Biodynamics is a massive topic, one very hard to distil down. I asked Rob from The Warrah Society Biodynamic Farm to give me the simple low down.
The Global Garden journey will give us lots of opportunities for a deeper understanding of Biodynamics, but for now let’s start at the start.
In 1924, German farmers came to the founder of Weleda, Rudolf Steiner with their concerns about increasing use of chemicals deteriorating the quality of their soil. The philosophies Steiner shared with them during this time became the principles of Biodynamic farming that are so popular today.
These principles are fundamentally very simple.
‘Less chemicals going into the earth means less chemicals going into human beings.’
What is Biodynamic farming?
Biodynamics is a farm-forward approach to healing the planet through conscious agriculture. It’s about nature helping nature by taking the art of farming and enriching it with a philosophical and spiritual meaning. With the purpose to create ecological, social, and economic sustainability.
‘Biodynamic farming is much more than a method, it is a belief system — a holistic way to collaborate with the earth.’
Rob – Warrah Farm.
It’s agriculture being performed with the relationship between humans and the earth is at its core. Harnessing the solutions that already exist in nature for the fertility of the earth, the integrity of our food, and the health and wellness of our communities.
How is it done?
Biodynamics is all about sustainability, putting back more than it takes out.
‘Essentially, it’s about working with nature, not against it, and making the most of the land with the minimum impact.’
How is Biodynamic different to Organic?
Biodynamic gardening is the next step to organic farming. It uses animals, minerals and herbs as well as lunar cycles to activate the soil, making it as healthy and biodiverse as possible.
‘It’s kind of like looking at farming in relation to the cosmos. Looking at the deeper, more holistic approach to farming, and our place within it.’
How do you prepare healthy soil?
Compost is vital in biodynamic farming. It’s used to introduce humus. In lay man’s terms that means it brings micro-organisms to the soil and naturally controls pest instead of using herbicides and pesticides.
Biodynamic farmers set out to generate health and fertility as much as possible from the farm itself – to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavour of the food being produced without unnatural additives.
How do animals play a role in soil quality?
The soil is prepared by creating ‘Horn Manure’. Made fresh from cow manure, immersed into a cow horn in nutrient rich soil from Autumn to Spring. It works to activate the soil, bringing the vital sources of sun and life to the earth. This brings energy to the plant, creating seed germination, root stimulation and growth whilst also improving soil quality and earthworm quantities.
Once extracted from the earth ‘Horn Manure’ is mixed with rain water and stirred for one hour before being sprayed on the soil twice a year in Spring and Autumn.
‘There are physical benefits you can see. It’s not just a bunch of hippies standing under a tree, stirring something for an hour then spraying it about in our kaftans. There’s a real practical element to it too.’
What makes Biodynamic produce healthier for us?
The Quality. Higher quality farming practices means higher quality farm produce. When crops are created with care rather than for cash they are always going to taste so much better. Simply compare a grape from the supermarket to one picked fresh from the garden… the flavour is completely different.
‘If we are eating food that’s grown with a conscious input we’re going to be imbued with a bit of that.’
The Nutrition. The more nutrient rich the soil, the more nutrient rich the produce which goes directly into the body.
The Farmers. By buying biodynamic you are supporting farmers that are investing in the health of all of us, as well as the health of our planet.
‘If we had more farms, if we had more access to this produce, if the supermarkets didn’t have a massive hold on the cost then we could see a massive shift in our sense of being, of wellness.’
The Planet. Biodynamics is all about sustainability, it puts back generally more than it takes out. Biodynamic farming ensures generations after us can continue growing plants with the same potency and do it in the most sustainable way possible. It doesn’t contribute to climate change, and may even be a be a healing quality for it.
Are you still with me?
Some things may sound a little woo-woo, but to my understanding Biodynamics simply its farming going back to its roots – no pesticides, no artificial fertilizers, no antibiotic enhancements. It’s nature taking care of nature to fight off pests, disease, weeds and fertility issues through farming techniques instead of artificial solutions.
No wonder it’s growing in popularity. Today over 50 countries practicing Biodynamic farming methods in everything from dairy and vegetable farms to wine making, even silkworm breeding.
A huge thanks to Rob and the team at Warrah Farm for taking time out of their busy day to share their Biodynamic insights with me.
What would you like me to discover about Biodynamics on the Global Garden journey?