Biodynamics

“Teach me to pray and to bless you for all

  For the ripening fruit and the fading in fall

  For the freedom to breath

  and to sense and to hold

  and to know and to wish

  and to fly and to fold.

Teach me to sing you the songs of your praise

for the cycling of moon and the opening days

so that each of my moments for ever be new,

so that each of my moments will always be true,

so that each of my moments I walk here with you.”

                                                                               ~Leah Goldberg

What is Biodynamic agriculture?

Whenever someone asks me “what is biodynamic agriculture” I need to think for a minute before I answer, and the answer is somewhat different each time, depending on the individual that asks the question, the situation and my mood.

When a farmer looks at his land and asks “What does this land need? What wants to happened here?”, it takes a while before the answer comes. The answer will be somewhat different, depending on the farmer that asks the question and the particular situation of the farm. This is why every biodynamic farm is different and has its own individuality.

The individuality of the farm is a core concept in biodynamic agriculture. The farm is looked upon as one organism  (this is where the term “organic agriculture” comes from). Rudolf Steiner, introduced the concept of the farm as an “independent individual, a self-contained entity” early on in his 8 lectures on agriculture that form the foundation of biodynamic agriculture (June 1924). As a biodynamic farm, we strive to produce everything the farm needs from within the farm itself.

We use ecological practices like crop rotation, making and applying compost, cover-crops and apply plant based teas (stinging nettle, horse tail). We grow our vegetables and medicinal plants in permanent raised beds with minimal machinery usage. Not to diminish the importance of those practices to enhance the fertility of the soil, they form only an “outer”  or physical shell. Biodynamics bring an additional dimension to agriculture by recognizing that life on earth is a reflection of the cosmos. In the same way that one cannot explain why the compass needle points to the north by looking for the answer within the needle itself, to understand how plants grow and how animals develop on earth, we must take into account influences from the whole universe.

The biodynamic preparations aim to harness cosmic forces to moderate and regulate biological processes on Earth. The six compost preparations are used to improve the quality and life forces of the finished compost. The “horn manure” preparation is used as spray to promote root growth, humus formation and support the plants growth. The “horn silica” preparation is used as foliage spray to enhance the plants capacity to receive light, cosmic force and support the plants maturation process.

Above all, Biodynamics is a spiritual path.  It is a practical application of the spiritual world view known as Anthroposophy. This means a shift of the way the farmer perceives himself, the farm and the relationship he has with his farm. This shift is very subtle and might not be apparent to the outside observer, but it is the true essence of biodynamic agriculture.