Biodynamic agriculture has, on the face of it, much in common with other organic forms of farming, emphasising the use of manures and composts, and excluding the use of artificial fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides.
What then sets it apart? It is the importance it attaches to lunar phases for planting and sowing, as well as the use of herbal additives for composts and homeopathically produced mineral field sprays, which are scrupulously stirred and sprayed at particular times of the day. Livestock is fed, wherever possible, on food produced on the farm. All these indications were given by Rudolf Steiner over a hundred years ago, at a time when soil was already showing signs of becoming depleted through the use of artificial fertilisers.
BD produce not only looks good, it invariably tastes delicious. Its wine, too, is becoming famous!
The practice of biodynamic farming and gardening arises from the idea that the whole earth is alive and that each farm or garden can become a self-sustaining and unique organism within it. It builds on the sound husbandry techniques of traditional mixed farming and organic gardening systems. Specially fermented preparations based on natural and organic substances are used to enhance soil life and through it, the health and vigour of crops and livestock. By working with the natural processes and rhythms of nature, taking account of the influences from sun, moon and stars and with the careful application of these BD Preparations, it is possible to achieve maximum vitality and other wholesome nourishment for body, soul and spirit. Food grown biodynamically is marketed under the Demeter symbol (Organic Registration UK6) and is guaranteed to be free of added chemicals, hormone treatments and genetically modified materials.
Please visit biodynamic.org.uk for more information.
The Biodynamic Agricultural College has begun a distance learning course in biodynamic principles and practice to support students from all over the world in exploring, understanding and taking up biodynamic agriculture. This is not a course that can teach the practical aspects of agriculture (tractor driving is tricky to teach online), however for students who already have some practical experience, or are gaining practical experience, this course can inform that practice with the principles of biodynamics.
By combining written introductory and reference materials, plenty of practical exercises and experiences, with videos and live seminars, this course provides a way of understanding the principles that stand behind biodynamic agriculture and how they influence the practicalities of working with the land. The course consists of units addressing different aspects of biodynamic agriculture. Each unit goes ‘live’ at a specific time with a group of students and a course leader.
By creating an online international community of students and teachers, we hope to create a forum for discussion, actively addressing how biodynamic principles are applied in different climates and circumstances all over the world.
Please visit www.bdacollege.org.uk for more information.