BDNow! Podcast 014 David Lee Hoffman and the Quest for Quality

David Lee Hoffman stands near a 700 year old tree in a scene from All in this Tea, a movie about his efforts to locate quality teas in China for his American clients

“My love of the planet is greater than my fear of the law,” -David Lee Hoffman

He’s been called “The Indiana Jones of Tea” by nothing less than The New York Times, more accurately, though, he’s the best candidate I’ve seen for the title of “The World’s Most Interesting Man.”

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Here’s just a few of his qualifications for that title:

  • As a young man, he invented a unique sonic cleaning system for cleaning valueable ancient textiles, artifacts and fine art that is used to this day by major museums
  • Spent over 10 years as a consciencous objecter wandering over 100 countries, developing the knowledge and appreciation of teas that lead to the development of his tea importation and education programs and the sustainable architectural insights that lead him to build his testimonial to  sustainable living,   The Last Restort
  • He was amongst the first Americans to visit the remote Tibetan kingdom of Dolpo.
  • In the early 60’s he met and became a friend of His Holiness, the Dali Lama while living in Dharamshala, India
  • Started the first quality tea companies in America and pretty much started the modern Tea Movement in the US, single handedly finding quality artisinal organic teas in remote areas of China (well before China loosened up economically), importing them into the US and then conducting ‘tea tastings’ across the country promoting knowledge of tea among Americans, leading to the first awakening to tea of many of today’s tea gurus
  • He became known in China as the “the American Pu-erh Tea King”
  • Sold his tea company and started growing heirloom grains and doing artisinal baking because he observed that the traditional grains still used in Asia smelled a lot better while backing and felt more like food when eaten than were the industrialized grains of America.
  • Started a new tea company, The Phoenix Collection,  for which he hunts for teas, imports, selling wholesale and direct over the internet
  • He is the subject of filmmaker Les Blank and Gina Leibrecht’s 2007 outstanding documentary,  All In This Tea
  • As an architect, he designed, and continues to build, THE LAST RESORT, an environmental model of sustainable and harmonious living that attempts to assimilate both natural methods from the past with modern know-how to create a living system that effectively demonstrates possibilities of thriving in a non-polluting healthy environment. Its mission is to discover and perfect practical low-cost sustainable methods for waste management, water re-use, and food security.
  • Was trained by acrobats from Circques du Sole on how to safely install tiles on the highest roof of The Last Resort
  • Recycled extra slate tiles from Eagle Don Henley’s home construction for a section of the main roof of The Last Resort
  • Several Tibetan monks contributed to the construction and creation of The Last Resort
  • Probably the the most interesting: Marin County wants over $200,000 from David Lee Hoffman right now to pay for 40 years of failing to get permits for his  sustainability demonstration projects – – or licensing for his tea businesses. If he doesn’t pay, they threaten to raze The Last Resort 

On top of this, he’s a recognized expert in vermiculture and soil fertility.

The reason we requested an interview with him for Biodynamics Now! is because of the insights into Quality (in foods and in living) that he demonstrated in All in This Tea and through his tea companies, tea teaching and his work with heirloom grains and The Last Resort. Frankly, we’d need to spend 3 more hours with him (at least) in order to even begin to cover his insights into this area.

It appears to me that everything he does is for the betterment of everyone, now and in the future.

Blessed are they who earn their livelihood without harming others


David Lee Hoffman’s homepage is here (as is his current tea company, The Phoenix Collection)

The best page on The Last Resort is here

The New York Times’ Article on The Last Resort is here


David mentions Monica Spiller’s work with Ancient Grains during the interview. Monica Spiller is known as THE GRANDMOTHER OF HEIRLOOM WHEAT

Her heirloom grain initiative is The Whole Grain Connection.

Welcome to the Whole Grain Connection.We are a non-profit organization based in California, aiming to enhance the desirability and availability of whole grain breads and other whole grain products from organically and sustainably grown grains and thereby connecting farmers and bakers.We hope you will visit our website often for our latest website publications and activities. 
Contact information:
Attn: Monica Spiller
Whole Grain Connection
500 West Middlefield Road #2
Mountain View
California 94043

Telephone: 650 938 2865


BDNow! Podcast Peter Bacchus Biodynamic Pasture Management

Peter Bacchus: Biodynamic Pasture Management


New Zealand grazing consultant Peter Bacchus shares a lifetime of experience on applying biodynamics to pastures. His multi-pronged approach considers balance of fertility elements, organic matter levels, soil life, and particularly soil life forces. Through biodynamic preparations and other tools he seeks to produce optimum grass quality and production for grazing animals. Also covered are biodynamic methods of pest and weed control. Continue reading “BDNow! Podcast Peter Bacchus Biodynamic Pasture Management”

BD Now! Podcast 013 Mark Shepherd Restoration Agriculture

Mark Shepard, author of Restoration Agriculture

Around the globe most people get their calories from annual agriculture – plants that grow fast for one season, produce lots of seeds, then die. Every single human society that has relied on annual crops for staple foods has collapsed. Restoration Agriculture explains how we can have all of the benefits of natural, perennial ecosystems and create agricultural systems that imitate nature in form and function while still providing for our food, building, fuel and many other needs – in your own backyard, farm or ranch. This book, based on real-world practices, presents an alternative to the agriculture system of eradication and offers exciting hope for our future.



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Biodynamics Now Podcast! Episode 012 Jean Giblette and Peg Shafer on The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm

Our collective experience of the past sixty years has revealed long-term damage resulting from the industrialization of three necessities: education, food, and medicine. We are now at an impasse: the food makes us sick, the medicine fails to restore our health, and a fog of propaganda obscures the solutions to our problems.

Jean Giblette

Our interview is with leading Chinese medicine herbalists Jean Giblette and Peg Shafer. Jean, a medicinal plant grower, teacher and investigator, is the founder of High Falls Gardens, Peg Shafer, an accomplished plant worker and teacher, is the author of The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm. With three decades of combined domestic herb-farming experience, Giblette and Schafer believe that sustainable production of East Asian herbs in the U.S. has the potential to benefit both local producers and practitioners.

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Biodynamics Now! Podcast Episode 011 Dr. Paul Jaminet, Author of Perfect Health Diet


Perfect Health Diet Cover
Dr. Paul Jaminet, author of Perfect Health Diet ( Photograph by Seo Jung Sa )

Paul Jaminet, Ph.D., was an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Paul’s experience overcoming a chronic illness led the Jaminets to develop the views of aging and disease presented in Perfect Health Diet.

Suffering from chronic illness and unable to get satisfactory results from doctors, husband and wife scientists Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet took an intensely personal interest in health and nutrition. They embarked on five years of rigorous research. What they found changed their lives— and the lives of thousands of their readers.

In Perfect Health Diet, the Jaminets explain in layman’s terms how anyone can regain health and lose weight by optimizing nutrition, detoxifying the diet, and supporting healthy immune function. They show how toxic, nutrient-poor diets sabotage health, and how on a healthy diet, diseases often spontaneously resolve.

Paul Jaminet tirelessly provides one-to-one support for people who are working through health issues with diet. You can read his archives, get recipes and ask questions at this website

Listen to this episode at iTunes Preview (or download to your iTunes)

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Perfect Health Diet tells you exactly how to optimize health and make weight loss effortless with a clear, balanced, and scientifically proven plan to change the way you eat—and feel—forever!

The Biodynamics Now! Bookstore

We finally got a start on the Biodynamics Now! bookstore!

The bookstore will be a tool for you to access information about biodynamic food and farming and related strategies for producing quality food as well as books about Spiritual Science.

Your purchases from the Biodynamics Now! bookstore earn small comissions for the Biodynamics Now! podcast project at no cost to you!

In fact, every time you enter through the Biodynamics Now! bookstore, the Biodynamics Now! podcast earns a commission on everything you buy, even if it is not through the Biodynamics Now! shopping cart! (Believe me, we need your support to keep this effort going!)

You can use the link below to visit or shop at the Biodynamic Now! bookstore. If you want to volunteer to help us organize and expand the store, your help would be most welcome. You can contact me, Allan Balliett, at

The Biodynamics Now! Bookstore link

Biodynamics Now! Bookstore

Biodynamics Now Podcast! Episode 010 Craig Siska and the Alan Chadwick On-line Archive

alan chadwick
Alan Chadwick with students in the Covelo Garden, circa 1972

The most obvious quality that separates “organic” farmers and gardeners from chemical farmers and gardeners is an innate respect for the Wisdom of Nature, which is generally arises from a strong sense of the spiritual nature of working with the land and with plants.

Two teachers of note  who arose on these topics in the Seventies were Peter Tomkins and Alan Chadwick.

Tompkins,  and co-author Christopher Byrd, with the publication of The Secret Life of Plants, made Americans aware for the first time that plants were sentient, that if a human being pays attention to them (or plays music to them!), they will respond in positive ways.

Chadwick was already working with these insights and had a unique ability as a teacher to open other people to these new awarenesses in such a way that, in a time when people thought food could only be grown with artificial fertilizers and a lot of pesticide application, individuals were empowered to create gardens without chemicals of such astounding fertility that they out produced conventional farmers by many fold.

There’s more information about Craig and Alan on the next page, but you can download the podcast from iTunes or here  (on a Mac, use your cntl- key to download, on a PC right click. If you simply click, the podcast will play in a new window).

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Biodynamics Now Podcast! Episode 009 Sandor Katz – Master Fermenter


Sandor Katz is a self-described fermentation fetishist. His fermentation explorations developed out of overlapping interests in cooking, nutrition and gardening. He is also an herbalist and an activist and a writer and a builder and a craftsperson and a bicyclist and many other things: a generalist. He is a resident steward of Short Mountain Sanctuary, a queer intentional community deep in the wooded hills of Tennessee. Katz is a native of New York City, a graduate of Brown University, and a former urban planner and policy analyst. He has been living with AIDS for more than a decade and considers fermented foods an important part of his healing. (from Sandor's official biography, circa 2003) Continue reading "Biodynamics Now Podcast! Episode 009 Sandor Katz – Master Fermenter"

Biodynamics Now Podcast! Episode 8: Michael Phillips, Holistic Orchardist

Michael Phillips, author of The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way
Michael Phillips, author of The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way

Michael Phillips is a farmer, writer, carpenter, orchard consultant, and speaker who lives with his wife, Nancy, and daughter, Grace, on Heartsong Farm in northern new Hampshire, where they grow apples and a variety of medicinal herbs. Michael authored The Apple Grower (Chelsea Green 2005) and teamed up with Nancy to write The Herbalist’s Way(Chelsea Green 2005). His Lost Nation Orchard is part of a diversified mountain farm in northern New Hampshire, and he also leads the community orchard movement at

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Biodynamics Now Podcast: Harvey Ussery, author of "The Small-Scale Poultry Flock"

Harvey Ussery
Harvey Ussery, author of "The Small Scale Poultry Flock"


No other book on raising poultry takes an entirely whole-systems approach, or discusses producing homegrown feed and breeding in such detail—it is truly an invaluable and groundbreaking guide that will lead farmers and homesteaders into a new world of self-reliance and enjoyment.– Chelsea Press

Harvey Ussery has been developing his whole-systems poultry husbandry for decades and has been writing about chickens and other fowl for Backyard Poultry since the inception of the magazine in early 2006. He has also written numerous articles for Mother Earth News and Countryside & Small Stock Journal, and has published in American Pastured Poultry Producers Association’s newsletter, Grit!, over the years. Ussery has presented at national and local events on poultry, homesteading, and energy and sustainability issues, and maintains a highly informative website, TheModernHomestead.US. He lives with his wife, Ellen, in Virginia. Continue reading “Biodynamics Now Podcast: Harvey Ussery, author of "The Small-Scale Poultry Flock"”