It was the third time the phrase ‘biodynamics’ was brought up that day, when someone finally asked Tamara to explain what exactly biodynamics were. And I’ll never forget how she explained it; first she paused, in a way that I comprehended to mean, she didn’t know where to begin. She then said…”Oh man, biodynamics is like burying a sheep’s horn, bathed in some elixir, by the light of the full moon.” (Or something like that…). And immediately I thought, so it’s like witchcraft. And I was hooked. I made a note in my notebook to research all things and everything about biodynamics so I too could be a garden witch.
A week later I can safely say my research did not disappoint, and although it isn’t necessarily the witchcraft I once thought it was, it’s still a fascinating, holistic and spiritual approach to farming and agriculture, and probably the closest any modern farming system could get to witchcraft. Biodynamic farming encompasses multi-function and interrelated farm systems as well as astrological plantings and herbal or mineral additives (What Is Biodynamics?, 2016). So it appears that permaculture and biodynamics go hand-in-hand, both incorporate aspects of multi function systems as well as an essence of sustainability and community. What I found most compelling about biodynamic farming was the spiritual component. I found the emphasis on harmony not only between systems but between humans and their respective landscapes truly fascinating and inspiring. In my research I couldn’t help but uncover the more than various accounts of skepticism surrounding this agricultural technique, and the majority of them surrounded the idea that it had no scientific reasoning behind the methods, and often times the yield on biodynamic farms were the same, if not in some cases, less than regular organic farm practices. However, I still think that biodynamic farming is worthy of appreciation because it provides farmers with something more than just an increased yield or income. It includes a greater force, an aspect of magic and powerful, mindful, inputs and incantations. I think this has more power that the skeptics seem to think. By increasing a connection between people and the environment, this means that not only the farmscape will be treasured and appreciated but the entire earth. I can’t think of any reason why increasing an appreciation and sense of magic in nature could do any harm for humanity or the environment. Incorporating biodynamic approaches into permaculture design would only increase the respect, care and love put into the use and maintenance for the system. Which in my opinion, would only create healthier, happier and possibly more productive systems.
The ideologies behind biodynamics seem to go against most mainstream environmental associations we have been familiarized to. Capitalism has taught us to commodify nature, and treat it as a resource for us to take from mindlessly, neglecting any kinship we feel, in favour of increased production and consumption. It is incredibly refreshing to see power being given back to the Earth. Increased yields or not, the increased mindfulness and association to natural systems make biodynamic agriculture truly magical.
What Is Biodynamics? (2016). Biodynamics Association. Retrieved from: https://www.biodynamics.com/what-is-biodynamics