Trying to Survive in the 21st Century/Beyond Organic there's Biodynamic, The Real Soul Food
The first time I was made aware that there was such a thing as biodynamics was when I went to Mildred’s vegetarian restaurant with a girlfriend, I think it was a couple of years ago now. They had biodynamic wine on the menu and being the adventurer that I am I had to order it. Not that I am a wine connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination but I did notice it tasted cleaner and fresher, somehow, than any other wine I had ever tasted before. I asked the waiter what ‘biodynamic’ meant and he answered vaguely, something like, ‘organic but harvested according to the phase of the moon.’ I told him I loved the premise and the wine tasted pretty good too and he immediately went away and came back to with the name of the supplier, Vintage Roots, written on a piece of scrap paper. I have been enjoying biodynamic wines ever since.
More recently, I have had the opportunity to buy biodynamic fruit and vegetables from Brambletye Fruit Farm who have a regular stall at my local farmers market.
‘It’s all organic,’ the stallholder said to me the other week.
‘I thought it was biodynamic,’ I replied.
‘It is but people don’t know what that means so I just say organic now.’
Q: So what is biodynamic?
In order to understand the meaning it is important to know a little bit about its originator, the ‘spiritual scientist’ Rudolf Steiner.
Rudolf Steiner’s core belief was that honest and true perception can be attained. Soul finding can happen, intuition can be restored and a life-sustaining, healthy affinity for natural processes can be achieved, through meditation.
In the early 20th century Rudolf Steiner predicted that the use of chemicals in farming would deplete the soil of nutrients over the course of 60 years, leading to food which lacks nourishment; a prediction that came true, and we are, sadly, living with that effect now.
Steiner’s alternative ideas for farming, and nowadays for curing the problem of a lack of healthy food, is more a philosophy, than a set of hard and fast rules. The earth beneath our feet needs to be respected as a living organism, both cared for and nurtured in order to thrive and give birth to healthy plants. Keen observation of the effect of natural forces on our planet is the key.
For example, the moon has a very obvious rapport with things that occur down here on Earth: day and night, the seasons, tides of the sea, the female menstrual cycle, etcetera, all of these have an indisputable lunar relationship. Biodynamic farmers have noticed that the when the moon is in its descending phase it is the best time for composting, planting, and making cuttings; man’s efforts mirroring the moon’s energy as it is drawn down into the ground. Conversely, when the moon is in its ascending phase, life is drawn upwards above the surface of the land.
Planetary alignment with the moon has also been studied in accordance with plant growth. The earth signs Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn have been seen to have a positive influence on the development of roots, and therefore signal a propitious time to plant root vegetables. Likewise the water signs, Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio have an affinity with leaves, and leafy vegetables. The air signs, Gemini, Libra and Aquarius affect flowers. And fire signs, Aries, Leo and Sagittarius have an impact on fruit.
In order to nourish both the soil and crops, very small amounts of carefully cultivated preparations created from plant, mineral and animal worlds are used. They are applied to the earth or plants and are also used when making compost to act as a guide to the humus making processes. These preparations act as dynamic medicines to trigger self–healing, enhance fertility, and bring life force back into our food.
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