Biodynamic farming is the oldest form of organic farming methods. It originates from Rudolf Steiner’s multidimensional cultural development idea. In the past farmers turned to him when they were concerned about the degrading quality of grain seeds and food production. In 1924 Steiner gave a series of presentations in Germany known as Agriculture Course nowadays.
Biodynamic farming is based on the sustainable use of natural resources. The fertility of the soil is maintained by applying composting and green manoeuvre methods, rotational farming methods and biodynamic sprays. Artificial fertilizers and herbicides are not being used in biodynamic farming. In biodynamic farming philosophy it is highlighted that every human being is able to study the environment and explore it as an artist. The senses of an individual person can be used to make observations of the nature. The observations add to the knowledge and understanding of an individual as well as studying the agricultural ecology and the newest biodynamic farming techniques. Personal connection to the events and occasions occurring on the farm and in the nature is of a central value.
In biodynamic farming the farm forms a self-sufficient and distinctive unit that is essential in the production of food products. A biodynamic farm forms an entity of an ecosystem that adds to the biodiversity of the agricultural landscape. In addition to the farm land, crops grown and animals farmed on the farm, this entity includes people on the farm and the surrounding nature. Allowing the farm animals to move around freely enough on the farm is as important as for example the seasonal celebrations arranged on the farm. The seasonal celebrations on the farm bring difference to the everyday routine and provide you with energy required to carry on the daily work.
The concept of biodynamic farming is summarized as:
In biodynamic farming it is central to create a diverse and ecological entity of a farm. Another aspect emphasized in biodynamic farming is the responsibility of the farmer and the customer to care about the nature and farm animals. In the food chain from the farm to the dinner table it is essential to cooperate and to guarantee the high quality of the food that improves the quality of human life.
Starting points and biodynamic principles:
Biodynamic farming is a holistic form of farming that is based on the biodynamic principles of (Demeter-production):
- Sustainability in development: The agricultural methods used form the base in food production. The maintenance and enhancement of the soil fertility, the genetic diversity of grown crops and farm animals and the biodiversity of the surrounding nature are essential.
- Wholesome food: The agriculture must provide humans and animals with healthy food that must not have adverse impact on human health. The high quality of the food supports the mental growth of an individual.
- The environmental ethics: Humans have to respect in all their actions both the environment and the nature and allow animals the right to behave in accordance to the natural behaviour of the species.
- Expanded natural science: A human being is able to investigate events above the physical level making use of the knowledge in natural sciences although the traditional science does not yet acknowledge the level above the physical. Life cannot be explained only on the physical level.
Central characteristics in biodynamic farming:
- Forming of a well-balanced entity of a functional and distinctive farm.
- Fertilizers are acquired by recycling nutrients in composting on the farm, biological nitrogen additions to the soil and releasing the soil nutrients.
- Rotational farming methods.
- The use of biodynamic preparations in balancing nutrient recycling and enhancing the quality.
- Animal farming in accordance to the natural behaviour of the species.
- The avoidance of non-natural materials and chemicals.
The functional entity of a biodynamic farm
A biodynamic farm consists of many aspects including the field, crops, farm animals, buildings, machinery, forests, meadows, waterways, the local climate, the change of seasons and topography. Furthermore people including their ideas, experiences and skills are important.
- The different parts of the farm and the forces between them and their mutual relationship shape the farm and its function.
- The farm is in constant change depending on different growing seasons and changes in the farm production.
- The people on the farm direct the farm into the desired direction leading to unique characteristics of the farm.