Biodynamics: Beyond Organic
Modern science sees life as nothing but a chemical machine. This gross misunderstanding of nature and human beings leads to many mistakes and problems, both social and environmental. Modern science is starting to show that life is much more than chemicals. There are many invisible forces that influence the growth and quality of plants and animals. To have truly sustainable agriculture, these non-physical forces must be acknowledged and worked with.
The oldest proven scientific alternative to chemical-intensive farming is biodynamic agriculture. Most people know what organic farming is, but only a few know what biodynamic agriculture is. Biodynamic comes from two Greek words, “bios” meaning life and “dynamis” meaning energy. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), a well-known scientist and philosopher in Europe, launched the bio-dynamic movement in 1924 with the series of lecture in agriculture. Among the unique gifts of the bio-dynamic approach is to help farmers understand and manage the life energies or formative life forces that pervade nature and the universe. The focus approach is to develop and sustain a healthy soil organism using manure, crop-rotation, cover-cropping and special preparations. The farm is considered as an entire living organism, with the farmer and his practices as playing a vital role to the farm ecosystem and sees plants as more than chemicals that influenced by invisible, non-physical energies.
Like organic farming, there is no use of chemicals, pesticides or fungicides. However, biodynamics goes beyond organic farming. It treats the soil as a living organism and ensures the health of the soil always. Thus, biodynamic farming looks at the farm in terms of forces that affect the soil and the farm, processes that go into farming, rather than just the substances that are put into the soil or plants. Biodynamic agriculture makes use of compost (manure from animals already in the farm), cover cropping, ecological pest management, and special preparations that revitalize life forces, stimulate the roots, and help in the production of soil microorganisms and humus. These preparations are homeopathic substances made from herbs, minerals, plant, and animal, at very minuscule portions. Aside from the special preparations, bio-dynamic agriculture follows daily, monthly and seasonal patterns of nature, such as the phases of the moon for sowing, fertilizing and harvesting.