The conventional methods of farming that have been put into place in the last one hundred years is ruining the land, the soil is eroded by chemicals, the wildlife is destroyed by these methods as chemicals fertilizers are sprayed onto the farm lands.
This conventional agriculture does not let man work with the farmland, instead man dominates it through these methods. Man has forgotten his place in nature as he exploits its resources. This is not causing problems as the fertilizer and pesticides erode the land and make it unfit for new growth because it eats away the natural nutrients and kills the pests who are actually an important part of the eco-system.
In 1924 between June 7th to the 16th at Koberwitz, Rudolf Steiner gave a series of lectures offering an ‘alternative’ method for farmers, where they could work with the land and with nature. This model is now known as ‘bio-dynamic farming’ which is a self-sustaining system that has practical measures for the farmer and his crops and livestock, these lectures explain to the farmer how he can work consciously with his farmland and have a balanced and rhythmical way of working with the cosmos thus bringing the best out in any agricultural husbandry.
Bio-dynamic farming reminds us that this planet and nature is a living organism and that we should work with it to make farming sustainable.
We depend on the earth to feed us, we need good soil for our crops, good grasses for our herds, good plant life for our medicines and in order to be able to create that quality we need to work with the rhythms of nature.
Nicholas Culpeper’s book ‘Complete Herbalism’ written in 1625 discusses how the plants affect our ecological system and wrote about their medicinal qualities and how the plants grow with the cycles of the cosmos. Bio-dynamics farming also works with the cycles of the cosmos, the planet, the sun and the moon are important and link with the cycles of nature and thus farming. Steiner explained that seeds are best sown by hand in late afternoon because that “is when the earth is breathing”. This way the farmer will get the best out of his crop.
The bio-dynamic farmer respects the fact that he is just a small part of the whole cosmos, unlike the conventional famers who wish to dominate it. By being a part of the cosmic process, one then takes part in the cycle of farming and thus works with the other parts and when all part work together harmoniously then the result is good quality produce and a satisfaction with the work one has taken part in.
Steiner says that conventional farming and farms must get in and work with the land because the land is alive and both need the interaction; man and nature need each other, they are active together and action brings life. But using conventional methods such as pesticides is putting a death into the land, the chemicals are not natural but concocted in a laboratory with the purpose of getting a quick growth and a large produce, quality seems to be neglected in this process. These chemicals contaminate the soil and are not easy to be rid of. The pollutants they use goes into the crops, crops which we are then eating, which means those pollutants are going into us.
This type of conventional farming puts the whole eco-system out of balance and when the eco-system is out of balance there are problems in the environment.
With bio-dynamic farming the process of working with the land is done in such a fashion as to keep the balance between nature and man and thus both can work and live in harmony together and that is the type of planet I wish to live on.
Why did Steiner give these lectures on farming? Because farmers in the area asked him for advice due to their concerns about the conventional methods that they were being instructed to use, they could see it was not working for them or their land.
Bio-dynamics works for all types of farming; small holds, vineyards, herb gardens to factory farms. This way of farming shows that one has to look deep into the secrets of nature to understand the ways of the cosmos but working with nature is a spiritual gift.
Below is a video from HRH Prince Charles and his views on modern day farming and how his farm managers implement the bio-dynamic ways into their agriculture.