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Stewardship & Sustainability Series
Episode 147 - Sheila Foster, Executive Director, Biodynamic Demeter Alliance

Celebrating Biodynamics in a Dynamic Time on Earth

In this special podcast episode, Sheila Foster, the Executive Director of the Biodynamic Demeter Alliance, discusses the important (and growing) role of Biodynamic farming, gardening, and land-stewardship practices as a potent way to heal and restore soil, water, food, and ecosystems from industrial agriculture and chemical pollution.  

As Sheila tells us, Biodynamic practices were first articulated by genius polymath Rudolf Steiner in 1924 in response to European farmers seeking advice to help them restore the declining fertility and nutrition of their farms and farm products that ensued when post-WWI industrial munitions factories were converted to manufacture synthetic fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals. Biodynamic practices incorporate ancient and indigenous Eurasian practices and folk wisdom in a highly intuitive, scientific, and relationship-based form of agricultural and ecosystem stewardship. The enhanced biodiversity, soil vitality, and robust microbial life found in Biodynamic agriculture results in more nutrient dense, vital, and life-enhancing produce, meats, eggs, and dairy products. As our society contends with increasing occurrences of obesity, cancer, leukemia, depression, cognitive maladies, and other diseases and adverse impacts arising from industrial, chemical-based agriculture, we need practices like Biodynamics to continue to scale-up. In addition to positive impacts on health and wellness, Biodynamics is also one of the key tools in ecosystem restoration, detoxification, and carbon sequestration strategies that are so critical to reversing climate change, restabilizing soils, and enhancing biodiversity.

Sheila and the Biodynamic Demeter Alliance team are scaling Biodynamics, training young farmers, certifying Biodynamically-grown products, enhancing the marketing, branding, and outreach of the Biodynamic community, and providing innovative educational resources to farmers, ecosystem stewards, and eaters alike. Moreover, in just a few weeks from this publication, the Biodynamic Demeter Alliance is hosting its first in-person annual national conference since 2019! The conference is being held November 8-12, 2023 in Westminster, Colorado. As of this publication, special deals and discounts are available: biodynamicconference.com (including a special 2 for 1 offer, available for a limited time!).

About the 2023 Biodynamic Conference

The Biodynamic Conference brings together 700 – 1000 farmers, gardeners, educators, students, activists, entrepreneurs, and others interested in Biodynamics from across the United States and beyond. The largest Biodynamic gathering in the US, this conference offers an unparalleled opportunity to connect, learn, question, share, and explore over the course of five days of programming.

Anyone from beginners to long-time Biodynamic practitioners can learn in a variety of ways, including on-farm field days, intensive pre-conference workshops, inspiring keynote presentations, and breakout workshops. Special events provide many opportunities for connection, conversation, and celebration.

As of this publication, BOGO (“Buy One Get One” Free) tickets are still available! Go to biodynamicconference.com for more information.

Sponsors of the conference include Fox Hollow Farm, Josephine Porter Institute, Chelsea Green Publishing, Earth and Humanity Foundation, Mercola, the Biodynamic International Federation, and the Y on Earth Community.

About Sheila Foster

Sheila Foster is the Executive Director of the Biodynamic Demeter Alliance. She has worked across the spectrum of the environmental and food system movement for more than two decades. A successful nonprofit leader and scientist at heart, her work has focused on the belief that hope for the world lies in the intricate web that ties us all together and our ability to nurture and care for each other, the soil, and our fellow living beings. Through her experience nationally and internationally, she has seen that one of the greatest avenues for creating a thriving world is through the principles and values of biodynamic agriculture. Previous to her role at the BDA, Sheila has served as Executive Director of Rogue Valley Farm to School, Development Director of the Lomakatsi Restoration Project, Development Director of the ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum. She holds an MBA in Sustainable Solutions from Presidio Graduate School.

A mother and a fan of walking anytime she can, Sheila spends whatever free time she has enjoying her daughter, walking in the woods and connecting with her local community. She lives in Southern Oregon, on lands that have been stewarded since time immemorial by the Takelma, Latagwa, and Shasta peoples.

About the Biodynamic Demeter Alliance

The Biodynamic Demeter Alliance (BDA) was recently established through the merger of the Biodynamic Association and Demeter in order to further the Biodynamic movement in North America and beyond. The BDA’s mission is to advance the adoption of Biodynamic practices among growers and bring together producers, distributors, advocates, consumers, and policymakers to create a thriving, equitable agricultural system that nurtures and supports the well-being of communities economically, environmentally, and spiritually. The BDA also administers the Demeter® certification credential for farmers and producers.

Resources & Related Episodes



Ep. 124 – Nick DiDomenico, Co-Founder, Elk Run Farm & Drylands Agroecology Research

Ep. 123 – Marissa Pulaski, Co-Founder, Elk Run Farm & Drylands Agroecology Research

Ep. 98 – Lin Bautze, Goetheanum Section for Agriculture & Biodynamic Farming

Ep. 47 – Thea Maria Carlson, (past) Executive Director, Biodynamic Association

Ep. 44 – Pat Frazier, NP, Biodynamic Educator & Earth Steward Par Excellence

Ep. 5 – Stephanie Syson, Biodynamic Botanicals Herbal Medicine

Ep. 3 – Brook Le Van, Co-Founder, Sustainable Settings Biodynamic Ranch

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