That is from Oliver Müller who helps run the Food Hub in Stroud, the outlet for biodynamic produce from Stroud Community agriculture. I posted on their facebook page about the harm anthroposophy is doing to children and families.
I want to make him care, but it’s not an easy task.
Here is our exchange.
Stroudco Food Hub; Dear Helen, I know you have a bee in your bonnet about anything to do with Steiner, so I’m more than happy to discuss why people should or shouldn’t buy biodynamic. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any argument in the post you have linked to. I can see a screenshot of someone painting a cult-like picture of a Steiner School on some internet forum somewhere. The story may be true or not, I have no idea. I don’t sell anthroposophy but food. I know the farmers from SCA and they are great people. Whether my members buy SCA veg because it’s biodynamic or because it’s a local community farm with minimal food miles/carbon footprint, I couldn’t care less. What I do care about is doing my best to reduce the poisoning of our soil, water and air through artificial fertilisers, pesticides and fungicides. Obviously that’s only the beginning. I could write for hours about all the bad things in the world: food production, use of chemicals, plastic in our oceans, drinking water and air, exploitation of all kinds for short-term profit, government corruption, laws that benefit the few, the entire debt-based economic system, wars, famine….
Clearly your anti-Steiner campaign is dear to you. You’ve been going for years. I’m sure there is a good reason why you feel so strongly about it. I just wish I could bring you to see how much real “evil” there is to challenge in the world and that most people involved with biodynamic farming or who send their children to Steiner schools (I don’t by the way, as you may know) are the kindest of people who care about others, respect others and who would never behave in the way you quoted on your blog.
Anyway, I trust your violin playing is going well? Maybe we’ll meet at Anna’s Christmas event and you can try and bring me round to your way of thinking – though I’m secretly hoping you’ll have found a more deserving target for your campaigning energy by then. ;)
Kind regards, Oliver
Stop Steiner in Stroud; Thanks for the reply Oliver. You winked at me at the end and indicated you would be willing to discuss the matter in person – something that I would like to do, although Anna may not like us discussing it at her Christmas event, so maybe somewhere else? We can discuss my violin playing as well since you are interested. You seem to be saying that you don’t care what kind of group produces your food because there are all sorts of bad things going on in the world. I can’t see your logic there. “I don’t sell anthroposophy but food” – it’s a good line, but really you are saying it doesn’t matter where the food comes from, which is strange coming from someone who sets such lofty standards for the rest of the world to live by. And by that argument you wouldn’t care if it was the EDL as long as they seemed nice and didn’t talk about their beliefs. This kind of burying your head in the sand is not very helpful in the struggle against people who are secretive and damage lives with their spiritual nonsense, whilst at the same time using public money. You object to my campaign because it has been going on for years. Again, I can’t see the logic there. I also object to some of the things you are concerned about, but that is not a reason to stop trying to protect people form the harm done by anthroposophy. You put “evil” in inverted commas but it is not my word. The danger of the free school seems to have passed, but still anthroposophy is rife in Stroud, so I see no reason to give up. You would like me to stop and let all the Steiner businesses carry on unhindered. What was it brought you to Stroud anyway? I am genuinely interested to know. Kind regards Helen
Stop Steiner in Stroud; Also Oliver, as you must know it is not the innocent people who are on the periphery of these Steiner businesses (the parents who don’t know they are signing up their child for an anthroposophical education, and the Eco enthusiasts who think it is fun to stir the cauldron of manure but haven’t been told about the reasons) that I am criticising. It is those in charge, those in the know, that I am attacking. They wouldn’t be doing their biodynamic growing or opening schools if they didn’t believe in anthroposophy. They don’t care who gets hurt. They perpetuate a harmful cult and people like you who excuse their behaviour, defend them and turn on the critics instead are a useful tool they use. I think you probably know who are the real anthro believers in your circle and who are not. What would it take to make you question your support for a movement that continues to deceive and harm innocent people? I am all in favour of local food and looking after the soil, but you don’t need to overlook Steiner practices to be ethical in your choices.
It is strange that he doesn’t care about making money from food produced using anthroposophic rituals, and that he is so supportive of people involved with the Steiner movement. He says he cares passionately about “the poisoning of our soil, water and air through artificial fertilisers, pesticides and fungicides”, but apparently doesn’t care about the nature of the organisation he is supporting himself.
Oliver makes a statement about some people he knows on the fringes of Steiner groups;
…most people involved with biodynamic farming or who send their children to Steiner schools (I don’t by the way, as you may know) are the kindest of people who care about others, respect others and who would never behave in the way you quoted on your blog.
but he is missing the point. I am not accusing the average joiner-in of behaving in the way anthroposophists behave. Most of the ususpecting joiners-in don’t know about anthroposophy and are unlikely to accuse a child of having a dark soul or not having any skin, or harm children as Steiner teachers have done. It is the people in charge who know all about anthroposophy and are not telling that I have a problem with.
Bernard Jarman, for example, uses the skulls and bladders on the SCA biodynamic acres but admits that the average joiner in does not know about these rituals, or indeed that anthroposophy exists. Why hasn’t he told them? Because it would “put them off” – to use his words.
Similarly Richard House writes to the local press defending Steiner education as “child-centred”, but knows full well that anthroposophic methods are used and doesn’t share this information with interested new families who should be told.
Very few people know anything at all about anthroposophy and that is what I am campaigning about.
Oliver may himself be one of those innocents who have got involved without doing his research, or he may not. If I was working for an organisation that profited from dealing with followers of an esoteric belief system, I would make it my business to find out. I asked Oliver what brought him to Stroud but I don’t know the answer.
The anticipated Steiner free school didn’t materialise in Stroud and anyone locally who wants to entrust their child to anthroposophists has to pay.
Oliver has used a kind of passive aggressive way of communicating with me. I am used to it from Steiner people who are ruffled by the arguments but want to defend their stance whilst appearing not to care. He can say I have a bee in my bonnet as a way of having a little laugh at my expense, and put a smiley face at the end. He referred to me by name and talked about my music to let me know he can have a giggle with his Steiner friends if he wants. I really have no secrets thanks to them and can’t protect myself from such intrusion as long as I carry on challenging a powerful movement locally and globally. It seems to be a price that has to be paid. People like Oliver who I am sure mean well in their social justice and eco-friendly activities suddenly forget themselves when dealing with critics, and behave differently. Oliver and I probably share many interests and concerns, but when it comes to Steiner it is very hard to get through to people who are resolute in their misplaced loyalty to the cause.