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What is Biodynamics ?

Biodynamics represents a complete departure from the paradigm of conventional farming.  Conventional and Organic farming are at there heart driven by simple economic principles.  If high levels of inputs (fertilizer, herbicide, petroleum fuel, etc…) are necessary to achieve the desired production the primary concern is that the practice is profitable.  On the other hand a Biodynamic farm strives to be a self-sustaining entity creating maximum outputs with minimal or no inputs other than labor.

To minimize our inputs we need to keep our farm entity healthy.  We need balance among the three farm components, the plant (etheric), the animal (astral) and the human (ego).  In nature there is a balance between plants and animals.  Many farms tend to upset this balance by emphasizing one plant or one animal and in time this imbalance can lead to sick animals or weak plants.  Every Biodynamic farm needs both animal and plant crops to create a sustainable entity that requires few inputs.

At the center of Biodynamics is creating a living soil.  If the soil is poor, space is devoted to animals and composting their manure to build the soil.   Also growing cover crops and tilling them into the soil helps to build up organic matter.  Then when the soil is healthy, moving to a permanent cover crop so as to minimize the human impact on the soil.

Compost is one of the best tools we have for creating a living soil.  The act of composting manure has many benefits.  The heat of composting kills pathogens and incorporates the nitrogen into a more complex and balanced nutrition for plants.  The mysterious side of Biodynamics involves the compost preparations.  These are a collection of plants each selected for their particular qualities and in combination with different parts of an animal are buried in the ground.  Adding these preparations to the compost pile brings a strong and harmonious animal energy to the soil.

In discussing this energetic aspect of the farm I would mention that most farmers concern themselves primarily with a two to four foot layer of the earth namely topsoil.  In Biodynamics we think of the farm as a column that extends toward the earths center and out into the atmosphere.  One should be concerned for water pollution, light and noise pollution and the life that is present around us such as birds and insects.  On a farm that exhibits this kind of care you may notice there is a peaceful bubble surrounding the farm.  



Luke Bass,
Winemaker
Porter-Bass Vineyard  &Winery
Poco a Poco Wines