Ideas introduced in the 20th Century byRudolf Steiner are now emerging as someof the most original and timelycontributions to the modern world.Inaddition to Biodynamic Agriculture,examples of Steiner’s living legacy includethe Waldorf/Steiner school movement;Anthroposophical medicine;the Camphillmovement for living and working withdevelopmentally disabled individuals;anew freedom of design in architecture;andoriginal contributions to fields as vastlydistinct as the arts and economics.Over the next four issues we willinvestigate Biodynamic Agriculture – along practised but little publicised methodof organic agriculture,that is growing in itsrecognition and use due to its ability toproduce exceptional quality produce withminimal inputs!
Biodynamics – What is it!
Biodynamics is gaining increasedattention for its ability to restore soilfertility and produce high quality food.Once a little known method of organicagriculture,it is now practised in over 30countries,bringing the farmers that chooseto use it good returns both on the land andin the local and world markets.According to Hugh Lovel,author of “ABiodynamic Farm”and a BiodynamicFarmer of 25 years,who recently touredAustralia,“Biodynamics is known for itsexcellence.One grower gets good crops of high protein while another grows the mostfragrant,delicious,fruits or herbs.Another’s flowers amaze with theirvibrant coloursand thedurability of their blossoms.Biodynamicscan make thelabour side of farming seemcreative and fun,and instead of the worries of health risks andenvironmentaldegradationthere is the joy of working andlearning withnature!”So what is atthe essence of Biodynamics?It is anorganic farmingmethod suited toall types of farmproduction that is geared towardsimproving and regenerating the soil andoverall farm integrity through the use of aunique range of Biodynamic preparationswhich stimulate soil micro-life activity andatmospheric balance.These specialpotentised preparations are used in smallquantities over a large area andconsistently achieve dramatic results in arelatively short period.Experience both in Australia andinternationally has shown that the use of these preparations make natural bacterialand mineral processes found in an organicsystem work much faster.Previouslymarginal farming land has been turnedinto highly productive fertile ground in aslittle as two years.One of the hardest things to grasp withBiodynamics is the small amount of inputsthat are used to achieveresults! However,this is inkeeping with the principle of fluid dynamics that amicroscopic change at a pointcan effect large scale changesin the medium.These specialpreparations are one of themain features thatdistinguishes biodynamicfarming from organics.In the process of learning tofarm biodynamically,one of the most important skills thefarmer develops is a greaterawareness of nature and theutmost respect for both the visible andinvisible forces that shape life.
A Brief History
Biodynamics was first described in 1924by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner,after requests from farmers,who wereexperiencing an increasing degenerationin seed strains,cultivated plants andanimal health.During a series of 8 lectures,Steinergave the farmers recipes for nine special“preparations”(500-508),which are thefoundation of Biodynamic Practice.(In thenext issue we will explain these in moredetail.) These lectures are now compiled inthe book known as “The AgricultureCourse”by Rudolf Steiner.Some 80 years on,there are thousandsof Biodynamic Farms worldwide,producing everything from flowers,herbs,wool,olives,grapes,fruit,vegetables,grains,beef,poultry and even cosmetics.Internationally,Demeter is the mostcommon certification symbol of Biodynamics,however in Australia we arefortunate to have two other certifiers whoaccredit to National Biodynamicstandards,BFA (The Biological Farmers of Australia) and NASAA (NationalAssociation for Sustainable Agriculture).The increasing interest in Biodynamicsis part of a general move to organic andenvironmentally sustainable agriculture.Biodynamics is gaining strongerrecognition each year for its contributionsto better soils,quality food,healthy plants,healthy and contented animals,andenthusiastic farmers and consumers.Both farmers and consumers enjoy thefact that Biodynamics gives that extraedge of putting something back into ouroverstressed and tired soils whilst giving asuperior quality product.We are fortunate in Australia to now
BIODYNAMIC AGRICULTUREBIODYNAMIC AGRICULTURE
A phenomena coming of age!
By Michelle Bell-Turner Award winning BD Paris Creek Dairy Farm,SA. Left = conventional,Middle = control and Right = Biodynamic
Town and Country Farmer • Winter 2003