Nutrition & Biodynamic Agriculture
It was concern about the declining quality of foodstuffs which prompted a group of farmers
to ask Dr. Rudolf Steiner for help in 1923.
Mainly paraphrased from Bio-Dynamics, Fall 1968
Chemical companies grew during this time
|| Nazi Germany
The above time line indicates broadly the transition time that witnessed the shift from traditional methods of farming to modern chemical agriculture. During the World Wars many large chemical companies were established to help provide chemical means of warfare. A big achievement was the discovery of a laboratory process for turning the endless tons of free nitrogen in the air into liquid ammonia. Factories were established that used this knowledge
to produce explosives, drugs and poisonous gases.
When World War II ended, these companies needed a new rationale for their existence. Research into other ways of using the chemical know-how was undertaken in earnest. The development of chemical fertilizers – providing synthetic nitrogen, potassium and potash (NPK) – was the first large scale ‘peacetime’ use to emerge. Later numerous chemical pesticides and insecticides were developed – and aggressively marketed. With the development of synthetic chemicals and drugs – pills – vitamins got separated
out of food, and nutrition got separated from medicine.
The well established result was the anticipated increase in yields, but with an unanticipated decrease in nutritive value of the agricultural produce. Equally unforeseen was the gradual deterioration of soil quality, i.e. the destruction and increasing disappearance of ‘living soil’. Food began losing its nutrition, we became diseased, and the natural healthy thinking of the past was lost.
In soil properly nourished with adequate supplies of humus, crops do not suffer from disease, and do not require poisonous sprays to keep off parasites; animals fed on these plants develop a high degree of disease resistance, and man, nurtured with such plants and animals, can reach an extraordinary (and in fact quite natural) standard of health, able to resist disease and infection from whatever cause it may derive.
Steiner & Nutrition
Steiner’s declared aim was to work with the soil as the true foundation of human health. This meant restoring to the soil the organic matter it needs to hold its fertility, and restoring to the soil a balanced system of functions by treating it not merely as a mixture of aggregation of chemicals, whether mineral or organic, but as a truly living system.
Like his fellow organic enthusiasts, Steiner insisted on avoiding chemicals, and concentrating instead on natural composts inoculated with the product of certain revivifying herbs. These he selected to help microorganisms decompose more quickly the raw organic matter of the compost heap into simple compounds, reassembling them into the ingredients of a long-lasting, earth-smelling, dark brown, light-textured, friable humus, a substance which because of its colloidal state, holds its structure, resists leaching,
helps fix nitrogen directly from the air and increase the availability of minerals to the plants – the staff of life.
There is a true relation between the life in us and the life in the realm of plants. The growth and the health of our bodies depends upon the growth and health of plants.
Abundance does not mean the food contains a sufficient amount of needed elements and vitamins. There is no doubt, says Dr. Melchois Dikkers, Professor of Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry at Loyola University, that malnutrition is the most important problem confronting mankind at the present time.
MALNUTRITION BEGINS WITH THE SOIL
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Goethe
Analysis informs us about the material bricks of life. Life itself is more than these bricks. To even the great chemist Justus von Liebig (known as the ‘father of chemical agriculture’), it was quite evident that it is not only the various inorganic substances which build living plants and keep them functioning. As soon as these elements enter plants, they are parts of an ultimate system. This system determines their functions. They are part of the organism.
When we eat plants, then, our body digests substances that carry the signature of the formative processes in the plant. When we digest food, we then adapt these substances to what our body needs, namely energy, various activities and the material bricks as well. Thus the formative processes in food plants are directly related to the formative processes in ourselves. This is why we should understand the formative forces that fashion plants. From this point of view it does make a difference whether
the carbohydrates we eat originate from rice, wheat, corn, or potatoes, or whether we meet our vitamin needs by eating apples, carrots and spinach or by consuming vitamin pills.
In farming and in gardening
we are dealing with living organisms
living soil, plants, animals, human beings.
Whatever we do
to alter one or the other growth factor
will affect the whole system that is involved
Two Polar Fields of Force
‘Quality Fashioning Factors’
We want quality food. When speaking about quality we actually mean the nutritional value of products which is frequently expressed in terms of nutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, mineral elements, etc. This includes the health-giving factors.
Steiner teaches that there are two main groups of health-giving factors – the earth factors and the cosmic factors. These are two different fields of force. The earth growth factors include water and a long list of plant nutrients, most of which are born in the soil. While these earth born substances fill
the shape of plants with substance, the other group provides energy and form. This group includes the cosmos born factors of warmth and light. It is in those organs of plants which are predominantly exposed to the light, that fine flavor and the most refined substances are formed, as in ripened fruit and seeds. The plant produces its nutritional quality between sun and earth. From the root to the top each food plant contains substances, which in a more or less pronounced fashion reflect what these
two polar groups of growth factors do. If these are in proper ratio to each other, then the food plants will develop maximum quality.
EAT WHOLE FOODS
Biodynamics Contribution to Good Nutrition
While there is extensive knowledge about influencing the earth growth factors, not much is known about what to do in regard to the cosmic factors. In the Biodynamic method there are tools available which support the cosmic influences. This is generally accomplished by the use of ground and foliar sprays (i.e.
BD500 and 501 respectively). The compost preps BD502-507 work to bring the two polar fields of force into a balanced state.
The influence of Biodynamic composting and CPP on edible produce tones up the endocrine system – our energy systems – the charkas. As these energy systems are nourished, the quality of our intelligence is also enhanced.
Biodynamic farming supports the self-sustainable quality of traditional agriculture, with new more potent techniques. These techniques use minute quantities of potentized herbs to build and sustain living soil that produces quality food – to ensure proper nutrition.
Make your diet your medicine. Hippocrates
WHEAT GRASS JUICE
In 1940 Kohler wrote about
the ‘Miracle’ of wheat grass
i.e. the juice of wheat grass
consumed in minute quantities
for its nutritive qualities.
The first recorded instance
of the powers of wheat grass
are in the Old Testament.
When Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon,
took ill and all medicines failed,
he seemingly heard a divine voice advice him:
“Eat the grass as an ox eats.”
First-hand testimony of the health giving properties of wheat grass is available
from the BDAI Secretariat.
Ever noticed David a little green around the gills? Now you know why!
Wheat Grass Recipe