In January of 2001, BfR supporters and activists held the first annual
Art/Eco-Ag tour to St. Petersburg and Moscow. The first week of the tour featured a week of art events in St. Petersburg arranged by Bay Area artist and teacher Stephanie Tsuchida, as well as meetings with gardeners who have learned Biointensive from our books, from Albina Kochegina's lectures and courses, and at BfR's 3-day workshop in the area in 1998. The second week, coordinated by BfR Director Carol Vesecky, included Moscow and Golden Ring art sightseeing offerings and also a 3-day workshop in Biointensive Sustainable (BI) Mini-farming led by Sasha Avrorin from Novosibirsk in Novo-Sin'kovo, north of Moscow.
The art appreciation portion of the St. Petersburg tour included visits to the world-renowned Hermitage and Russian Museums led by Sergei Katin, a knowledgeable, English-speaking art instructor. American and French artists Pat and Larry Jones, Brigitte Curt, Jim Smyth, Nancy Mercury, and Stephanie Tsuchida, and interpreter Darina Drapkin dropped in to several artists' private studios, made friends, and compared techniques over tea around the samovar. They met students and teachers at an internationally respected children's art school and viewed the children's astonishing paintings. They visited Repino, location of the charming dacha studio of the late 19th- and early 20th-century Russian painter, Ilya Repin.
Carol Vesecky, Albina Kochegina (from St. Petersburg), and Aleksandr Avrorin (from Novosibirsk, Siberia) conducted follow-up meetings with BI gardeners of all ages in St. Petersburg. Aleksandr and Albina also presented an introductory session on Biointensive for Russians new to the method.
During the second week in the Moscow area, the American artists spent two days sightseeing with local Russian guides: City Tour, Kremlin, Tretyakovsky Gallery, Novodevichy Convent, and Abramtsevo and Sergiev Posad in the Golden Ring. Carol Vesecky, Darina Drapkin, and Stephanie Tsuchida drove out to the Educational Methodology Center (EMC), a Ministry of Agriculture short-course college in Novo-Sin'kovo, north of Moscow. There, Aleksandr Avrorin, Director of Biointensive in Siberia, taught a 3-day workshop on Biointensive that also included solar home design. Double-digging and other demonstrations were performed in a warm greenhouse, despite the icy outdoor temperature. And Carol even seized the opportunity to go for a short cross-country ski run, on perfect snow!
Cost of all of this was $2200 for the two weeks, including a small amount of "profit" that will help support future Biointensive workshops. Winter in Russia is especially beautiful, a time when city and country alike are at their most picturesque and hospitality is at its best. This was an unforgettable trip! Please get in touch if you would like to join us in April 2002, when Pennsylvania Grow Biointensive/passive solar greenhouse teacher and farmer Steve Moore will be the workshop presenter. For more information, check out this page; call Carol at 650-856-9751; or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.