Biodynamic agriculture is everything that I thought farming would be. I’ve always idealized the image of life on a farm, rising early and working hard, living simply, naturally and in harmony with some of nature’s most basic cycles. Unfortunately the more I learned about the world and the gross commercialization that has bastardized the agriculture industry, the more disillusioned and jaded I become. The profound, unconscionable and barbaric cruelty towards the animals that give their lives so that we may eat is a case study of the human race at very close to its most disgusting and unnatural. The application of our vast intelligence toward exploitation of workers, the tradeoff of quality for quick profits, and the mindset which addresses issues of vast inefficiency by throwing increasing amounts of resources at them makes me very close to being ashamed of my own species.
On the horizon, however, there still exists an alternative methodology that shines through like a ray of light emerging from a storm. The term “biodynamic” encompasses everything that commercial, “Big Agriculture” is not. It is honest, it is harmonious, it is sustainable and it is responsible. It is the only kind of farming there is in the true sense of the word, and it heartens me greatly to learn of its existence.
Basics of Biodynamic Farming
Biodynamic agriculture goes beyond simple organic farming. Organic simply means that no chemical are used at all, that the farm takes steps to ensure sustainability, and that the food used to feed all the livestock is organic as well. Unfortunately, not all organic livestock farming is humane.
Biodynamic farming treats all aspects of the farm system equally and with respect. The emphasis is on the balance of the subtle relationships existing among all components of the farm, including the animals, the soil, and the plants. The main principle of biodynamic agriculture is that the entire each individual farm is a self-nourishing system in which the components all contribute to sustainability through their natural functions, and wherein no external influence is required. This is currently still an ideology insofar that nutrients are inevitably lost due to food being harvested and sold elsewhere.
Founder of Biodynamic Agriculture
Developed in 1927 by Rudolph Steiner in what is present-day Poland, biodynamic farming began its life as a series of eight lectures that he gave. Local farmers had noticed the negative impact the use of chemical fertilizers was having on the quality of livestock and crops, and also the condition of the soil, so Steiner used the opportunity to put forth his ideas on biodynamics. A research group was founded in order to explore his concepts and their benefits on health of soil, plants and animals.
Currently, biodynamics is practiced worldwide in over fifty different countries, and the farms and gardens using this method receive certification primarily from the Demeter International certification agency. Biodynamics are increasingly on the rise in modern society, which can only be viewed as a positive thing. Applied not only to farming, the principles of biodynamics have also been used in gardens, vineyards and the practice of beekeeping. As public awareness and concern for the environment continues to mount, I have high hopes that biodynamics will take over as the predominant system of agriculture in the world – as well it should be.