Biodynamic Agriculture A Conscious Choice
There are always two aspects to the conversion of the farm, smallholding or other. There are of course the changes to land itself but no less important and perhaps even more importantly is the change that the farmer will have to go through. There are two entities being converted and it begins with the human being making a conscious choice to want to work biodynamically, biologically, or within the sphere of the living. This impulse must always begin with the person. This is often a challenging time both inwardly and outwardly for that person who might be said to be ‘in conversion’. The general description of that change one is embarking on is that one is developing ones’ attitude and positioning to the phenomena, as they exist and not as normally a purely intellectual or academic approach to outer materialistic circumstances. This perspective goes towards developing what might be described as a “dependable instinct.”
This would be the mode of being of the traditional ‘old world’ farmer. This farmer is someone who is in touch with him/herself and who is equally in touch with his or her natural environment and they always respected themselves and the world as a representation of the world of the spirit. He/she is someone who is working in harmony with nature and is sensitive to things like the weather, the positioning of the moon and planets, the seasons, natural rhythms and orders and even subtleties like soil moisture content. The farmer, by developing this dependable instinct, is enabled to make decisions for the farm that are dependable in their outcomes.
Biodynamic agriculture, or Biodynamics comprises an ecological and sustainable system of agricultural production, particularly of nutritionally dense food for humans. Biodynamic production respects all four kingdoms of nature brought about through creation. It is based on the teachings of Dr. Rudolf Steiner, particularly the eight lectures given by him to farmers in Koberwitz, Silesia, Germany in 1924 (nowadays Poland), shortly before his death. At the time Steiner believed that the introduction of chemical farming was becoming a major problem. Farmers found that seeds had dramatically less vitality and that land that had previously grown the same crops year after year now had to rotate crops in order to avoid problems. Plants which formerly gathered their own nutrients and minerals from the earth now had become dependent on the dead chemical fertilizers for their minerals and as humans ate these weakened plants they showed symptoms of loosing their will. The term “biologically dynamic” or “biodynamic” was however not invented by Steiner, but by his adherents. The term biodynamic is taken from the Greek words bios meaning life and dynamis meaning energy. Hence biodynamic farming refers to “working with the energies which create and maintain life.” It includes many of the ideas of organic farming (but predates the term) and has as a core focus anthroposophical ideas of the soil and the life on and in it as a living, sentient system.
Bio-Dynamic Agriculture works from two poles!
Firstly is the importance of developing and maintaining sustainable soil fertility and soil health. Second, is the recognition that there is a relationship between plant growth and the cosmic rhythms of the Moon and the planetary movements. The Sun, and its’ relative relationships with the Zodiac constellations is also a contributor to manifest agriculture. So in biodynamic agriculture we have the polarities of terrestrial and cosmic forces. The cosmic activities work strongly through to a living soil and so on into the plant. The working together of these two poles is what brings about healthy plants. Biodynamic farming is far more complex than just planting crops organically. There is an integrated relationship between plant, animal and soil that must be understood. Biodynamics 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 to bring about balance and healing. In a very real way, then, Biodynamics is an ongoing path of knowledge rather than an assemblage of methods and techniques.
Biodynamic Agriculture is a holistic approach and practice by which the practitioner brings the substances and forces of life and nature into quality and sustainable production.