Biodynamic agriculture is an ethical, ecologically sound and principled approach to farming and gardening – one that understands the deep and undeniable connection between the energetic world and physical reality. Biodynamics depends upon a fundamental understanding that all things – climate and culture, people, plants, soil, animals, insects and birds, the Earth and the planets of the entire solar system – are interconnected and interrelated. The farm, the orchard and the garden are nurtured as holistic, self-sustaining, single systems that bloom and flourish through biodiversity.
Organic and biodynamic practices are similar in many ways. Both promote healthy land and soil, good nutrition, the ethical treatment of animals and the well-being of people and the planet. Both shun the use of harmful chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. The farming of GMO crops (genetically modified organisms) as well as the use of antibiotics, growth hormones and GMO feed in animal husbandry are all strictly forbidden in both systems, yet biodynamics goes even further.
Biodynamics came into being thanks to the incredible insight and intuition of Rudolph Steiner, a magnificent visionary, philosopher, environmentalist, architect and social reformer. Born in Austria in 1861, Steiner was a great scientist and clairvoyant who possessed an innate understanding of the interconnectedness of humans, animals, insects, nature and the planets. From early on, Steiner believed that the harmful and unnatural practices of western civilization would eventually cause great injury and destruction if it did not foster an understanding of the connection between the spiritual and the physical. Biodynamic agriculture does just that! Biodynamic farms, wineries and gardens are whole, living, well-integrated systems nurtured by farmers and gardeners who strive to maintain the balance of every single element of their land, including the people involved in its care and very importantly, the essence, or spirit of the entire system as a whole, single unit.
Natural, living, biodiverse ecosystems are the inspiration for the biodynamic farmer who honors the ways of nature’s powerful energies and rhythms. Diversity of plants and animals and a preference for natural, open-pollination, non-GMO, and heirloom seeds all contribute to the beauty of the biodynamic farm. This wise and wonderful way of farming can be applied anywhere and anytime food, flowers, trees and plants are grown and animals are raised for food.
The Demeter Certified Biodynamic® standard for certification was established in 1928. They manage the certification process for more than 5,000 farms and 400,000 acres across 60 countries. Within the United States, biodynamic certification is managed by “Demeter USA” (www.demeter-usa.org). The Demeter trademark on the label guarantees that the product is certified to a uniform standard. They take sole responsibility for ensuring adherence to, and the protection of the integrity of Biodynamic Agriculture.
Here’s a fun fact: By applying Steiner’s methods, United States biodynamic farmers in the 1980s came up with the awesome idea of the now-famous CSA – Community Supported Agriculture.