We believe we all owe gratitude to the Earth and should act as earth stewards, regardless if we are landowners or apartment dwellers. Indigenous folk and agrarian societies understood the importance of a right relationship to the living earth. We would do well to remember their words.
Modern industrialized society has over harvested the gifts and resources of the earth without prudently providing for conditions of renewal. We are currently experiencing conditions of great imbalance.
Rudolf Steiner introduced Biodynamic Agriculture already in the early twentieth century to heal and enliven the being of the Earth herself. Biodynamic practices are a key to restoring and balancing Her system of functions. Human beings must reestablish a conscious relationship to the earth so life can continue to unfold in harmony with the wisdom in nature.
Biodynamic agriculture is a specific form of organic agriculture which, as defined by the Demeter ecological association, views the farm as “a self-contained, self-sustaining ecosystem responsible for creating and maintaining its individual health and vitality without any external or unnatural additions. […] Soil, plants, animals and humans together create this image of a holistic living organism.”
The use of resilient crops and natural predators negate the need for external inputs, such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Biodynamic agriculture means closed nutrient cycles, in which we raise our own livestock to produce compost, grow cereals to feed the livestock, and uses crop rotation to enhance soil fertility.
Cycles of the moon as well as the other planets play an important role in the practices of biodynamic agriculture. Biodynamic practices improve the vitality or life force, as well as the taste of food. For this reason biodynamic methods are increasingly utilized for growing wine grapes throughout the world. Biodynamic practices are also solidly based on time-tested farming practices.
There is no magic to biodynamic agriculture that enables us to skip any steps in proper soil, water, and land conservation management. Good farming practices begin with providing the soil with what it needs to thrive and thereby create the right conditions for food crops with high nutritional value.
Healthy soils with a high content of solid organic matter increase the water holding capacity, decrease water consumption, and inhibit erosion. Compared to business-as-usual agricultural production, biodynamic agriculture’s increased energy efficiency, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and increased soil carbon sequestration, make it a superb tool to mitigate climate change. Resilient crops, crop rotation, and diversification methods such as agro-forestry, mean that the risk of crop failure is minimized. Intercropping and the absence of chemical inputs increase biodiversity. Moreover, lower expenditure on external inputs makes financial resources available to cover the costs of higher employment, thus promoting rural livelihoods. Biodynamic agricultural methods are also healthier as they don’t expose farmers, animals, soil, air, or surface water to hazardous chemicals.
First we serve the soil, then, the soil will serve us by providing us with food that nourishes not only our physical bodies, by also stimulates the forces of life within us that penetrate the physical body and creates life, health and harmony.
Healing and Balance are key principles that stand behind our work in the field, with the animals, in the apiary, and in the garden.