Quick answers to commonly asked questions in Biodymanics and Regenerative Farming.
Biodynamic agriculture is a way of living and working within a whole system that is based on the four elements of earth, air, water, fire. Developing a deeper understanding of the rhythms of these elements and how to work consciously with them to better the farm organism, via balance and strength, is the basis of this practice. It is often called holistic agriculture,but I believe the term regenerative farming is much more inclusive of its real purpose.
The term "Biodynamic" comes from bio=life and dynamic=force promoting change.
The term was originated in 1924, shortly after Rudolf Steiner, gave a series of lectures based on his insights to the problems developing in farming in Europe. With the advent of chemical fertilizers, there was a recognition that soils were dying, and food and animal crops were lessening in their nutritional value. A shift of consciousness was being called for; an 'enlivening' of farmers' soils and spirits.
It starts with really looking at the systems, or infrastructure that you have in place. Understanding the natural assets, whether they are in the surrounding landscape, or with the human element, and then beginning to grow those to their fullest potential while maintaining a balanced working farm system. This includes the use of certain preparations, compost, and bringing the four elements together while developing a consciousness around them to strengthen the overall system. The integrity of the whole farm system, from the soil, to the animals, and the human, is the core of this practice.
While organic practices strengthen the soil organism of the farm, too often they can neglect the other elements, such as where the input materials are sourced from. These inputs can increasingly be sourced from a growing range of non-organic materials. The methods of farming can become similar to conventional, where a recipe is followed of managing inputs. While all of this can be good practice and good farming, the greater difference is developing the intuition of the farmer, which leads to choices being made regarding the larger organism of the farm within the context of the whole. Choices are made with the materials at hand that have come from within the farm organism itself.
Entering the larger marketplace is always a personal choice. Do I stay within the local region, where I have that one-to-one with my customer, sharing my story on a personal level, or am I wanting to market outside of the region where others will be telling my story, through the distribution chain. When the latter choice is made, the certification mark shows that there has been a known practice followed with an intention behind it. The certification mark itself becomes part of the (your) brand. The infrastructure (farming practices) of your story is clear and transparent, leaving the personal story for you to tell.