energy of the summer. It was buried at a corner of the compost site. There the ‚winter sun energies’ will work into the bladder and be captured by the yarrow blossoms. Our next task was to bury the BD-500 horns filled with fresh cow manure to be used next year. This preparation helps humus formation and the plants to root more deeply. Filled cow horns, passing from hand to hand to add our energies, were buried in a wide hole at a fertile place of the field. There they will spend the winter until spring. The happy faces of the participants during this activity were worth seeing. In my opinion, thanks to this positive energy, Tefenni farmers will have a rich and fruitful year. Lastly, we examined and turned the compost piles which consist of old and fresh manures brought by the farmers from their own farms, straw, soil, mother compost and the BD preparations. It needs a balanced composition of carbonic, nitrogenous and structured materials. In the beginning there should be a ratio of C:N of 30:1. We controlled the temperature and the CO2 content. It shows how the rotting process is running and when the heap has to be turned again. The aerobic microorganisms need oxygen! With a compost turner the windrow must be mixed to incorporate fresh oxygen into the compost when the CO2 content gets higher than 12%. At another heap we could observe how the finished and ripened compost material looks after 6 - 8 weeks processing: Wonderful crumbly, fine smelling, dark brown humus soil! We could not believe how fast the time passed. We took a break at the centre of the village and everyone was happy to have the freshly brewed tea. After dinner in the hotel, a presentation on ‘Biodynamic Husbandry’ was given by Dr. Anet Spengler-Neff, from the Swiss research station FIBL, an experienced agronomist (MSc), and animal scientist. First of all physical characteristics of the animals were examined and information on their needs for natural mobility, life and correct nutrition was given. The importance of getting information about the health of the animals by close observation of their behaviour was emphasized. Dr. Anet Spengler stated clearly that we must be aware of the fact that all of the animals on our farms depend on us, and we must meet their daily needs. This includes making it possible for them to wander freely without any restriction on their natural movements – in fact one of the most important duties we have. The second day began in our meeting centre at Tefenni. First Arzu Duran introduced the farm in Istanbul/ Ihsaniye village, on which Biodynamic agriculture has been practiced now for three years. On that farm a stable was built to the Demeter standards with support of Hans Supenkämper. Arzu showed that the cows are living in the stable partly sheltered outside in summer and winter. They can go out grazing in the forest around. She was proud that despite all the objections from neighbouring farmers dealing with husbandry, her open stable adventure which started last year, resulted in success this year. This summer sunflower and corn seeds were planted in the available areas of the farm. The aim is to produce all of the fodder in Biodynamic quality because the animals that eats the plants growing in the field, will give it back to the soil following digestion. The manure given back to soil enriches where it falls and can be used to grow plants through the increased fertility. Lastly Arzu gave information about three different things that started this year. The first one is that she created a website to introduce the activities of Demeter to Turkish farmers and to help the farmers who want to convert to Biodynamic agriculture. Arzu told that information required could be taken from the website www.demeter-turkey.com.  They handed out a guidebook entitled ‘Conversion’ for the those interested in Biodynamic agriculture in a wide sense. Arzu told that anybody can contact her whenever needed. The second item concerned establishing a ‘Biodynamic Agriculture Association’. It’s hope to establish a framework to build upon, as soon as possible, and an invitation was made to those who love nature, are aware of the value of our soil and our efforts to come together under the umbrella of an association The ones who want to be with us can send a message to info@demeter-turkey.com or they can call us. Lastly, Arzu told about a very important initiative. FREE INTERNATIONAL WANDERING SCHOOL FOR BIODYNAMIC AGRI-CULTURE was established for the purpose of teaching organic and Biodynamic agriculture. It is a big chance for us, as Turkey was chosen as the pilot area. This school that was established by our advisor Hans Supenkämper and his four expert friends aims to organise courses for anyone interested in these subjects. The course dates and venues will be fixed soon in consultation with participants and the training will be provided as soon as possible. Training will take place at Biodynamic farms where practical work will be the main thrust, accompanied by theoretical explanations. Our brochure was handed out to everyone participating in the conference. You can contact directly  İstafil Çiftliği Bio-dinamik Organik Tarım Ltd.Şti.,Turkey contact Office directly for detailed information. Hans Supenkämper made a short presentation of the husbandry activities on Luzernenhof, a farm in Germany http://www.luzernenhof.de. Information was given on the portable and low-cost stable construction on the field. This construction makes it possible for cows to graze during summer time. Otherwise they would be on the farm which is in the middle of the village far away from all pastures. We visited some farms in that area to see husbandry activities and the stables together with Dr. Anet Spengler-Neff and Hans Supenkämper. We understood what ‘Just observe, no comment, no judgement’ means, said by Hans just before we started our visits. The first farm we visited was a conventional one. The conditions of the animals were an example of how it should not be. We were all astonished by the conditions we saw there. The second farm we visited was owned by the DEMETER farmer of Tefenni and it was clean, tidy and it was obvious that the animals were looked after with love and concern. Our experts made suggestions but left there happy. It was very good that all fodder was produced on the farm! But there are still improvements to be done, especially the yard and access to pasture land. In the third farm we visited the stables of the animals similar to the ones we commonly see in our villages. Some of the animals were standing in the open area in front of the stable. Our experts wanted us to concentrate on what the animals wanted to say with their voices and behaviour. These can give us clue about what they wanted although they can’t talk. We watched with interest. It was a farm where warm people live with positive energy, with smiling faces. It was accepted by our farmers that the husbandry conditions should be changed and the time for reform has already come. What they wanted from Hans Supenkaemper was assistance with a stable construction project in line with the standards.

We reached the hotel with delay. In our final meeting we tried to summarise the conference. 1. What have we done and seen? 2. What moved or touched us the most? 3. Discussion about the contents and experiences. 4. Try to concentrate ‘your harvest and impulse’ in one or two words. The result was great!. That means humans can return to their origin in nature so quickly! Finally we received our participation certificates feeling very happy to have been together, to have done very productive work together and with the excitement about what we can do next time.

The next day we have left with wonderful impressions and with the hope to come together again as soon as possible. At Sagalassos area, we felt a new, very positive energy in which an antic civilisation had reigned. In the hope that we can come together to further develop these new ideas in the next Biodynamic Conference…

ARZU DURAN