According to the Biodynamic Association, “Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food and nutrition.” Rudolf Steiner, and Austrian writer and educator, developed the philosophy by combining his observations of the environment and how each piece of an ecosystem relates to another.
Biodynamic agriculture is similar to traditional organic methods, and is considered one of the first forays into organic agriculture. “In common with other forms of organic agriculture, biodynamic agriculture uses management practices that are intended to ‘restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.’ Central features include crop diversification, the avoidance of chemical soil treatments and off-farm inputs generally, decentralized production and distribution, and the consideration of celestial and terrestrial influences on biological organisms”
Beyond these similarities, biodynamic farming has some almost mystical practices built into it. While some are questionable, like burying a cow’s horn for crop success, others have been widely adopted by modern farmers. For instance, planting around the phases of the moon. (Wikipedia)
How is this system of agriculture sustainable?
At its core, biodynamic farming is based on the observation and integration of nature’s moving forces through the agricultural space. As the Demeter Association states, “While agriculture takes nature to a state that is one step removed from wilderness, the wisdom of the farmer that guides its course can reflect these ancient principles of sustainability. The view of the farm organism extends beyond the fence line and includes the tangible and intangible forces that work through it. Examples include the climate, inherent wildlife of the earth (above and below the ground), the light and warmth from the sun and the more distant astronomical influences. Biodynamic agriculture attempts to harmonize all of these factors within a holistic, living farm system.”
To us, the decision to not use pesticides, to not till and to not use GMO seeds indicates a high level of dedication to sustainability on the part of biodynamic farmers.