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Interview with Derrick Lim, on life, inspirations and biodynamic farming

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Derrick Lim11 November 2020

This article is part of our theme-based journazine titled "The Sauce". The inaugural issue focuses on Soil, as we believe that soil is the foundation of all things to come. Print and digital copies of the full issue are available here. Check it out for more stories from the community and how Foodscape Collective's projects have come about.

The Sauce (TS): Perhaps we can start with sharing about your journey or experiences in farming so far?

Derrick (DR): I was kinda thrown into farming because of a car accident after a Biodynamics conference in Namibia. I was a co-worker (volunteer) with the children/School community of Camphill Hermanus (South Africa) but for my recuperation and therapeutic healing I moved to the adult/Farm community and became part of the food garden team. I dove into gardening work even with my body mould on. When I moved back to be with the children, I was no longer in the garden. Only in 2011, when I joined Camphill Ballybay (Ireland) adult community did I request to be fully in the garden. For three years, I was involved in the day-to-day work of a three-acre veg and fruit garden and I helped out a little in the farm side of things, for example the milking of cows.

At the turn of the millennium, I was convinced we can have agriculture that treats the land and everything on it holistically and really honours the Earth like “we borrowed it from our children.

TS: How did you get into Biodynamics practices and what have been your experiences with this approach?

DR: I was introduced to Biodynamic rice and products when I was helping out at Brown Rice Paradise (Singapore) and finally curiosity got the better of us and the directors of Brown Rice Paradise invited Terry Forman to give some lectures and conduct a backyard gardening workshop. I helped out with registration and got to attend all the events. Through Terry, I found the radical holism of Anthroposophy which I have been longing for since I was 14. Three years later in 1999, I was in New Zealand and attended a Biodynamic workshop as part of my study. Our college land was maintained in a Biodynamic way and I tasted Kiwi fruits bursting with flavours. Through that year, I encountered both saline land and wasteland turned into fully fertile gardens and farms. At the turn of the millennium, I was convinced we can have agriculture that treats the land and everything on it holistically and really honours the Earth like “we borrowed it from our children”.

It is called Regenerative agriculture now and it has been part of Biodynamics since the 1920s. I looked for communities practising Biodynamic gardening and farming even though I was training to work with children and education. I joined Camphill Hermanus (South Africa), living and working with children with special needs and I cooked for the children using ingredients directly from the garden a stone’s throw away. When the children were on winter holidays, I found myself at a Biodynamic conference in Namibia. I was amazed by the different ways of practicing Biodynamic and some have roaming wild animals as part of their agriculture landscape. This has been my experience of Biodynamics; expanding the circles of care and consideration.

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