There is so much we don't know about the vast natural world. Nature works in ways that we can't even begin to fathom. In my own journey of connecting to the world around me, and I've been introduced to so many new ideas and innovative practices that give back to mother nature. Along with recycling, composting, and creating my own green space to encourage biodiversity, biodynamic farming is something I've just recently taken an interest in. Before I hop on my soapbox, I'd like to mention that I live in an apartment in the city, with limited resources, and not a whole lot of time on my hands. I'm not in any way coming from a place of privilege or even experience in the realm of Biodynamic agriculture and farming. It's a practice that I've been called to explore, and feel it is important to share what I've learned so far, and why I believe it's truly the most beneficial thing we as inhabitants can offer our planet.
A biodynamic farm is a living organism. An integrated whole. It can work in any landscape, with thoughtful planning and care. The goal is to restore natural areas by nurturing the health and diversity of the whole ecosystem but still treating and recognizing that system as a single living thing. There are many steps one must take in order to create such an organism out of, the all too prevalent, "modern" farming landscape, but with biodynamic preparations (both compost and spraying methods) you can form a dynamic relationship between the plants, soil, water, air, critters, and cosmos to develop a healthy, balanced, unified ecosystem. By accessing the full spectrum of nutrients, farms become more resilient to pests, diseases, and extreme climate conditions.
When agriculture became focused on large scale production in the 18th century, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers were being produced and introduced to farmers. Inevitably, with these chemical additives, farmers quickly began to notice a decline in the quality of soil, livestock, and crop health. It was with the help of Rudolph Steiner that farmers sought and found answers on how they could renew the vitality of their farms.
Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) was the developer of the biodynamic approach to farming. He was an Austrian visionary, highly trained scientist, social reformer, architect, teacher, author, a popular philosopher of his time, and was one of the first public figures to warn that the widespread use of chemical fertilizers would lead to the subsequent “devitalization of food.” He was also the first to bring the perspective of the farm as a single, self-sustaining organism that thrives through biodiversity via the integration of crops and livestock, alongside the creation of a closed-loop system of fertility.
"Behold, I make all things new." That was Rudolf Steiner's purpose in all that he did, to plant the seeds, provide the foundation, for cultural renewal. He knew, perhaps better than we do, that the renewal that he called for, that he worked for so desperately, would require a very different basis of nutrition than can never be achieved through chemical farming. So it all demands new approaches: to science, to our inner development, to our relation to nature, to our handling of manures and composts, to creating preparation naturally.”
-Hilmar Moore, Article No. 214.
In his ideas and practices, he brought forth an unconventional, unique, and comprehensive approach to soil, plant, animal, and human health through his recognition of the importance of the healthy interplay of cosmic and earthly influences. With this knowledge, he developed a set of homeopathic preparations used by biodynamic farmers on soil, compost, and plants that help build up the farm’s innate immune system and vital forces.
As great-grand-children of the agricultural revolution that paved the way for the industrial revolution, society has become reliant upon the convenience that industrialized agriculture has created. But at what cost?
It seems that the cost is the health of humans, animals, rural farmland, community, local economies, and basically... our whole planet. Industrial Agriculture is the dominant food production method in the United States. It’s characterized by large-scale monoculture, heavy use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides, and meat production in CAFOs (Confined animal feeding operations.). The “technological miracle,” we’ve been sold is more of an ecological disaster.
Connectivity and togetherness are things we as humans not only crave but need to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. It's in our DNA, as much a need for water, food, and warmth. Our farmlands also need a natural connection to sustain themselves. Biodynamic farming provides land just that, a sustainable and healthy life. It is simply farming, in service of life. Working with Nature, instead of against it. By diving into the "unconventional," and applying these diverse ideas and techniques, biodynamic farmers around the world have taken a leap of faith and established socially responsible farms that produce organic products of extraordinary health and the highest of qualities.
I believe it is our duty to be assiduous in our treatment to the many blessings Earth provides us, and to break free from the ego-centered ignorance of those before us. We have been given the gift of life on Earth, and she is precious and asks nothing in return of us beyond respect.
Educational Resources: http://www.spiritualfoodcsa.org/why-biodynamic-food/quotes-about-biodynamics#:~:text=1)%20%E2%80%9CAccording%20to%20Steiner%20(,the%20particulars%20of%20bodily%20existence.%E2%80%9D