Biodynamic farming is free of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in the same manner as certified organic farming. What distinguishes a Demeter certified Biodynamic farm from a certified organic farm is that, in its entirety, a Demeter Biodynamic farm is managed as a living organism. This is the fundamental principal of the Biodynamic farming method. The special body of knowledge which underlies Biodynamic agriculture, insofar as this knowledge extends beyond previous practical and scientific experiences, is derived from Rudolf Steiner’s “Agricultural Course”, and the spiritual context of Anthroposophy, within which this Course was originally held.
The Biodynamic method dates back to 1924 and is one of the original approaches to organized organic farming worldwide. In day to day practice Biodynamic farming involves managing a farm within the context of the principles of a living organism. A concise model of a living organism ideal would be a wilderness forest. In such a system there is a high degree of self-sufficiency in all of the realms of biological survival. Fertility and feed arises out of the recycling of the organic material the system generates. Avoidance of pest species is based on biological vigor and its intrinsic biological and genetic diversity. Water is efficiently cycled through the system.
While agriculture immediately takes nature to a state that is one step removed from wilderness, the wisdom of humanity that steers its course can to a large degree mimic these ancient principles of sustainability based on a careful observation of nature as a whole. Demeter/Aurora certification requires a documented evolution towards this ideal. In the realm of day-to-day practice this requires a farming system that is minimally dependant on imported inputs for its survival. It requires holistic farm management where inputs that otherwise would need to be imported from outside arise from within the living dynamics of the farm itself.
Demeter/Aurora certification requires that as much as possible a farm be regenerative rather than degenerative. Consider carefully materials that are imported onto the modern day organic farm. Where do they come from? Often they can be tracked back to a natural resource provided by the earth. Examples of such inputs include petroleum to move materials around, ancient mineral deposits, by-products of unsustainable agriculture-related industry, and the life of the seas and water ways. An important social value of Biodynamic farming is that it does not depend on the mining of the earth’s natural resource base. Instead it emphasizes contributing to it.
Looked at in its widest view, the scale of this farm organism extends beyond the fence line of the farm and includes the tangible and intangible forces that work through it. Examples of such “forces” include the climate, inherent wildlife of the earth (above and below the ground), the light and warmth from the sun and the focusing of even more distant cosmic influences through the other planetary members of our sun’s solar system. The Biodynamic method of farming attempts to align all of the factors that stream through a living farm system in a harmonious manner. The food that results is very true to its essence and in this manner provides deeply penetrating nutrition that is medicinal to an increasingly unstable human existence.
adapted from the Demeter Association.
Thanks to the Phoenix Biodynamics Group