Biodynamics originated two decades prior to organic growing, but both movements began in response to the introduction of fertilizers and mechanical methods adopted during the post-war periods. Organic agriculture and biodynamic agriculture are very similar in that they grow food without the use of genetically modified organisms, chemicals, or hormones.
Biodynamic goes beyond organics, in a number of directions, ultimately seeking a more holistic approach to agriculture. A biodynamic farm is regarded as an individuality. The plants, soil and animals are part of a single system whose relationships balance each other without the need for external input.
Ideally, a biodynamic farm should be able to produce and maintain itself, as a self-sufficient entity. Rudolf Steiner, who laid the foundations for biodynamics believed that inputs should only be brought into a farm as a treatment for a sick farm. This is in stark contrast to modern agriculture, which can only maintain itself with inputs such as fertilizers, insecticides, and concentrated animal feeds, at an ever-increasing rate against the dying soils.
Organic farming doesn’t use chemicals. However, they may bring in organic inputs from outside, such as manures, and nutrients to manage poor soil. Biodynamics elevates the importance of compost for creating vitality, and health in the soil, so farms can grow healthy vegetables without any external inputs.
Additionally, biodynamics requires the farmer to observe the rhythms of the earth and the cosmos while incorporating several preparations that are prepared on the farm using specific plants, and animal products at different times across the year. These preparation are then sprayed on the land or added into the compost piles.
Both organic and biodynamic methods provide us with healthier, and more sustainable produce when compared to non-organic farming that is the status quo of farming across the globe. You can read the Soil Associations requirements for organic farming here, and the Demeter biodynamic requirements here.
|Certification Requirement & Practices||Organic||Biodynamic|
|Work within natural systems and cycles||X||X|
|Maintain the long-term fertility of soils||X||X|
|Design and manage an organic system that prevents the need for external outputs||X||X|
|Exclude the use of GMO’s||X||X|
|Low-till or no-till||X||X|
|Lunar and astrological farming calendar||X|
Biodynamics is a regenerative form of agriculture, which prioritises soil health. It could be said that we are not growing plants but growing soil. A healthy soil is abundant in life. Plant roots...
This Spring, I took responsibility for the honey bees colonies at Ruskin Mill. Prior to this I caught a couple of swarms last year with my colleague Tim, and he kindly initiated me into the ways of...