Biodynamic farmers manage their farms—including fields, woods, wetlands, plants, animals and people—as a self-contained, self-sustaining organism. They don’t use GMOs, synthetic chemicals, fertilizers or pesticides.
Biodynamics was developed in central Europe in the early 1920s by the Austrian philosopher and social reformer Rudolf Steiner; it is now practiced on more than 350,000 acres of farmland in 47 countries. Steiner was one of the pioneers of the organic farming movement, and biodynamics is considered by many to be the most advanced and holistic form of farming and gardening on the planet.
Biodynamic methods are designed to stimulate and sustain the farm’s inherent fertility, health and terroir through the integration of crops and livestock, the restoration of on-farm biodiversity, and thoughtful cooperation with the influences of the sun, moon and planets on the earth.
Biodynamic farmers strive to find a balance and diversity of crops and livestock that enables the farm to be as self-sustaining as possible
Biodynamics also incorporates the use of nine preparations made from fermented manure, herbs (yarrow, chamomile, stinging nettle, oak bark, dandelion, valerian and horsetail) and the mineral silica. The biodynamic preparations are used as field sprays and in the making of compost to stimulate specific processes within the farm.
Another unique aspect of biodynamic agriculture is the attention paid to the influences and rhythms of the sun, moon and planets.
Just as the moon creates the tides in our oceans, each of these celestial bodies has subtle influences on the growth and development of plants and animals. Based on Steiner’s insights and subsequent research, a number of biodynamic calendars have been developed that offer indications for optimal times for sowing, cultivating and harvesting, based on the cyclical changes in the positions of the celestial bodies in relation to the earth.
Biodynamic farmers work to develop their capacity to sense and observe the more subtle forces at work in nature, and to use their own insights to further enhance the vitality of their farms. The biodynamic methods are thus in a continuous state of evolution and individualization.