Motueka Rudolf Steiner Farm School, New Zealand

‘The Motueka Rudolf Steiner School’s visionary plan for their regenerative farm based  school offers a golden opportunity for the  local community to invest in this ‘cathedral project’ as a national, if not global,  educational exemplar. This leading edge  school will help children develop the resilience, creativity, leadership and practical know how which are sorely needed to build a more prosperous, earthcaring and convivial world.’ Martin Large,

Peter Garlick of Motueka School writes that, ‘ Martin is a publisher, community land trust enabler for housing and farms, and  founder of Hawthorn Press.  Martin is in New Zealand on a lecture and study tour from Britain. He gave a public talk in Nelson and visited the Motueka Rudolf Steiner School and learned about the new farm school project. ‘

Martin’s talk in Nelson was titled “Shock Capitalism or Commonwealth”.   He spoke about commercialism and the economic sphere and how it had captured the political and cultural spheres of society.  Education, government and cultural life needed independence to flourish.  Martin cataloged many problems in the cultural and political spheres that arose after neo-liberalism and market forces gained dominance.

Martin stated that the Market State has proved good for the few and bad for the many, and asked how do we transition to something better.  “These are burning questions we all must face, if are to leave a more equal, free, prosperous, and earth caring world for those who come after us.”  Martin’s next book, Free, Equal and Mutual is due out in December 2017.

Martin advocates for people to take back power and put strategic assets such as productive land into community ownership.  He promotes Land Trusts, organic farming, co-housing and social business.  He engaged the audience in his talk and identified local issues and encouraged other people in the room to get involved and help.


Social Threefolding and Commonweal

Britain is in a constitutional, political, economic,cultural and environmental crisis-triggered by Brexit, by global warming, by living beyond its means, by the loss of trust in government over the 2003 Iraq war lies, by rising poverty and inequality. We see the erosion  of public services such as providing affordable social housing,  and the privatisation of public services such as education and the national health service. We see government and business leaders pushing ‘the market’ as a magic silver bullet solution,  amidst ‘market’ and ‘government’ failure’. And sometime soon there may be another unforseen financial crisis.

Behind these phenomena we see the rule of the rich, or plutocracy. For example, according to Oxfam, just 62 people own over half the world’s wealth. Many members of the plutocracy may also be kleptocrats, wanting to own more and more, not to invest in the productive economy or to give their wealth away for the common good, for the arts, education or the environment. You can also see the rule of the corporations, the corporatocracy, and the bankocracy who with the plutocrats have largely captured our government through campaign donations, through relentless lobbying for tax breaks and favourable regulations, through the revolving doors between corporations and government, and the capture of the media, education and of culture which ‘delivers’ people’s minds by ‘manufacturing consent.’

One way to destabilise the powerful partnership between government and the corporations is to  assert the countervailing cultural and normative power of civil society and cultural organisations-a whole rainbow of free standing churches, associations, unions, social movements, charities, communities, educational, health, environmental, media, arts and science organisations, NGO’s,   families, communities, voluntary organisations. economic-political-cultural-systems

When government and business are confronted by civil society, it upsets the cosy  business/government marriage  with a three way dynamic, where the boundaries between the business/economic, the government/political and  the civil society/cultural sectors need  respecting. Hence Thomas Jefferson once saying that, ‘There needs to be a wall(ie boundary) between politics and religion’. Hence President Eisenhower wanting to reassert democratic control in 1959 by unpicking ‘the military, industrial, government complex ‘which had blurred the boundaries between government and business.

Just as the US founding fathers wrote a Constitution that was based on the threefold separation of powers between the legislature, the judiciary and the executive or government, so Rudolf Steiner proposed in 1917 that society was not ‘unform’ in texture, but emerged from the interaction of three distinct countervailing social powers, each with their own dynamic narrative and unique contribution. These are the economy,  the state or politics,  and culture.  So Steiner thought that running government as a  business, or running a school  or family as a business was a bad idea. Equally running a business like church, or government like a school or cultural organosationwas not a good idea.

So social threefolding can help unpick the muddles we  now see….by helping undertstand healthy boundaries and fences, how to build healthy partnerships betwen the three sectors to solve ‘wicked’ issues like global warming, how to get ‘the market’ out of government and ‘things money just cant buy’, and how to free politics from business and plutocratic capture using campaign funding and overwhelming lobbying..and more… (We have the best democracy money can buy’….)

Here is an article which develops social threefolding further….






US Lecture and Research Tour :Building Commonweal 1st-2nd November 2016 Dates and Venues


November 2016 US Lecture and Research Tour by Martin Large

 Hope, Fear and Building Commonweal: Rudolf Steiner’s Threefold Vision for Society

 What social future do we want and how do we get there?

This lecture and research trip is an opportunity to learn from positive US social, economic and political develoments, meet people similary engaged,   and also share questions arising  with those  working practically with Rudolf Steiner’s social ideas and vision for a threefold commonwealth or society.

Visiting the USA in October/November 2003 on a Winston Churchill travelling fellowship, I was inspired by New York guerrilla gardeners and by community land trust pioneers across the USA such as the Fellowship community at Spring Valley, Burlington Vermont CLT and Temple Wilton Biodynamic Farm. This led to working with others on  CLT National Demonstratioon Projects to help set up many UK community land trusts for social housing, changing UK law, innovative co-op community financing and farm land trusts in Britain, including the Biodynamic Land Trust.

At a time of great change and challenge, amidst the mess of market fundamentalism, I will ask, ‘How does Rudolf Steiner’s dynamic social thinking inspire us to build a more free, equal, mutual and earthcaring commonwealth…… One biodynamic farm, vibrant school and social business at a time?’ … However the starting point is, ’ What are your burning social questions?”

I work as a facilitator and live in Stroud, UK. Books include, Social Ecology (1981), Futures that Work (2002), Common Wealth (2010), which draws on Steiner’s social threefolding to map an emerging commonwealth society. Asked when working in civil war torn former Yugoslavia in the 1990’s, ‘What, then, is the alternative to communism and capitalism?’ I have been action researching this question ever since..

Dates, Venues and Times of Talks and Workshop

3 November; Anthroposophical Society  138 W15th St   New York NY 10011 . New York City 7pm: Hope, Fear and Building Commonweal: Rudolf Steiner’s Threefold Vision for Society-How do we get there?

More information:

4/5the November talk/workshop in Spring Valley: Hope, Fear and Building Commonweal: Rudolf Steiner’s Threefold Vision for Society: How do we get there?

More information:

Sunday 6 : Restoring Hope: 

Rudolf Steiner’s Social Vision of a Threefold Commonwealth: 7pm Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, Music Room

518-672-4465, x223 


Thursday 9: Temple Wilton, New Hampshire evening talk Hope, Fear and Building Commonweal: Rudolf Steiner’s Threefold Vision for Society and Community Farm/Land Trusts


Friday, Nov 11, 7:30pm – 9:15pm; Rudolf Steiner College, Sacramento: Evening Talk: Hope, Fear and Building Commonweal: Rudolf Steiner’s Vision for a Threefold Commonwealth- What social future do we want and How do we get there?

Saturday Nov 12, 9:30am – 4:30pm , Rudolf Steiner College: Threefolding Conference

2016 Biodynamic Conference: Tierra Viva: Farming the Living Earth

November 16-20, Santa Fe, NM