• Stanisław Karłowski (1879-1939): Pioneer of Biodynamic Farming and Organic Agriculture in Poland

    Pawel Bietkowski, John Paull (see profile)
    Organic farming, Biodynamic agriculture, Anthroposophy, Anthroposophists, Sustainable development, Sustainable agriculture, Agriculture, Poland, Bankers, Extrajudicial executions
    Item Type:
    Rudolf Steiner, Food labelling
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    Stanisław Karłowski (1879-1939) was one of the great champions of Biodynamic farming during its formative years. After an illustrious career as an international banker, in 1920 he purchased the Szelejewo Estate in Poland comprising 1,724 hectares. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) presented his Agriculture Course at Koberwitz (now Kobierzyce, Poland) in the summer of 1924. Rudolf Steiner called for farming to be based on natural and biological principles and the farm to be considered as an organism. Steiner's seminal course laid the grounds for the subsequent development of Biodynamic and organic farming. Karłowski encountered Biodynamics in 1929. He converted his Szelejewo Estate to Biodynamics, thereby creating what was, at the time, likely the largest Biodynamic (BD) farm in Europe, and perhaps the world (c.f. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer’s farm, Loverendale, Netherlands, was 320 hectares). Karłowski published a series of seven booklets (in Polish) promoting the practice of Biodynamics (including a translation of Ehrenfried Pfeiffer); these are believed to be the first Biodynamics publications in Polish. Stanisław Karłowski ran courses on Biodynamics at his Estate and made the BD preparations available. He implemented Rudolf Steiner’s injunction to test the ideas of the Agriculture Course and he published his results and observations in ‘Demeter’. Karłowski was a member of Rudolf Steiner’s ‘Experimental Circle of Anthroposophic Farmers and Gardeners’, the ‘inner sanctum’ of those pioneering the development of Biodynamics in its gestational years of the turbulent interwar period. He brought to the task an economic viewpoint, the attention to detail of a banker, and the independence of thought of a non-Anthroposophist. Within weeks of the German invasion of Poland, Karłowski was executed by a Nazi firing squad in the town square of Gostyń, his wife was deported, his beloved Szelejewo Estate was appropriated by the Nazis, and Poland was extinguished as a sovereign state.
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Last Updated:
    11 months ago


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