What is Biodynamic Farming?

The essence of Biodynamics

A biodynamic farm functions as a strong, self-sustaining and vibrant single organism that recognizes and respects the basic principles at work in nature. It is a complete system in which all the different components of the farm are seen as parts of a greater whole. With farm animals at the centre a self-sustaining, balanced and harmonious environment is the result. Special manure and herb-based preparations are applied to the fields and compost to enhance and stimulate the microbiological life in the soil and improve fertility. These have been shown to significantly improve the health and well being of soil, plant and animal as well as enhancing the vitality, flavour and maintaining qualities of the produce for the benefit of the consumer. With the soil sequestering up to 25% more carbon than conventional farming methods, the health of the planet is also cared for. Biodynamic is a sound basis for sustainable food production.

Further to this, the biodynamic farmer recognizes that the life of a farm is exposed to wider as well as internal farm-based influences. The more subtle rhythms associated with the sun, the moon and the planets form the basis of an annually produced planting calendar. This guides the farmer towards appropriate times for cultivation and sowing for maximum quantity and quality.

The result is a rich and diverse farm built on sound organic principles that is embedded and sensitized to its surroundings. It produces food with such an individual quality that, as with wine, it can be described as having the 'terroir' of the farm – the sense of the place where it was grown. (taken from the BDA web site).

What Is Biodynamic Agriculture?
An Introduction

Key concept
Conventional agriculture is always focused on increasing the yield of the plant. Biodynamic agriculture is more interested in the vitality of the plant, its flavour and quality.

In a nutshell…
Biodynamic practices don’t necessarily promise bigger, larger pumpkins or higher yielding cows. It looks instead at the quality of the food we eat. The food we eat needs to support not just the physical body but a living, sensing and thinking human being - the whole human being. If you consider the average broccoli, for example, it is quite easy to find out its nutritional value, how much carbohydrates, minerals, protein etc it contains. Conventional agriculture will make sure that these elements are in the plant. However the interest is always in higher and higher yields. Furthermore, the source of these elements is mineral – it is dead matter. In biodynamic (BD) growing we are interested in the vitality of the broccoli, its flavour and quality.

Because it is the vitality of the plant that is most important in terms of BD growing, two aspects are of particular concern. Firstly, the source of the elements that support the plant’s growth come from the living realm, from compost. Secondly, the compost is enriched by special preparations which are a result of conscious spiritual human work. In biodynamic agriculture it can be said that in the growth of the broccoli the whole universe is involved… and this is not far from the truth.

Two other important concepts for biodynamic agriculture are those of expansion and contraction. Plants want to grow and essentially they will grow with the aim to flower, bear seed and die. Growth forces in the plant govern the quantity of the produce, that is the yield.

Reproduction and bearing fruit (or any other edible part) is a force of contraction and will determine quality. In order for the plant to be healthy, these two forces need to be in balance.