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Biodynamic Agriculture

Author: Aletta Venter ~ The Biodynamic Agricultural Association of South Africa

( Article Type: Explanation )

Biodynamic agriculture is a worldwide movement that uses an approach to sustainable agriculture based on the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner as enumerated in a series of eight lectures given to farmers in Europe in 1924. A group of farmers started using these biodynamic methods to address the various problems they were experiencing on their farms. The course included valuable advice on how to prevent future problems – many of which we are now experiencing.

Some examples of Steiner’s insight and foresight include:

  • Healthy and enlivened soil is the foundation of healthy plants, animals and humans.
  • All of the various trace minerals and elements are essential for plant growth. Many of these findings are only now being corroborated by modern science, e.g. the recent ‘discovery’ that silica is vital for plant health.
  • Cows would become mad (‘mad cow disease’) as a result of unnatural feeding practices.
  • The current decline in the human immune system is a direct result of modern farming practices.

Today many of these biodynamic principles and practices remain at the cutting edge of technology, providing valuable tools today’s farmers can use to regenerate their soils so that farming and gardening may survive and thrive into the future.

The principles that biodynamic farmers use, include:

  • Using a range of specially formulated herbal and mineral preparations to re-enliven the soil
  • Constantly working at building up soil humus content (this forms the foundation for all health: prevention is better than cure)
  • Developing their farms into unique and distinct individualities with high levels of biodiversity that help to create a harmonious whole
  • Using no artificial fertilisers or pesticides, opting rather to work towards sustainability by using a minimum of external inputs and ensuring that these are eco-friendly
  • Generally using homeopathic principles to deal with problems or diseases on the farm
  • Working in partnership with nature, making use of the natural and cosmic cycles, rhythms and forces that regulate all life
  • Striving to produce top-quality, wholesome and nutritious foodstuffs for animal and human consumption

Associated Sustainable Development Articles:

Sustainable Development ~ A Spiritual Imperative