The bio-dynamic idea of the farm as an 'organism' or living entity


The farm is an independent entity (system) in itself.

Thus it has :

  • an internal environment in which various agents of the farm interact
    among themselves;
  • a dynamic relationship with its external context.

"The human being, who guides and directs the beginning, the course and the end of natural growth process, is the strongest force of nature. His capacity is the final decisive factor."
- Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer


Biodynamic extends this view to that of the farm having its individuality; characteristics and behaviours that are a resultant of a matrix of its unique set of actors that the farm has a relationship with.
The farmer is the core influencer in this matrix. 
3 axis polarity A three-axis polarity holds the farm in natural equilibrium:
  • Cosmic: shaping agent for form and substance
  • Light and Warmth: bring about the activity of light in the soil
  • Earthly: agency for humus, water, calcium and nitrogen
Biodynamic Farm

Biological Management means reconciling the life conditions of a healthy enduring producing system with economic necessities and with the skills and interests of the farmer.

Features of a biodynamic farm:

  • self-sustaining for manures and animal fodder
  • benefits and is in harmony with Nature rather than exploiting her
  • a mixed and diverse farm - the right balance of animals and crops
  • recycling within the farm, avoiding waste
  • safe pest control methods
  • application of BD preps
The ideas put forth and further development by the biodynamic school since 1924, are now in synthesis with the Living Systems Theory.

Living Systems Theory

Living systems are identified as open self-organizing living things that interact with their environment that can take in from the environment the inputs of information and material-energy they need. Regardless of their complexity, they each depend upon the same essential twenty subsystems (or processes) in order to survive and to continue the propagation of their species or types beyond a single generation.

Emergence and Interaction: The properties (or behavior) of a system as a whole emerge out of the interaction of the components comprising the system.

The application of the Living Systems Theory to the Agriculture and Development has led to the focus area - Farm Systems Research

Farm Systems Research

Scope of study for the Farm Systems Research (FSR)

  • a complex interrelated matrix of soil, plants, animals
  • implements, power, labour capital and other inputs controlled in part by farming families
  • influenced to varying degrees by political, economic, institutional and social forces that operate at many levels.
  • refers to the farm as an entity of interdependent farming enterprises carried out on the farm. 


FSR Initiatives in India

Indian Institute of Farming Systems Research (IIFSR) with focus on farming systems research was established in 2009 by Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi at Modipuram, Meerut (Uttar Pradesh). Integrated Farming Systems research is conducted for five major ecosystems, i.e., arid, semi-arid, sub-humid, humid and coastal, representing 15 agro-climatic zones to develop location-specific system based technologies. It also manages The Network Project on Organic Farming (NPOF). The major research programmes identified are Integrated Farming System Management (IFSM), Cropping System & Resource Management (CSRM), Organic Agriculture System (OAS), Technology Transfer & Human Resource Development (TTHRD).

  Read: Farm as an Organism - John Paull  Read: Farming Systems Approach - Dr. M.A. Kareem