My husband and I have been beekeepers for nearly a decade and have had some success in getting honey, but very little in keeping bees. In fact, our desires and outlooks for beekeeping clashed and eventually we both almost gave up due to lack of shared vision and our inability to keep bees in our hives. Some died. Most left.
This year we decided to commit to attending all 3 weekends of Principles and Practices of Biodynamic Beekeeping. After just one weekend we have connected so deeply with a shared vision of not only how to best support the bees but also how best to make our land even more rich and beautiful and welcoming for pollinators.
There are so many good things to share about how Gunter, Vivian, and Alex teach and connect with each person in the course that I'm not sure I can say even a small portion of them. They are clear, approachable, reverent, dedicated, and willing to connect and to answer questions. They all know Steiner's work deeply and practice the principles daily.
So much gratitude. If you can go, GO!
Wonderful program run by incredibly knowledgeable, welcoming, and wise teachers! This organization is doing important work not only in beekeeping, but also in environmental education.
I traveled from New Hampshire to Virginia to enroll in Spikenard's beginner beekeeping course as an introduction to Biodynamic Beekeeping. Being a Honey Bee Biology teacher in our club Bee School, adult education course teacher on honey bees, and area lecturer on Honey Bee Family Dynamics to the general public, I was looking for an example of teaching a very complex subject to novices. Alex did not disappoint. The elegance in his presentations added to the mood that Alex, Vivian & Gunter created for learning in each session. It was an experience I hope to try and implement in my own teaching. The weather was very poor yet we went out into the gardens to see the beehives. The garden plan reflected a thoughtful, integrated environment of health for living things, the placement and diversity of hives were also in harmony with some recently published scientific studies on apiary layout. I was beyond impressed and hope to make my way back to Spikenard for more insights into Biodynamic Beekeeping in the future.
The inspirational people at Spikenard Honeybee Sanctuary have a deep understanding about the needs of the vanishing bees. We learned many bee-keeping practices that will help the bees flourish and protect these pollinators for future generations. The bee conference was a great balance of inspiration and down-to-earth practicality.
Spikenard Honeybee Sanctuary is a place (and a movement) I am deeply thankful for. For anyone who cares deeply about the Earth, and humanity, and the survival of the Honeybee, Spikenard is THE place to get to know and to support. I have gotten to take many of their incredible classes, which gave me not just know-how, but also such useful experience to be helpful on this mission to save the bees and our ecosystems. And not only is it a place to come and learn, it is also a true and real sanctuary for the bees, plants, and animals, filled with health and vitality that give hope and renewal to all
who come and visit.
Spikenard Farm and Bee Sanctuary is dedicated to the research and education of all things related to the honeybee through the loving application of biodynamic principles. This ensures the optimal health and well being of not just the bees but also of the surrounding natural and human environment. It is truly a special place with special people - both staff and students alike.
I have been a part of a lot the educational programs that are offered at Spikenard and have enjoyed volunteering on Fridays when I can to help out in the gardens for the past 3-4 years years. I have never been disappointed. The quality classes that are offered at Spikenard are top notch! These workshops have taught me so much. I am truly forever grateful to have learned from Gunther, Alex, and Vivian. They are world renowned teachers in their field and am looking forward to going back to learning more from them.
I attended the Continuing Educational Retreat for Waldorf Teachers and Parents in the summer of 2018. I stayed overnight at the Sanctuary as a camper while I attended the workshop. The workshop really did far exceed my expectations: it was well organized, and the material was presented clearly and understandably. I learned much more than I thought possible in the short time frame of the conference. We were also given an opportunity to work directly with the bees, which was an amazing experience. What was impressive to me was the fine balance Spikenard was able to strike between giving us the opportunity to work with the bees while also respecting the needs of the hive. The group atmosphere fostered by the workshop was incredible. I made some good friends from all over the world. My experience camping was also pleasant. The campsite was surprisingly cool even in the middle of the summer (it was like magic!), the bunk house (bathroom, showers, place to store food and make tea) was clean and fresh. In short, I have been recommending Spikenard since my time there, and I will continue to do so. My experience there was quite special, and I hope that many others have the opportunity to spend quality time with the bees.
Spikenard is a dream come true! As more education is focused on bringing lessons from our earth and the special task of the honeybee weaving together life, Spikenard is a pioneer in making that happen. The experience there will enrich any farmer/gardener/beekeeper or educator's understanding of our individual responsibility toward the honeybee. There are some teachers whose wisdom rings clear into your soul and the teachers at Spikenard all carry and share that. A seminar or workshop there is not to be missed. You will hold gratitude for it long after.
The course in Biodynamics was well beyond my expectations. Alex and Gunter shared their immense knowledge from both their minds and their hearts. The course was thoughtfully planned out with a great balance of classroom and hands on experiences. It was a rich and rewarding course. Not only did I gain knowledge and understanding of biodynamic practices, but I felt I had a spiritual experience.
I just finished a four all-day-class program on beekeeping at this gorgeous sanctuary and it made me want to live there. The love and respect for, and deep knowledge of, bees is evident everywhere. The teaching was focused and competent, as well as lively and imbued with humor. I learned a lot and had a good time doing it. I cannot think of a learning experience I could recommend more highly- it was perfect.
Thank you for all you have done.
I feel profoundly changed from my experience at Spikenard Bee Sanctuary. Your deep understanding of the needs of bees has significantly changed my management of bees and will strongly influence the manner I choose to bring the teaching of bee-keeping to my students and community.
I believe the approach employed by the Spikenard Sanctuary is probably the best in the world. I do hope I can return from Australia to Floyd next summer for a follow-up training.
Michael Rowland. Tasmania Australia.
I attended a four-day workshop about Waldorf Schools and the honeybee. Everything about the time there was fabulous: Most important, the people were knowledgeable, kind, gentle, and generous of time, material and spirit; the sanctuary was imbued with a sense of peace, generosity and productivity, because of the bees and the people who care for them; the bees were amazing; the learning environment was safe, open and fertile, allowing participants to exchange ideas freely and productively and to experience unmediated the purpose of the place; the course was well thought-out and organized; the campgrounds were easy to use, with a bathroom and kitchen nearby; the interns were happy and joyful; there was ease and flexibility about the entire event. I highly recommend this group — my feeling was that any money going towards Spikenard would be used efficiently and to its maximum potential, nothing wasted. Thanks!
If you want to become the type of beekeeper that aims to understand the nature of bees and works with them in a way that is respectful to all, then go to Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary. See these loving custodians and their bees in action and learn from them the very natural flow of biodynamic beekeeping. Their practices are simple and they teach them so patiently - ask them anything and you will receive the most thoughtful answers and advice.
Before taking their Principles and Practices of Biodynamic Beekeeping, my previous training can best be described as fear based. The biodynamic way is a much needed breath of fresh air - it is fearless and nourishing.
If you want to learn the best practices for working with bees from open minded, kind hearted experts, then go to Spikenard Farm. When you do go, even if you already a heart full of love and gratitude, make some room, you're about to get more!
Our Beekeeping class at Spikenard was all we hoped for and more. We experienced excellent organization, high level expertise, quality materials, appropriate breaks, and gracious and authentic teachers and staff. It was a wonderful experience in every way.
Thanks so much.
Remarkable workshop!!! So much consciousness in how the information was shared, the hands-on activities executed, and the food served! The rhythmical way in which the theory was alternated with practical activities was very nourishing.
Rudolf Steiner, through the incredible wisdom behind each biodynamic preparation, sheds some light into what is hidden in nature, a little inkling into a mysterious and fascinating world. And the resulting preparations help strengthen the soil, plants and animals (and ultimately ourselves).
The stirring of the preparations in a bucket of water, stirring in one direction and creating a vortex, and then producing chaos by stirring in the other direction, brought forth some spontaneous songs and dances by some of the participants, which enriched the overall feeling of fraternity already there.
If I could, I will give this workshop many more stars.
Gunther, Vivian and Alex form an unbeatable team!!!
I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend at the bee farm. Alex and Gunther were very informative, and their talks were easily understandable. They also answered all questions that we had. Also, had a great time making the preps! I plan to make my own next year. I had read some books on biodynamics, so I was familiar with it; but the hands on experience was well worth coming to the class. Thank you! Roger Walker
I recently took part in a one week beekeeping course at Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary. What a gift!
Clearly the honeybees are at the heart of the Sanctuary team's work, but this is a place where ALL life is respected, and guided to thrive. It's a place bursting with life and vitality. A place I left feeling inspired, hopeful, and engaged with a strong commitment to take action to do my part in contributing to the honeybee's well being.
The three teachers were exceptional: seeing them interacting with the bees with such respect, skill and grace was magical. They were extremely informative, practical, and have a underlying holistic view of the bees which makes the content of what they were teaching so meaningful. Their joy and humour was contagious.
Their work is so essential. It is vital. And incredibly beautiful. For the bees, and for us all.
My class at Spikenard was an unforgettable combination of wonderful information, inspiring hands-on work, and the company of caring and devoted teachers and class members. The facilities are wonderful, and the peace and beauty of the sanctuary is deeply renewing. I would recommend any of their programs and look forward to visiting again soon.