2017 Conference

Growing the Future: Urban Biodynamics Conference 2017

19-21 May, Michael Park School, Ellerslie, Auckland

Featuring a pre-conference workshop on 18-19 May—Biodynamics: bringing life to urban gardens with Rachel Pomeroy and Colin Ross

Conference begins Friday afternoon, finishes Sunday afternoon

From backyards in the ‘burbs to farms on the fringes, our 2017 conference dishes up nourishing food for growing cities.

Over the last few years we’ve seen an increased demand for information about biodynamics on a micro-scale. This conference is our response, with an exciting line-up of experts and activities demonstrating how to integrate biodynamics into city living.

The programme includes talks by leading biodynamic practitioners, including a keynote presentation by Diane Watkin from Australia. Take part in hands-on workshops and enjoy field visits to gardens and orchards around the Auckland region.

Make the most of this opportunity by sharing this page with your networks and getting the word out! And  register here.

Our speakers and workshop leaders include

Diane Watkin

Diane co-founded Biodynamics Sydney Inc. about 10 years ago, to introduce city people to a healthier environment and healthy food. Biodynamic farming practices, terminology and approach were re-translated for modern city dwellers through workshops, articles and publicity. There is now considerable enthusiasm and knowledge in Sydney about biodynamics and its uses.
Diane will speak about biodynamics in the city, including the Persephone Food Project that was launched in 2015 to match up growers and consumers. Her first film, Five Hundred: the story of biodynamics in and around Sydney, was released last year


Gary Williams

Gary has a long association with biodynamics and permaculture. The small farm on the Kapiti Coast that he runs with his partner Emily has a diversity of gardens, farm, forest and wilderness. He works on water and soil resource management, providing advice and design services to clients ranging from individuals to councils and government departments. He is fascinated by the nature and mysteries of water,
and the dynamics of natural and human systems.

Marinus La Rooij

Marinus has managed biodynamic gardens in Hawke’s Bay, the Kapiti Coast and Canterbury, where he now lives. Marinus combines wide experience of biodynamics – including work as a farm advisor, Demeter inspector and biodynamic livestock manager – with deep study of biodynamic principles.





Andy Black

Andy has been a biodynamic gardener for many years, growing a range of crops including vegetables, medicinal herbs and specialised crops under glass. He originally studied biodynamics in Europe and has been a Demeter inspector for many years. Andy has developed a deep knowledge of biodynamic horticulture and how to integrate work in the garden with helping people with special needs.





Sarah Smuts-Kennedy

Sarah is an artist and gardener applying biodynamic and permaculture principles to her work. She initiated For the Love of Bees- A City Bee Collaboration,  a social sculpture inviting Aucklanders to imagine the city as the safest in the world for bees, and actions that they can take to help create a city legacy. Infrastructure includes a Biology First Teaching Hub and Demonstration Community Garden in the centre of the city where biological gardening, including biodynamic practices are taught. It includes hives in Myers and Victoria parks.  (More information about this project here.)

Pauline Mann

Pauline is a glass artist who has taught art for over 30 years, including nine years at Raphael House Rudolf Steiner School in Lower Hutt. She has practised biodynamics at Mangawhai (Rakaunui Art Village) since 1982. Her studies of transformation through light, darkness and colour have given her a deeper understanding the balancing effect of light (silica/preparation 501/glass) and darkness (carbon/preparation 500/charcoal). It will be the charcoal process (or carbon mirrors) she will give as an exercise at the conference.

Ruth Bookman

Ruth is a biodynamic gardener and lifestyle farmer of many years experience. In the 1990s she had a Demeter certified plant nursery in the middle of Auckland City (Grey Lynn). For the past 12 years she has combined running a plant nursery with lifestyle farming, until moving north last year.   In her workshop she will look at becoming self sustaining on your urban ‘farm’, and ways of improving productivity on your land, no matter how big or small. There will be practical demonstrations on seed sowing , taking cuttings, making potting mixes and other topics.

Colin Ross, Margi Boswell and Su Hoskin

Colin, Margi and Su are biodynamic practitioners and teachers with many years of experience in the viticulture sector. The comparison of wines is a long established tradition, and those from biodynamic management have been attracting worldwide attention in such workshops in recent years.

Rachel Pomeroy

Rachel is familiar to many through her regular garden calendar in Organic NZ magazine. Her contagious enthusiasm and deep knowledge combine to make her courses memorable and effective experiences. She will look at why we use the biodynamic calendar and working with the influences of the cosmos.