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Class 9 Residency On Demeter-Certified Farm

Class 9 spend two weeks on a working biodynamic farm in West Linton, during which they undertake a wide range of work, and gain a real sense of the day-to-day graft of food production, sustainable agriculture, as well as the environmental impact.


Edinburgh Steiner School has paired with Garvald Home Farm for many decades. Established in 1987, this true Social Enterprise aspires to the highest ideals of Bio-Dynamic food production – creating a healthy soil, growing healthy crops, rearing healthy animals and providing a healthy environment for people to live and work.


Today, it is home to a small community of adults, some with learning disabilities, living and working together to run the farm, producing meat and dairy, as well as Demeter-certified vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and onions as well as wool and sheepskins. As part of its educational centre, it offers children and young people from the city access to direct experience of working with farm animals, crop growing and harvesting.


Some of the produce raised on the farm is used in the School’s freshly prepared lunches on campus.


Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) was both the founder of Waldorf Schools – the largest and fastest growing educational movement worldwide, and the biodynamic approach to agriculture – considered the strictest standard of organic agriculture globally, certified by Demeter.


In the early 1900s, a highly mechanistic view of nature was beginning to take hold in agriculture, which led to the development and use of synthetically produced fertilizers and pesticides. As they adopted these chemical inputs, farmers quickly began noticing declines in the health and fertility of their soil, plants, and animals. A number of farmers who were familiar with Steiner’s work to renew medicine, education, economics, and other aspects of society asked if he could provide some insights into how they could renew the health and vitality of their farms.

After many such requests, in June 1924, Steiner finally held an “Agriculture Course” with many of these farmers in Koberwitz, a small village which was then in Germany but is now Poland. The eight lectures and five discussions of that course have been transcribed in the book Agriculture and form the basis of the biodynamic method. Steiner was one of the first public figures to warn that the widespread use of chemical fertilizers would lead to the decline of soil, plant and animal health and the subsequent devitalization of food.

He was also the first to bring the perspective of the farm as a single, self-sustaining organism that thrives through biodiversity, the integration of crops and livestock and the creation of a closed-loop system of fertility. Steiner also brought forth a unique and comprehensive approach to soil, plant, animal and human health that recognizes the importance of the healthy interplay of cosmic and earthly influences. With this knowledge, he developed a set of homeopathic preparations used by biodynamic farmers on soil, compost and plants that help build up the farm’s innate immune system and vital forces.

By applying these diverse ideas and methods, biodynamic farmers have established a worldwide reputation for creating socially responsible farms of extraordinary health and beauty and for producing organic products of the highest quality and flavour.

Biodynamic Association


Outings are a vital part of our education: from short, local trips into nature in the Early Years, to cultural excursions, museum and farm visits, and extended residential trips to national and international destinations for older pupils. Outings are about experiences, and each experience—which might involve practical, experimental or project work – is carefully planned to fit with a particular stage of the Steiner curriculum. An overview of these can be seen here: Trips and Outings



Perhaps of interest:

Farming in the curriculum

NEWS: King Charles III A Champion Of Biodynamic Farming (September, 2022)