What is Biodynamic Farming?

Posted on January 17, 2007 by Sarmaad

Biodynamic farming has been practised in over 50 countries on all 5 continents for at least 80 years. "Bio" comes from the Greek word which translates as "life" and "dynamic" means a moving force. It is a science of life-forces, a recognition of the basic principles at work in nature and an approach to agriculture which takes these principles into account in trying to bring about balance and healing. It is part of the work of Rudolf Steiner, known as anthroposophy. Through anthroposophy individuals are able to find their own relationship with the world and nature.

Steiner propagated the idea of the "self-contained" farm where there would be just the right number of animals to provide manure for soil fertility and that these animals would then, in turn, be fed from the farm. One of biodynamics fundamental efforts is to build up stable humus in the soil through composting. Vegetable waste, manure, leaves, food scraps, all contain precious vitality which can be put to good use in building up the soil.

Steiner introduced what are known as biodynamic preparations, i.e. naturally occurring plant and animal materials that are combined in a specific way in certain seasons of the year and placed in compost piles. These preparations contain concentrated forces which are used to organize the elements within the compost piles. On completion of the process the resulting preparations are "medicines" for the Earth.

One of the preparations is used on the earth before planting to stimulate the soil life and the other is used on the leaves of the plants to encourage their capacity to receive light. The positive results of these preparations has been scientifically proven. By understanding the natural rythmns of the sun, moon, planets and the stars we can time our ground preparation, sowing, cultivating and harvesting to the optimize the quality of the crops we grow.

Weeds and pests are very useful indicators of imbalances in soil, plants and animals; and the aim of the biodynamic method is to use such indicators in a positive way. Pest and disease control is generally managed by developing the farm as a total organism. When specific pest and weed control is required, products are made from the weeds and pests themselves.

Biodynamic farming means farming in a way which cares for the environment, without relying upon synthetic chemicals and other unnatural interventionist approaches to farming and food production.

Everything in nature reveals something about it's essential character; it is therefore necessary that we learn to understand the language of nature!

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