As the world now reels from multiple climate change catastrophies – this 2010 documentary featuring Biodynamics farmer and teacher Peter Proctor gives real hope that organic-biodynamic agriculture can save the world from desertification and severe water shortage.
“Biodynamic Agriculture is Spiritual Agriculture” – Peter Proctor
The farmer featured in the ‘One Man, One Cow, One Planet’ documentary Peter Proctor ‘crossed’ the threshold at age 89.
Peter was 69 when he first went to India to introduce Biodynamic Agriculture at the Indore University in India– he had only one-good eye (the other was a glass eye, result of a farm accident); yet he had the stamina of a ‘Malee bull’ wrote Dr Leigh Davison, another BD pioneer who had accompanied Peter on one of his earliest trips to India. (Leigh – waste water management lecturer, was the co-founder of Dhamanandar, Biodynamic-Zen Buddhist community in the Shannon, Lismore – Australia. )
Before going to India – in the early 1990s – Peter had stopped over in Singapore where he introduced biodynamic farming and Waldorf education. He was hosted by Nazli Anwari and Bernard Harrison of the Zoological gardens and in return Peter gave talks in the Zoo and led zoo staff in the making of bd compost using zoo poo!.
Peter also gave a talk – to a huge crowd – at Organic Paradise café, then roused us all to take a bumboat over to Pulau Ubin, to make BD compost there. On another occasion, Peter visited Kampung Senang Charity and Education Foundation in Tampines where they had just started an organic ‘farm’. He ‘blessed’ the farm with a sprinkling of bd horn manure.
Peter was also the first trainer-gardener to walk through the elephant grass of Evelyn & Soo’s Green Circle Eco-farm …even before they began farming. Singapore became a regular stop-over on Peter and Rachel Pomeroy, his partner’s, way over to India.
The Indians in India took to Biodynamic farming like ‘duck to water’ because:…..
The Cow is Sacred to the Hindus -. In fact, Peter was so thrilled when he gave his first talk in Southern India – and there was a wall hanging saying:
‘The Goddess of Fertility Lives in the Cow Dung’ .
The cows are holy, they have multiple uses for cow dung and cow urine and they work with Astronomy and Astrology in their daily lives.
Those who practice AGNIHOTRA – the ancient Vedic science of purification of Self and Planet – by burning cow-dung in a copper pyramid at Sunrise and Sunset, well understand the healing powers of cow dung.
Agnihotra practitioners fully appreciate what Biodynamic farmers do with the raw manure they stuff into cow horns to make bd’s best known preparation to ‘bring life back to dead and chemically poisoned soils’.
Peter and Rachel were so enthusiastically welcomed by the Indian farmers that they began making India their permanent home. He also got started on his book ‘Grasp the Nettle’ which became a biodynamic ‘bible’ – it was translated into Hindi too.
“The Spiritual world looked after his (Peter’s) needs because he was so giving”: – Cheryl Kemp, who was his student in Taruna, NZ, then his work & travel mate wrote glowingly of her teacher-mentor. “Peter was so generous with his time and energy, never avaricious, never financially well off, the spiritual world looked after his needs. The work he and Rachel did in India – over a decade — was funded by an organization named ‘Biodynamic Outreach’ – which had international funding,” wrote Cheryl. “Benefactors would also just step in and help him to travel and teach. Later a home was provided for Peter and Rachel in Gujarat on a Biodynamic Farm.”
Why Peter turned cheesy Vegetarian….
Not all biodynamic or organic farmers are vegetarians – many are livestock farmers and would eat their own biodynamic or organic sheep and/cow. But Peter was already a vegetarian when he met Rachel and she was happy to turn vegetarian too.
Peter narrated (to me) that he became a vegetarian when he was still a livestock farmer in NZ. One day he had to bring some lambs to the abattoir. As there was no one around to receive them, Peter went into the slaughter house. The sight so sickened him that from that moment onwards, Peter swore he would never eat another piece of meat.
But Peter loved his cheese – biodynamic of course – Leigh Davison and his wife Ellen are also vegetarian – in fact, Dhamananda is a Zen-Buddhist vegetarian community where every cow has a name and is hand-milked. (I know because Richard and I were fortunate guests of the Davisons in Dhamananda, back in the late 1990s and had their home-produced Biodynamic cheese, milk and vegetables.)
As Biodynamics grew in India – and more and more farmers came on board — it became evident that a documentary should be made to spread the message of cow-poo magic (not chemical fertilisers) creating truly health-giving soils and saving the Planet: So with friends at Cloud South Films, One Man, One Cow, One Planet was born.
India was truly home to Peter and Rachel…but on one Christmas trip back to NZ – several years ago – Peter suffered deep vein thrombosis and doctors said he should not fly again. So, Peter & Rachel could not go back to their beloved India.
They settled back in New Zealand and when Peter crossed over – Rachel and friends gave him…. A ‘Bio-dynamic Funeral’ – for a Biodynamic Teacher
Peter died peacefully at home and they kept him in his bed for 3 days (normal for NZ), and prepared the coffin with cow pat pit in the bottom, then straw and laid Peter on this. A crystal and some horn silica 501 was placed at his head, horn manure 500 at his feet, and the bd compost preps over his chest. Then more straw, flowers over his heart and a blanket of their compost to tuck him in.
Three hundred people packed the cemetery….cow pat pit was put at the bottom of his grave, then the coffin was lowered in, covered by a huge display of flowers just arrived from India, then everyone took turns filling in the hole, rain and all. By then the hour of stirring the horn manure was completed, and all helped sprinkle it around the cemetery.
Report by Betty L Khoo-Kingsley, member of Biodynamic Agriculture Australia Ltd.- compiled with extracts from BD Australia’s News Leaf Spring 2018 issue – By Alan Johnston & Cheryl Kemp.