What is the origin of biodynamic farming?
“Biodynamic agriculture is an advanced organic farming system that is gaining increased attention for its emphasis on food quality and soil health.” — Steve Diver
It has its origin in a series of lectures and recommendations given by Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s in response to the effects of commercial fertilizers and specialized agriculture after the turn of the century.
How is biodynamic farming different from organic farming?
Biodynamic and organic farming share a common origin and both continue to share a common concern for soil health and nutritional quality, as well as certain cultural and biological farming practices such as no-till soil preparation, cover cropping, crop rotations, and composting. For a time they also shared a common concern for regional ecologies, local food systems, social justice and community. However, as defined by the National Organic Standards, and as practiced widely in the organic industry today, organic farming distinguishes itself primarily (in contrast to conventional chemical agriculture) by the legally mandated absence of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified organisms, or the use of sewage sludge or irradition. Biodynamic farming, on the other hand, not only requires the absence of synthetics of any kind, but insists on the farm being managed as a self-contained organism that integrates crops and livestock, recycles nutrients, and prioritizes soil health and well- being of crops, animals, the farmer and his community, and the farm ecosystem in interaction with the larger physical, social, and cultural environment. Biodynamic composting and soil management involve a number of special herbal preparations to impart subtle energies (life force) and thereby improve the fertility of the soil and the health of plants, animals and people. Lunar and astronomical cycles play a large role in the timing of biodynamic practices in recognition of the effect of cosmic influences on biological systems.
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