Biodynamic Farming - What Is It?

Many people have heard of organic, but are confused by the term biodynamic farming

What Is Biodynamic Farming?

Biodynamic food is organic food that is grown and harvested, as well as sometimes consumed, as dictated by lunar cycles and with a focus on regeneration of natural resources. According to the Demeter Association, Inc, “A foundation of the biodynamic method of farming is a Goethean observation of nature and its application to a farming system. This encourages a view of nature as an interconnected whole, a totality, an organism endowed with archetypal rhythm.”

Biodynamism was first described by an Austrian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner, in 1924. According to followers of these principles, the best days for harvesting, planting, and sowing of plants depends on whether the moon is situated in the ascendant (sap rising, best time for harvesting) or descendant (vitality in the roots). Also involved is where the moon is in relationship to certain planets and within the zodiac. Germany and France has made wine biodynamically for many years. It is hypothesized that atmospheric pressure, which changes throughout the moon’s cycle, can affect taste.

Organic Earthly Delights grows and sources only the best organic foods for our customers. We take great care to ensure that biodynamic farming methods are utilized every day.

Producers of biodynamic food must carry a Demeter certificate, which requires them to farm organically and encourages biodiversity, fair trade, and a holistic approach toward food production.The Demeter Biodynamic® Farm and Processing Standards is a detailed publication of all of the requirements necessary for certification. It addresses the necessary elements of the “farm organism,” soil fertility management, crop protection, greenhouse management, animal welfare, and the use of the preparations. It has 14 different processing standard categories, including wine, cheese, olive oil, dairy, and body care.

Some Requirements For Biodynamic Farming

Animal housing: Animal housing must allow animals to move freely, and protect the animals from heat, dust, excess humidity, and harmful gasses.

Prohibited: Poultry cages, dehorning, debeaking, and wing clipping are prohibited. The tail cutting of piglets and docking of lambs also are not allowed.

Homeopathic remedies: Homeopathic remedies are encouraged instead of vaccines. Antibiotics are prohibited.

Feed: If animals are raised for the sale of meat, eggs, or milk, at least half of the feed must come from the farm and the other half must be Demeter certified (minimum of 80% of the total ration) or National Organic Program (NOP) certified organic (no more than 20% of the ration).

Biodiversity preserve: It is necessary to set aside 10% of the farm’s total acreage as a biodiversity preserve.

Annual crops: You cannot plant an annual crop in the same field for more than 2 years in succession. Year-round bare tillage is prohibited.

Fertility system, disease prevention, and insect and weed control: The fertility system, the prevention of disease, and control of insects and weeds must originate from the farm by using strategies such as livestock integration, compost and green manure, nutrient catch crops, crop rotation, diversity of botanical species, predator habitat, crop nutrition, attention to light penetration and airflow, weed prevention, timing of planting, mulching, and identification and prevention of the spread of invasive weeds.

Nine preparations: The use of nine preparations made from herbs, mineral substances, and animal manures are used to revitalize the soil, stimulate root growth, and aid in photosynthetic activity, and to enhance the development of microorganisms and humus formation.

References And Recommended Reading

Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association. What is biodynamics? Available at: https://www.biodynamics.com/biodynamics.html. Accessed May 13, 2015

Demeter Association, Inc. Animal welfare. Available at: http://www.demeter-usa.org/learn-more/animal-welfare.asp. Accessed May 13, 2015

Demeter Association, Inc. Biodynamic principles. Available at: http://www.demeter-usa.org/learn-more/biodynamic-principles.asp. Accessed May 13, 2015

Demeter Association, Inc. Demeter Biodynamic Farm and processing standards. Available at: http://www.demeter-usa.org/learn-more/biodynamic-farm-standard.asp. Accessed May 13, 2015

Fellowes J. Is biodynamic the new organic? Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/6230162/Is-biodynamic-the-new-organic.html. Accessed May 13, 2015

Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Bio-Dynamics, Inc. About biodynamics. Available at: http://www.jpibiodynamics.org/taxonomy/term/26. Accessed May 13, 2015

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