Alan Chadwick a Gardener of Souls

Lecture by Alan Chadwick in Saratoga, May 2, 1972


Lecture 1, Part 1.3

An Introduction to Alan Chadwick's Lectures and a Glossary of Terms

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Contents of this Segment:

The magic of nature; Share the garden with the rest of the natural world; Best not to be divorced from the forces of creation; The Joy of creating a balance in the garden instead of declaring war on nature; the Cornucopia; Medicinal value of quality foods; Vegetables grown on chemicals breed pests; the Delirious joy of an organic garden teeming with life; Nutritional value of fresh foods; Locally grown produce has a unique quality and magic.



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Villa Montalvo Lecture Series

Saratoga, California, 1972, Lecture 1,

Cultivation, Part 3


...of a butterfly laying an egg which turns into a caterpillar, which turns into a chrysalis, which turns into a butterfly. God, it’s an inimitable magic for any child to watch. And any child watching it goes into magic, for it is. And therefore, when you understand the true science of creation you have a little room for the butterfly in the garden. You want a little room for it. And you want a little room for the lizard and the beetle and the aphid. And you will never grow a lettuce without having a slug, and if you do, the lettuce isn’t worth eating.

Now, I’m not really being stupid at all. I’m trying to bring in a vision of matters which constitute man not being divorced from creation. And if somebody will jump up and say, “Oh, but my garden is devoured.” Yes, and that’s very probable. But remember this, if we approach this matter with goodness, with all intent of, it will balance. It may take some cycles to get rid of the gopher, to deal with the huge host of snails that come from your neighbor. But how much more delicious to think that you’re going to put it in balance instead of making war and destruction against creation. And this is the vision. And it is possible. It is not only possible, it is delirious. Because when you do approach your garden in this way you have so many flowers, so much fruit, and so many vegetables, you haven’t even enough friends to give them to. And this is truth. Because your soil, your air, becomes fertile and rich and beautiful. And when the world becomes beautiful, it doesn’t require outrageous destruction.

That’s, very briefly, a momentary statement on what biodynamics is after. You must understand that what one is saying is, today if somebody is ill, that they go to the pharmaceutical and they get something which puts them right immediately. Well, most of you know that you’ve got three more things gone wrong with you the next day. And that the whole matter of good food is that all the herbage and fruits contain, with them, the medicines that keep the balance of our sustenance correct. That we don’t need sudden revolutionary things to get rid of some sudden revolutionary matter.

There is also the fact that when—if you’ll permit me to come to it through these four lectures—that when you have produced cultured soil, you have in that cultured soil, life and birth that flows through the plants with beautiful juices. And those beautiful juices are strong, and they are, as creation meant them to be, a matter of sufficientness for eating. What I’m referring to is this. If you go—and forgive me, I’m not decrying emporiums or anything else—but, if you go to an emporium and you buy white bread, you can sit here and eat it all day, and in the evening you’re a little more hungry than you were in the morning. When an insect, or a bird, or an animal eats vegetables which have been grown upon artificial soils, false, out of timing growth, which have not beautiful juices in them, it is exactly like they’re eating the white bread. They go on eating it like mad and they are totally unsatisfied. So what do they do? Exactly what human beings do: they breed like fury. And you get what is called “pest.”

And there is no pest in biodynamic organic growing because you grow plants that bring birds and insects that control other birds and insects and each other within reasonable balance, if you’re prepared to allow so much percentage of your garden and your lands to be shared with nature, as God obviously ordained. And how much more delicious is life, and for children, to go into a garden and discover strange little insects that today nobody ever sees or knows anything about, and birds. And how wonderful to wake every morning with that fantastic greeting that birds give when one starts them off. It’s very obviously a kind of huge oration to Aurora, of the birth of a new cycle every day. What a fantastic thing is this, and how utterly outrageous when we remove it from our lives without reason. For what delight is there in a motorcar horn?

Well, I mustn’t go on inconsumately on such a line. But I’m endeavoring to place clearly, before we begin these four talks, why and what biodynamic horticulture is really after. It’s after beautiful food which you can eat fresh from the garden, absolutely fresh. And how enormous is this word fresh. For, is it realized that a carrot, a potato, a bean, a pea, taken from the garden and eaten within an hour is just like a fish caught from the sea and cooked and eaten? And an egg, after two or three days is not new-laid. Fresh is a huge difference.

All of us, everything in the world, has an area of discontinuity. And that area of discontinuity is, as it were, an emanation. It is what is the color of a flower, the appearance of a fruit, the bloom on a leaf. And that emanation is so fragile that within an hour or two of death, as you would call it, the article collected begins to expire, dehydrate, lose enormous values. It is ascertained amongst great scientifically-thinking people that the bloom on any fruit or vegetable is the most important nutritious part that exists. Therefore, fresh food, straight from the land, straight from the area where it’s grown, is vitally more important than unfresh food in any form. Also, it begins to come into a vision biodynamically that the air of an area, the atmosphere, produces the soil, produces the locale, and that the fruits and the vegetables that will and do grow in that area belong to the people who live and breathe and emanate in that area. And somehow there is a marriage of those matters. And it is important to conjecture into this. That it is also far more deliriously delightful to go into your garden and collect a basket-full of something and have it for lunch and share it with others.

What it is… Well, it’s many magics. But magic is something that you can’t put your thumb on. And it is a magic. Even your own egg from your own hens is quite different to any one that even a great personality would give you. If the president sent you some eggs, they couldn’t be better. But these, of course, are not just vagaries, they are considerable realities. And, very frankly, we do all have to admit that we’ve a great deal forgotten what fresh food and fresh fruit is.

How are we for time? Is it time for coffee? It’s time for coffee. I say it’s time for coffee. And I suggest that as soon as we’ve had coffee I will get on to the subject of the evening, which is cultivation.


May we continue? And please, may I just, both out of desire and response, say that I was so unutterably overwhelmed by Dr. Cain’s coming here and introducing me to you in this way. I really couldn’t reply at the moment because I’m… He’s a very, very established and important man in education, and I don’t enter into this scene in any way. And so I merely want to express gratitude to him for being so generous.




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