Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Bio-Dynamic Agriculture: a Farmer’s Perspective

By Deborah Cantrill
Bio-Dynamics is not an entirely new approach to agriculture. It is merely another development in the continuing saga of man’s relationship with the soil. The Bio-Dynamic approach does not attempt to replace current knowledge, merely to add to it. Bio-Dynamic agriculture is concerned with producing quality food in a reasonable quantity. The methods are designed to biologically activate life in plants and soil. Skills need to be developed by the farmer to nurture the soil.
To me Bio-Dynamic agriculture is the craft of farming- the farmer is a skilled, in tune craftsperson. Just like a skilled cabinet maker, using quality timber to make a fine table that will last many generations, compared with mass produced factory table made out of chipboard and staples - made to a price by machines, just like factory farming. Do these products last or sustain?
As a craftsperson, the main thing in agriculture we are dealing with is LIFE. This is the key to existence on this planet.
The average farmer and I think more so city gardeners - go out in the morning, not with the concept of life but with the concept of death. They go out to get rid of things. In order to grow a certain crop, everything else is killed. (Listen to the questions asked on gardening programs & magazines) As a Bio-Dynamic farmer I’m always being asked “... But how do you get rid of.......?” Because life cannot be captured and put under a microscope, it is not understood. You have to become conscious of life before you become aware of how important it is. We have to learn how to experience this.
Bio-Dynamic is connecting this life (bio) with the inter relatedness of the whole system (dynamics) a bit like group dynamics. This inter-action between all of the kingdoms of nature - MINERAL, PLANT, ANIMAL, HUMAN -- means that everything that is alive is dependent upon other things in a network of living things.
This results in a holistic approach where everything is taken into account from the solid earth to the furthest edge of the cosmos...... including the weather, the conditions in the paddock, the position of the moon and planets , history and potential’s of the land and eco-systems, the needs and abilities of the farmers including their cultural and economic needs.
Part of developing this wholeness is looking deeper into nature. This deeper awareness is based on keen observation and trusting your intuition.
This leads to not letting things run their natural course, but to intensifying some of the natural processes eg the use of special Bio-Dynamic preparations. Aiding nature where she is week and using human intelligence and good will to foster positive developments.
Putting one’s energy into supporting the good, rather than supporting the bad. WORKING WITH LIFE.
If you would like to learn more about the biodynamic method & put them into practice the Nirvana Organic Farm conducts 2 workshops each year. This one day workshop will introduce you to the principals & practices of the biodynamics methods. Enrolment also includes notes, BD preparations, lunch, membership of Adelaide Hills Biodynamic Group & access to their preparations & library.
Sunday, March 25th bookings by 21st march &Sunday, Sept 23rd 8.30am – 4.30pm $95

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