Dr. Andrew Lorand provides an insightfulglimpse into the conceptual model ofbiodynamics in his Ph.D. dissertation
A Paradigmatic Analysis
, published at Pennsylvania StateUniversity in 1996 (2).Lorand uses the paradigm model described byEgon Guba in
The Alternative Paradigm Dialog
(3)to clarify the essential beliefs that underpin thepractices of biodynamics. These beliefs fall intothree categories:1.Beliefs about the nature of reality withregard to agriculture (ontological beliefs)2.Beliefs about the nature of the relationshipbetween the practitioner and agriculture(epistemological beliefs); and,3.Beliefs about how the practitioner shouldgo about working with agriculture(methodological beliefs).Lorand's dissertation contrasts the ontological,epistemological, and methodoligical beliefs offour agricultural paradigms: TraditionalAgriculture, Industrial Agriculture, OrganicAgriculture, and Biodynamic Agriculture. Asummary of these four paradigms can be foundin Tables 1
4, Appendix III.
The Biodynamic Preparations
A distinguishing feature of biodynamic farmingis the use of nine biodynamic preparationsdescribed by Steiner for the purpose ofenhancing soil quality and stimulating plantlife. They consist of mineral, plant, or animalmanure extracts, usually fermented and appliedin small proportions to compost, manures, thesoil, or directly onto plants, after dilution andstirring procedures called dynamizations.The original biodynamic (BD) preparations arenumbered 500
508. The BD 500 preparation(horn-manure) is made from cow manure(fermented in a cow horn that is buried in the soilfor six months through autumn and winter) andis used as a soil spray to stimulate root growthand humus formation. The BD 501 preparation(horn-silica) is made from powdered quartz(packed inside a cow horn and buried in the soilfor six months through spring and summer) andapplied as a foliar spray to stimulate and regulategrowth. The next six preparations, BD 502
507,are used in making compost.Finally, there is BD preparation 508 which isprepared from the silica-rich horsetail plant(
) and used as a foliar spray tosuppress fungal diseases in plants.The BD compost preparations are listed below:
No. 502 Yarrow blossoms (
No. 503 Chamomile blossoms (
No. 504 Stinging nettle (whole plant in fullbloom) (
No. 505 Oak bark (
No. 506 Dandelion flowers (
No. 507 Valerian flowers (
Biodynamic preparations are intended to helpmoderate and regulate biological processes aswell as enhance and strengthen the life (etheric)forces on the farm. The preparations are used inhomeopathic quantities, meaning they producean effect in extremely diluted amounts. As anexample, just 1/16th ounce
a level teaspoon
of each compost preparation is added toseven- to ten-ton piles of compost.
Biodynamic compost is a fundamentalcomponent of the biodynamic method; it servesas a way to recycle animal manures and organicwastes, stabilize nitrogen, and build soil humusand enhance soil health. Biodynamic compost isunique because it is made with BD preparations502
507. Together, the BD preparations and BDcompost may be considered the cornerstone ofbiodynamics. Here again, “biological” and“dynamic” qualities are complementary:biodynamic compost serves as a source ofhumus in managing soil health and biodynamiccompost emanates energetic frequencies tovitalize the farm.