In the early 1920s, Austrian philosopher and social reformer Rudolf Steiner founded what is known as Biodynamic Agriculture. Steiner is considered one of the pioneers of the organic farming movement and biodynamics is considered by some to be “the most advanced and holistic form of organic farming and gardening on the planet." In 1938, the Biodynamic Association was established, making it the oldest sustainable agriculture nonprofit organization in North America.
So, what is Biodynamic Agriculture? It is a form of alternative agriculture very similar to organic farming, but it incorporates different methods and techniques that follow Rudolf Steiner’s Biodynamic philosophy. According to Steiner, a farm is a single, self-sustaining organism that thrives through biodiversity, the integration of crops and livestock and the creation of a closed-loop system of fertility. Steiner also brought forth a unique and comprehensive approach to soil, plant, animal and human health that recognizes the importance of the healthy interplay of cosmic and earthly influences. With this in mind, he developed a set of homeopathic preparations used by biodynamic farmers on soil, compost, and plants that help build up the farm’s innate immune system and vital forces.
The basic principle of organic farming is to achieve food of high nutritional quality and optimum quantities of produce without the use of artificial fertilizers or synthetic chemicals. It does not use genetically modified foods, growth promoters or hormones. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic farming emphasizes the need to maintain appropriate land management and aims to ecologically achieve the balance between animal life, the natural environment, and food crops. Organic farmers do not use pesticides or herbicides and strive to produce food in its most natural form.
Biodynamic farmers also honor the fundamental principles of organic farming—neither use artificial chemicals or GMOs. However, biodynamic farmers put a greater emphasis on seeing all things as living interrelated systems – animals, plants, as well as the solar system. Biodynamic farming methods aim to enliven the soil through careful observation of nature’s rhythms. The main difference between organic and biodynamic is that biodynamic farming uses different principles that add vitality to the plant, soil and/or livestock, whereas traditional farming methods tend to deteriorate the health of the soil. Biodynamic agriculture uses specifically prepared preparations made from minerals and herbs – very similar to homeopathy. These preparations are used to enhance the compost applied to the fields and intensify the sunlight permeated into the plant.
Because of the philosophy of seeing the interrelatedness of all things, Biodynamic agriculture also incorporates astrological influences into its growing methods. Rudolf Steiner believed that much like the moon affects the tides, so does it affect the growing phases of planting and harvesting. Complex stellar calendars chart the influences of the moon and other planets for gardeners and farmers to follow.
The aim of Biodynamic agriculture is to produce food in a way that follows nature’s rhythms, while also improving the health of living organisms and ecosystems—rather than destroying them as modern agriculture often does. It is a philosophy that goes beyond the typical considerations of modern farming techniques and aims to include the influences of the stars and planets as well. The fundamental difference between Biodynamic farming and conventional agriculture is that the Biodynamic farmer sees themselves, and all things as one interconnected system, and seeks to grow and produce food in a way that honors this essential unity.
Our Zuma Nutrition product line has several products that feature biodynamically grown raw ingredients including our Biodynamic Turmeric Tonic and our Biodynamic Face Mist. These products are created with a special intention to heal from the soil to the bottle.