The minutes from a meeting of Stroud Town Council provide an insight into how business is done by Steiner people.
In July this year Stroud Town Council (my parish) decided to spend £500 on shares in the purchase of 41 acres of land at Hammonds farm by the Biodynamic Land Trust, for the purposes of anthroposophical farming.
Item 13 on the agenda on July 6th was
- Community purchase of land at Hammonds Farm
Green Party Councillor John Marjoram joined the meeting shortly before this item came up for discussion.
Item 13 was brought forward for discussion before item number 10, no reason was given.
Councillors Simon Arundel (Green), Alice Campbell (Green), Steven Naumann (Green) and Chas Townley (Labour) withdrew from the meeting; they had declared an interest in the outcome of the discussion, as they had already donated money to the BDLT.
At least two of the remaining Councillors were well informed about anthroposophy;
Councillor Marjoram must have decided he had no interest in the outcome either way. He is married to an anthroposophist and does biodynamic gardening as he has personally informed me. The Mayor Kevin Cranston has been a parent and governor director of Wynstones Steiner school and says he knows all about Biodynamic farming. He defends it as “organic”.
How much the remaining Councillors knew before or after the debate is unclear, but at least one councillor asked some awkward questions about scientific evidence, and was out-voted.
From the minutes;
Gabriel Kaye from the Biodynamic Land Trust was invited to address the meeting and answered questions from members.
Members discussed the potential benefits of the purchase of the land including: increased public access, protecting biodiversity, community ownership, local food production and protection of the land from housing development.
Questions were raised about the sustainability of including livestock in the farm development plan, the impact of converting grassland to Clerk 18 arable farming and the lack of scientific evidence for biodynamic farming. [my emphasis]
There was considerable debate about balancing the potential benefits of the purchase against the concerns raised. It was resolved to purchase £500 of shares. Councillors Arundel, Campbell, Naumann and Townley rejoined the meeting.
Not only have the Steiner people gained £500 of public money, but, more importantly for them, I am sure, they can now claim the support of the Town Council.
Job done, then.