What is Biodynamics?
Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition. Biodynamic agriculture has been practiced for nearly a century, on every continent on Earth. Biodynamic principles and practices are based on the spiritual insights and practical suggestions of Dr. Rudolf Steiner, and have been developed through the collaboration of many farmers and researchers since the early 1920s. Today, the biodynamic movement encompasses thousands of regenerative gardens, farms, ranches, orchards, and vineyards, in a wide variety of climates, ecological contexts, and economic settings.
Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals, and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality, and flavor of the food being raised. Biodynamic practitioners also recognize and strive to work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant, and animal health.
Most biodynamic initiatives seek to embody triple-bottom-line approaches— ecological, social, and economic sustainability— taking inspiration from Steiner’s insights into social and economic life as well as agriculture. Community supported agriculture (CSA), for example, was pioneered by biodynamic farmers, and many biodynamic practitioners work in creative partnerships with other farms and with schools, medical and wellness facilities, restaurants, hotels, homes for social therapy, and other organizations. Biodynamics is therefore not just a holistic agricultural system, but also a potent movement for new thinking and practices in all aspects of life connected to food and agriculture.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #55.
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