There are so many Steiner businesses, and somehow the people involved must be making sufficient money to live – but how?
Internationally, nationally and locally money is being made, but it is not immediately obvious where this comes from.
The educational establishments are not a mystery;
School fees for children with behavioural problems are paid by their local authority and social services.
Kindergarten sessions are paid for in part by parents and in part by the state.
Ruskin Mill College also takes young people under the age of 18 whose fees are paid by local authorities.
The fees and care provided at Camphill Communities (many all around Stroud) are also paid for by local authorities, social services and out of state benefits. Here is a summary of how the funding works.
St Lukes, the anthroposophical medical Centre is partly NHS funded (no-one knows how much “allopathic” medicine is practised and funded there) but the website says the anthroposophical therapies on offer are paid for by patients. The survival of this practice has been partly explained by information from thegilrinthefireplace who revealed in a comment the way residents at Camphill are coerced or forced into paying for anthroposophical therapies they neither want nor need . There must be a comfortable income to be made from supplying curative eurythmy, biographical counselling, or rhythmical massage to these nearby residents.
These therapies when used on reluctant victims patients must be worse than useless; an acknowledged effect of alternative therapies is the placebo effect, and the time spent by therapists talking to their patients. For someone who doesn’t want to be there in the first place, the “talking time” must be just an added annoyance, or worse.
I contend that forcing residents to endure these therapies, whether at their own expense or not constitutes abuse.
And finally the Biodynamic businesses – not much money there, one would think, but we need to consider the fact that all the Steiner businesses support each other.
In addition to the vegetables on sale in a local shop there is the Café selling biodynamic food. The schools, colleges and Camphill Communities will be customers for the astrologically grown produce – at what prices, I don’t know.
In Stroud we have the HQ of the UK Biodynamic association where they sell supplies for biodynamic methods. Little bags of horn manure and cow horns start at £4.80. There is also the Biodynamic Agricultural College at the Painswick Inn project, the Crossfields Institute which offers the Diploma in BD agriculture, and of course Ruskin Mill which has bd apprentices and the Field Centre which runs courses on biodynamic research.
The diploma in Biodynamic Principles and Practice consists of 9 units at £365 each, plus £120 registration fee and according to the website does definitely not provide training in agriculture. Just Biodynmics. Who does these courses? Perhaps students at Ruskin Mill are encouraged to do so when they leave.
Where does a diploma in biodynamics get someone? Not very far, sadly, unless you are seeking respect in the world of anthroposophy.
This is the kind of thing on offer at the Field Centre, but I recommend you only look at this link if your blood pressure is ok.
Stroud community Agriculture (SCA) is also a BD organisation, and it turns out people pay for the privilege of participation.
“Members support the farm and carry its annual running costs in return for participation and a share of the produce. Land is rented from two local educational trusts.”
The two educational land trusts mentioned are Steiner. Members of SCA pay to be members and again to buy produce from their farm. Out of this money a full time biodynamic farmer and apprentice are employed.
From reading about the history of SCA there is no indication of when the decision was taken to run it as a Biodynamic farm, or of any prior involvement of the initial core group in anthroposophy. Funny, that.
The Soil association website page on Community Supported Agriculture makes no mention of biodynamics as a feature of CSAs.
Stroud is a UK hub for Biodynamics. It is totally unscientific; based on astrology, stirring pots of manure and stuffing cow horns to bury and dig up again. It is pseudoscience and mysticism in all its ridiculous glory.
The Steiner “industry” as a whole is mainly undercover. It operates below the radar of most ordinary citizens, and yet it is substantial. Money for dubious practices comes from local authorities, central government, and from private individuals who donate time or money – with or without being aware of what they are supporting.