The Biodynamic Agricultural Organism

The Biodynamic Agricultural Organism

Biodynamic agriculture is a complex system comprising agronomic practices, cultivation techniques, meteorological knowledge, and the creation of an ecosystem suitable for the growth of plants and animals. In the conference held in 1924 by Dr. Rudolf Steiner, which initiated biodynamic agriculture, the term "biodynamic agricultural organism" was introduced. The word "ecosystem" would be coined later, in 1935, when biodynamic farmers were already experimenting with the interactions highlighted by Steiner.

The fundamental themes underlying the concept of the "biodynamic agricultural organism" are relationship and agricultural individuality.

The relationships between plants, animals, mineral components, and humans can be guided and managed with the aim of achieving a good harvest in a healthy ecosystem. The biodynamic farm is not a spontaneous ecosystem, just as a wheat field or an orchard cannot spontaneously arise, but it is an ecosystem that respects the laws of nature and uses them to produce healthy and genuine crops.

Agricultural individuality consists of the characteristics that make each farm unique and recognizable. When entering a biodynamic farm, one immediately recognizes that they are in that specific place and not another. The biodynamic farm expresses the characteristics of those who care for it through plants, flowers, animals, and spaces.

A very important element in biodynamic farms are hedges, wooded strips, or forests. These are all green infrastructures that mitigate environmental impact, increase biodiversity, create habitats for beneficial insects and animals, and beautify the landscape. In biodynamics, these elements are considered the "skin" of the agricultural organism because they protect and create a diaphragm that filters what enters and leaves the farm. The positioning of hedges is very important because it can favor or slow down the wind in the crops. The daytime wind should be encouraged because it dries the plants and makes them less susceptible to fungal diseases, while the nighttime breeze should be managed because it tends to dry out the soils and carry away important nutrients.

Another interesting element on the farm are the vertically growing trees that we could define as "antenna trees". These trees, such as conifers, characterize the territory and release useful substances into the environment. They are capable of catalyzing a particular microecosystem of beneficial small animals and insects around them.

In biodynamics, great attention is also paid to water, both from rivers and lakes. Water is an extremely precious resource that must not only be safeguarded but also regenerated. The humus-rich soils of the biodynamic farm absorb, retain, and slowly release rainwater. Ditches and ponds are valuable elements where amphibians and reptiles, along with many microorganisms closely linked to lunar cycles, can reproduce. Without these wet spaces, these microorganisms would reside on our plants, causing them to become diseased.

Fruit trees are another very important element. In hedges or marginal lands, trees, including those bearing wild fruits, can grow, providing food and shelter for insects and small birds that are closely related to the health of our plants.

In biodynamics, animals play the fundamental role of circulating the energies created by the plant world. The plant world generates living matter from minerals, but to circulate this matter, nature uses animals, from small insects to large ruminants, including hardworking earthworms.

Lastly, in biodynamics, consideration is also given to the action of the cosmos, particularly the sun, which determines daily and seasonal cycles. Besides the sun, other celestial bodies have shown a significant influence on the world of plants and animals. For example, lunar rays can penetrate the soil up to twenty meters deep, as demonstrated by the research of Lili Kolisko. Each of these elements has a specific role and establishes relationships with all the others. The use of biodynamic preparations strengthens and activates these relationships, making the entire agricultural organism healthier and more resilient. By skillfully articulating and proportioning each element, a healthy, productive, and also very beautiful environment is created. On biodynamic farms, not only are healthy plants cultivated, but also beautiful landscapes.

di Elena Zaramella

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