La Fontaine has eight acres of land of which currently five acres are grassland (pasture for horses) and about one hectare for vegetables, fruits and grains. The acreage could be expanded up to two acres more. The altitude of the land is at 750 meters.
The rural farm life and yogic community (Sangat) are one. We live consciously and form a mutual enrichment for each other. We strive for a balance between practical work and being on a spiritual path.
The agricultural area is managed by Jan Darmstadt-Keher Singh( born February 13 1984). Jan completed his studies in Biodynamic farming in Germany; since 2003 he has deepened his practical knowledge on various farms throughout Europe. In spring of 2009 the farming on La Fontaine has become Biodynamic. Currently he is studying to become a Kundalini yoga teacher and a Gatka teacher (traditional martial art of the Sikhs).
Jan Keher Singh Vision
The goal of agriculture on La Fontaine is not about working heaps or creating a huge production of produce. We are concerned rather to develop an attitude of awareness, connectedness and surrender. Through this we can experience the work as a gateway to a meditative state of being. We experience the living processes of nature with joy, loving care and devotion.
Awareness in the community work and interaction with one another unfolds processes in us. This is particularly noticeable in our interpersonal relationships on the farm. Through this we realize that duality and separation do not exist. Like seeds grow, mature, flourish and create new life, we too learn to do the same.
Jan Keher Singh: "My vision in La Fontaine is to bring the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, the healing and guiding energies of Guru Ram Das and the anthroposophy of R. Steiner together. My intention is to live as a farmer, to be on a yogic path and through the knowledge of these seeds to grow spiritually. My wish is that we experience the world as one. "
The farmIn the field the vegetable crops consist of potatoes, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, leeks, pumpkins, zucchini, beans and tomatoes. We also grow winter wheat, rye, and einkorn for our bread production .The versatility of the crop is important for the fertility of the land.
In the two green houses we grow spinach, corn salad, lettuce, chard, fennel, in 10 different varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, basil and melons, and various herbs and medicinal plants. We grow the plants from seedlings ourselves, the two greenhouses, (each 200 m2) allowing us year-round harvest.
In the orchards, we manage some apple, pear, cherry, apricot and plum trees. We also grow raspberries, red and black currants and blackberries which provide the basis for the manufacture of our own jams.
In the winter we cooperate with the forestry companies in the surrounding forests. We cut firewood and we move the logs with our horses.
Our aim at La Fontaine is to be as self sufficient as possible.
Some of our garden products are sold on a local weekly market. This connects us with the people of our region.
We also contribute to the supply of food for the Yoga Festival in France and the Sikh Dharma meetings in Germany.
Working with the Soil / Mound cultivation / Horse work
All outdoor crops are grown in mounds with a working width of 70 cm. By this the fertility, structure and warmth of the soil is augmented. The surface becomes larger and the ground area for root growth deepens. Mound cultivation help us to make weeding more manageable and to take better care of the crops. We do this with the right equipment and the help of horse power.
The feature of agricultural work based on horse work instead of machines work is that the machines compacts the soil much more. The tools used on the land are mainly modern equipment from Prommata, some traditional and self-constructed tools are used.
The earthworms are the true cultivators of the soil and are considered as an indicator of the soil fertility. We work the heavy clay earth with our horses so just the top soil is turned. The aim is to create favorable conditions for soil life.
Working with horses is not only ecological, it also makes no noise. It fosters the direct exchange and contact between human and animal, as well as among us humans and in addition it also has a therapeutic effect.
It is possible to experience the practical application of these equipments and to learn to guide the horses with Jan Keher Singh directly.
Soil fertility / fertilizer / crop rotation
We try to maintain and build up the fertility with manure from goats from the farmer nearby. We also grow large quantities of green manure, with different legume blends. Our fields are protected in winter by cover crop.
The combination of animal manure, green manure, biodynamic preparations and our loving human presence creates the fertilizing compost building the foundation for sustainable agriculture in La Fontaine.
The Biodynamic preparations
Biodynamic agriculture is based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy. It includes six different herbal preparations. The herbs are inserted into the compost pile with homeopathic effectiveness and promote fertility. All preparations are made in La Fontaine. We also include cosmic constellations, moon phases and planetary rhythms in our practical work.
We are now in the process of Demeter certification.
Internships / Seminars
We are happy to receive trainees at any time of the season, including from the woofing organization. Jan Keher Singh offers agricultural internships (also from Waldorf schools) for a stay of at least two weeks.
Internships, trainings and day seminars are available on the following topics:
- Biodynamic Agriculture
- Soil fertility through green manure
- Manufacture and application of bio-dynamic preparations
- Modern horses work
Contact for agriculture, horse work and internships:
Jan Darmstadt – Keher Singh
3HO La Fontaine
05300 Barret sur Méouge