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  Why Bio-Dynamic Agriculture?                                                               
From Grasp the Nettle by Peter Proctor

Introduction
Peter testing soilBiodynamic agriculture is a system of organic agriculture that has proved to be very effective throughout the world. The results are better soils, quality food, healthy plants, healthy and contented animals, and enthusiastic farmers and consumers.

It's not as if it's a fly-by-night idea with no basis for reality. It's happening and has been for over eighty years!

The world is slowly becoming aware of the problems of pollution facing humanity, particularly in the agricultural field. Entrepreneurs see a market for selling food that has been grown with fewer pollutants, but still with the downstream adverse effects on the environment. There is a growing movement of farmers who are genuinely trying to grow organically; but often they are only replacing the chemical inputs of the conventional grower with organic inputs. It is still the same basic understanding of growing: input = output.

In contrast, biodynamic techniques enhance, rejuvenate, add to and maintain soil quality. Cowhorns and cow dung, after being buried together in the earth, make the most wonderful humus to spread on the land. This improves the structure of the soil dramatically and quickly. Good soil structure means better water-holding capacity, which means better control, with consequently less loss of topsoil, which means better and deeper rots and less need for irrigation, which means deeper soil and more natural fertility.

We know that the earth is tired and overstressed. People have been taking and taking for years and not putting anything back. Now, through biodynamic farming, we have the chance to change this.

So what's the problem?
Cow Horn 1. Cowhorns - people don't understand what these have to do with growing crops.
2. Because this concept is different from what is considered the norm, people think it must therefore be wrong.
3. People ask, 'How can such a small amount have such an effect" Have you had it scientifically tested?'

Earth fertility and food quality
The farmers of India have no problem in understanding the majesty of the cow in relationship to the continuance of fertility of the earth. They realise the cow is a gift from heaven.

Indian agriculture has a history of 4000 years. Indian farmers recognise the connection of the divine in the growing of food, and have done for years. We in the West prefer to turn our back on help from on high. We think we can do it all ourselves, and that we are the masters of creation.

People in Western cultures are generally interested in quantity of production rather than quality. This is a greedy attitude, but one admired and applauded by the lords of economic performance. When applied to the growing of food, this attitude is justified by the need to feed a hungry world. Unfortunately, it is beginning to rub off on Asian people as well.

It can be done
It is possible to grow sufficient food for the world without poisoning our planet. Vegetable field We do not need to use a whole array of chemicals and synthetic materials. The use of hybridised or genetically engineered seeds is totally unnatural and unnecessary.

Bio-dynamic technology, with its informed use of the various preparations, will maintain soil fertility for years to come in a wholly natural way. It will support the growing of a plentiful supply of nourishing food. In India it has been shown that soya beans grown using bio-dynamic methods produce 30 per cent more crop than those that are chemically grown.

At some point in considering our existence in this world, most people come to a recognition that there is a higher power than ourselves that is responsible for creation; that there is a force of growth, albeit a beneficent one. Nature provides us with examples of this life force every day, in the mighty trees of the forest, in scented roses, a medicinal herb, a nourishing carrot or a blade of grass.

This is where we must grasp the nettele in our attempt to understand bio-dynamic agriculture and to make the connection between this force of growth and the use of the bio-dynamic preparations.

The preparations are made from all-natural products - cow dung, quartz, and medicinal herbs - and are processed in conjunction with various animal parts. These preparations, when applied to the soil through ground sprays, composts and liquid manures, enliven the soil. They make happen all the biological soil processes that soil scientists talk about but rarely see in the field.

Full MoonAnother thing that bio-dynamic farmers take into consideration is that the heavenly bodies and the fixed stars in their constellations play a very important role in the continuance of life on our planet. This is the basis of bio-dynamic agriculture.

Steiner gave the world ideas on a renewal of agriculture. He pointed out that we must nourish the earth in such a way that the cosmic influences could continue to flow in. During his lectures, the idea for the use of the biodynamic preparations was born.

Using the biodynamic preparations regularly opens the soil and the land to the effects of cosmic activities and allows these to work through the soil into the plants. The more biologically active the earth, the more the beneficent forces can work through into plant and animal.

Human beings, consumers of these plants and animal products, gain in forces to develop the right thinking, a healthy life of feeling and a strong will to do so, when eating the food that is grown in this enlivened environment.

These concepts are beautifully simple, logical and easy to understand if people have the right mindset. There are no hidden agends here. Recognition of this renewal of agriculture has to come about.

 It's all about our drinking water - its purity and its quality.
 It's about quality food.
 It's about the social life on farms all over the world.
 It's about an affordable, sustainable system of agriculture that will allow all     farmers to stay on their land for many years.
 It's about farming being the most important activity in the world.
 It makes organic agriculture work!
 In my opinion it will only be biodynamic agriculture and all that emanates     from it, that can give the world the spiritual hope and confidence for the     future that we are all looking for.

Think about it.

 



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