Biodynamic Farming is one of the organic approaches to farming. This is a sustainable method of agriculture that seeks to preserve the interrelationships between soils, flora and fauna in a holistic manner. This type of agriculture was developed by philosopher Rudolf Steiner back in the 1920’s in response to queries posed by farmers about soil degradation and poor crop and livestock health.
Biodynamic farming is often defined as the spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, food production and nutrition. We look at the key features of this approach to farming and its advantages as well as the reasons why it needs to be more widely incorporated.
Features of biodynamic farming
The aim of biodynamic farming is to restore maintain and enhance the harmony within the ecology that surrounds us. The emphasis is on healing the soil and helping to replenish balance while creating produce that is healthy and nourishing. Biodynamic farming doesn’t permit the destruction of virgin forest to clear land for farming. Not only that, the methods of farming should help preserve the wildlife, natural habitats and other plat biodiversity in the region.
Crop diversification is one of the key features of this type of farming. This requires the farmer to grow diverse or different crops in the region rather than concentrating on just one crop which could lead to depletion of soil nutrients. Over cultivation is to be avoided so the ground is allowed to remain fallow to help replenish it. At the same time measures should be taken to prevent soil erosion.
Biodynamic farming eschews chemical soil treatments and off-farm inputs as far as possible. The idea is to use green manure, biodynamic preparations and practices such as livestock integration. Insect and disease control methods used should also be sourced from within the farm to the extent possible. Attention to factors such as light penetration and airflow, timing of planting and understanding predator habitats can help with natural pest control.
Similarly weed control can be achieved with the help of proper timing of planning, shade canopy, understanding the life cycles of weeds and making soil fertility adjustments that could inhibit weed growth. Water conservation and biodynamic feed for livestock are other key features of this approach to farming.
Benefits of biodynamic farming
There are obvious advantages such as healthy organic produce being made available and the prevention of soil and waterways pollution. In addition, it is found that these farming practices are able to withstand environmental challenges more effectively while improving energy efficiency. When you use produce that is grown via biodynamic farming practices you’re buying into better health and lower ecological impacts.