Honouring Indigenous Wisdom Through our Biodynamic Gardening

13 September 2023

In her book "Braiding Sweetgrass”, Robin Wall Kimmerer says: “Becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children's future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it.”

The practice of Biodynamic agriculture is rooted in indigenous knowledge. This means that in the Glenaeon Gardens our lessons are founded in the active observation and listening of all living things: plants, animals and fellow humans.

90% of what lives in the soil and what is active in the atmosphere is invisible to the human eye. We are cultivating our children to use their senses, to perceive the physical needs of the atmosphere and soil for the benefit of our plants and animals. In this way we are “gardening” our children! Inspiring and nourishing them to form a foundation for their sense of belonging to nature.

Children all over the world grind rocks as part of their outdoor play. As rocks are composed of minerals, the rock dust itself vitalises the soil when we sprinkle it around our plants.

We are aware of the abundance that biodiversity provides. At Glenaeon Gardens we harvest the weeds that have grown voluntarily. For example at Castlecrag campus one of the weeds we harvest are bindi weeds. Bindi weeds grow on depleted lawns. By fermenting the bindi weeds in water and pouring that water into those lawns, the result is a sweetened soil that has made an ideal condition for clover to grow. The lawn no longer being prickly, children can now roll in the inviting clover.

To learn about plants, we start with wonder and ask the question: what's growing here? The plants are having a relationship with us too. We're watching, we're listening. We are cultivating this culture of communicating with the natural world. When we suck the pollen from the flowers we taste what the bees are tasting.

In younger grades we sing: “What story, what story do you tell?” and we listen. What is this plant trying to tell us? Mother Earth is communicating. What can we do to help? Water? Prune, aerate? In older grades the conversation about observation as a form of enquiry is explicit, and quickly the students get hands on and hands in.

We encourage everyone to practise this act of conversation. Stop and observe. Listen. Wonder. Be present. When the person we are with, be they young or old, says: ‘Look at that bee’! We must stop and enjoy this captured moment of active life.

We look forward to seeing all volunteers and friends of the Glenaeon gardens who are able to join our Garden Party this Sunday, 26 November at 10am - 12pm, in the garden at Middle Cove. Details in the invitation below and please register here:

For parents and carers who are looking for a way to join and be a part of this community, please feel free to contact Sandra:

Sandra Frain (and Parent Garden Volunteers),
Gardening Teacher