Dr Andrew Christopher Lorand
The late Dr Andrew Lorand worked as a consultant on Biodynamics. He was born in October 1957 on the island of Manhattan, New York City, to Swiss-Hungarian Parents, and was dual US/Swiss citizen. He was educated in the United States, Germany and Switzerland. He did a PhD in Agricultural Education at Penn State University, which included a dissertation on Biodynamic agriculture, spent ten years farming, and in early 2004 was based in Santa Rosa, California whilst working as what he described to me as ‘an ecological and Biodynamic farming consultant who is happier if people talk about my work and not me.’ At the time he told me he was working as a Biodynamic consultant ‘with over a dozen high-end California and Oregon wine grape growers.’ In 2004 these included Alpine, Littorai, Pearl, Joseph Phelps, and Porter Bass in California, and Antica Terra, Brick House, Pearl, and Sokol Blosser in Oregon. In the mid-2000s he became a key figure behind the creation of respekt-BIODYN, a Biodynamic winemaker association of Austrian and German wine-growers, many of whom he consulted to and trained.
Biodynamics | ‘Biodynamics is more about the farmer than it is about the farm. Applying the preparations and compost is only a start, maybe 10% of it. You need to be present emotionally. For me, what I call ‘presence’ is key. And beyond being present, emotionally, mentally, beyond being “mindful” and “awake” there is the whole sense of responsibility for the living organism, for the farm as a person, as an individual that makes biodynamics different from mere input substitution (organic nutrients instead of chemical ones, for example). A deep, spiritual sense of responsibility,’ (12 January 2004).
On his methodology | ‘In addition to the usual Biodynamic sprays (Horn manure 500, Horn silica 501, compost and compost tea), Lorand uses a wide spectrum of homeopathic foliar and field sprays to enhance vine growth, health and grape taste, which are also timed with the moon’s synodic cycle. ‘I think I differ from other biodynamic consultants in that I tend to take a very intensive approach and like my clients to put on a lot more sprays than is perhaps considered the norm. I encourage clients to follow a very regular spray and soil management program. Although I have known Maria Thun for thirty years and respect her greatly I do not work with Maria Thun’s seedling calendar. Instead I work only with the Full Moon and the New Moon cycle in the early years of transition to Biodynamics [See celestial cycles]. This gives growers three and four day windows to spray the biodynamic preparations. In my experience it takes about four years for growers to get accustomed to biodynamics, and working to the Full and New Moon is a good way of introducing the celestial element of biodynamics. I want farmers to experience the influences, to observe, watch and see what is happening – not just use a calendar by rote. Usually my regime of biodynamic spraying entails applying the Horn Manure 500 between three and five times annually, with up to five applications (but usually slightly less) of the Horn Silica 501. The Full Moon heralds a period of growth, of reproduction and fertility, and this is the moment to spray the Horn Manure 500. The New Moon is a period of maturing, ripening, the end of the season. This is the moment to apply the Horn Silica 501. The exact number of applications I stress depends on the site, local weather conditions, and the length of season. Treat the season, this is very important. And growers should not see this as merely a recipe to follow, without feeling it, without observing the influences. The Horn silica 501 spray can be complemented with horsetail decoction [Equisetum arvense].’ The Horn silica 501 is sprayed into, rather than over, the canopy if it is windy. Horsetail is sprayed onto the leaves. Lorand also employs chamomile and nettle teas, plus vine pastes after pruning’ (12 January 2004).
On sustainability | ‘I want my clients to be ecologically sound first; then biodynamics is a complement’ (12 January 2004).
University education BA.1984 in Political Science Democracy, Foreign Policy and International Politics at Christian Albrechts Universitaet, Kiel, Germany. | M.A.1988 in German Language & Linguistics, Literature & Culture, History at Christian Albrechts Universitaet, Kiel, Germany. | Ph.D.1996 in ‘Agricultural Education Ecological Production, Policy, Farmer Education.’ Dissertation – Biodynamic Agriculture: A Paradigmatic Analysis at Penn State University, State College, Pennsylvania.
Languages | Fluent in English, German – Conversant in French
Career | 1991-1993 Director, National Biodynamic Program, Kimberton, Pennsylvania. | 1991-1993 Associate Director, North American Biodynamic Association. | 1993-1997 Independent, International Consultant, Biodynamic & Ecological Farming. | 1997-2000 Professor, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, California (32,000 students in total; 1,500 students in the Agriculture Dept). Santa Rosa JC is one of 108 government universities in California where students study their first two years of University education (these are also called “community universities”). | 2000-2002 Dean, School of Alternative Agriculture, New College of California, a private college in San Francisco, for 2.5 years (although Andrew taught at the branch campus in Santa Rosa). | 2002-2004 Santa Rosa Campus, Santa Rosa, California. | 2004-200? Independent, International Consultant, Biodynamic & Ecological Farming to vineyards (mainly) and dairy/diversified farms. | 2004 Living in Switzerland, looking for consulting work.
Telephone conversation with Andrew Lorand on Monday evening January 12th 2004.