What is biodynamic farming?
Founded in 1924, Biodynamic farming is the oldest 'green' farming movement, and forerunner of organics. All biodynamic farmers and growers practice organic methods of cultivation, are against genetic modification (GM), and share its ideals, but there are important differences. Biodynamics has metaphysical and spiritual roots that organics does not. Biodynamics thus embraces the mystery of all life processes, including the subtle and energetic realities that are not necessarily easy to measure or justify using current scientific methods.
All biodynamic farmers and growers practice organic methods of production, and share very similar certification standards. Both also share similar aims and ideals, but biodynamics has metaphysical and spiritual roots that organics does not.
It is this that makes biodynamics distinctively different in both its approach to agriculture, and its farming practices.
There are some farming methods that are specific to biodynamic agriculture, some of these are detailed below:
Biodynamic preparations are uniquely fermented natural remedies and play a pivotal role in successful biodynamic farming and growing. There are 9 preparations in total, all with different properties, characteristics, and uses.
They are used to encourage humus forming processes in the soil; enliven and increase the microbial soil population; vitalise plant growth; and to harmonise life processes with that of its immediate and more distant surroundings. Their effects are primarily subtle and qualitative but profoundly important There are two main types:
The Lunar Calendar
Based on more than forty years of ongoing research by Maria and Matthias Thun into the influences of the moon, planets and constellations on plant growth, this astronomical calendar is now published annually by Matthias Thun. It is used to determine appropriate, planting, cultivating and harvesting times of crops, and is available to buy from our online shop. Click to learn more...
Policies and Positions
How gardeners can help
Gardeners are the natural guardians of open-pollinated seeds, and gardens everywhere, freed of commercial constraints, large or small, provide safe havens for their cultivation. Seed banks provide a last resort, but to be truly viable and sustainable, seeds need to be grown, and have their opportunity to be alive. What better place than your garden? Anyone can save seed from an open-pollinated plant and use the seed the following year. This has two benefits; gardeners and growers become more self sufficient and knowledgeable, which breaks the cycle of dependence on fewer and larger seed companies, and the seed adapts to the local conditions.
For more on the Seed Cooperative that is working intensively with these ideas please see: Seed Co-operative background article