Biodynamics has become a buzzword in the regenerative and sustainable farming world. The biodynamics website lists over 5000 farms that are certified in 60 countries across the globe. So far, the organic movement has championed the use of non-synthetic fertilizers and pesticides for sustainable agriculture. With Biodynamic farming on the rise, it seems that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to doing the best for the soil and food production.
What is Biodynamics?
Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition. The concept originated through the research of philosopher and scientist Dr. Rudolf Steiner, whose 1924 lectures to farmers opened a new way to integrate scientific understanding with a recognition of spirit in nature. It treats the farm like a living organism that is self-contained, self-sustainable and focuses on balanced management of agricultural products. The idea here is that a farm system should meet its own needs with few, or no, external inputs. Delving deeper, there is also a cosmological and lunar component to biodynamic agriculture, which has associated it with some elements of pseudoscience. “Biodynamic farmers and gardeners observe the rhythms and cycles of the earth, sun, moon, stars, and planets and seek to understand the subtle ways that the environment and wider cosmos influence the growth and development of plants and animals,” the Biodynamic Association says on its website. Thus biodynamics seeks to incorporate on-farm fertility, enhance soil and plant health, care for animals to bring about biodiversity, sustainability, and regeneration.
How does it differ from organic farming?
- Even though organic farming implements sustainable methods, biodynamics goes beyond the general measures to include divisive preparations. While organic allows for the use of organic fertilizers and pesticides, biodynamics requires a farm system itself to produce its fertility – meaning compost and nutrients – as much as possible.
- Organic farming permits feeding the livestock with imported organic feed; biodynamics calls for 50% of the feed to be grown on the farm.
- Further, it requires that a farm set aside 10% of the total farm acreage for biodiversity and strive for a balanced predator/prey relationship.
The challenging dynamics:
The transition from conventional farming methods to biodynamic farming on a sufficient scale is expensive and often leads to lower yields. The process is slow and takes several years to implement in its entirety. Also, stringent certification requirements like the diversity of crops, the addition and management of animals and livestock to the farm organism, and the dedication of 10 percent of total land to be a biodiversity reserve stand as a deterrent. The spiritual and cosmological aspects can be off-putting to the non-believer.
Using biodynamic methods is money and time-consuming. But the question is, does it work?
While biodynamic research has mixed results, retailers and consumers are driving demand. What they want is food that tastes good and is grown ethically and while science is skeptical about the purity of its methods, consumer demand is driven by emotion-based choices.
On the one hand, the debate on whether biodynamics could be the future or not continues and on the other organic stuff is fast replacing foods in the stores. To avail the best quality organic lentils, spices and grains, do visit our site!