BIODYNAMIC FARMING: AN ECO-FRIENDLY APPROACH
Growing concerns about the environmental, economic and social effects of chemical-dependent conventional agriculture have led many farmers and consumers to seek alternative practices and systems that will make agriculture more sustainable. Alternative farming systems include ‘organic’, ‘biological’, ‘biodynamic’, ‘ecological’, and ‘low input’. However, just because a farm is “organic” or ‘Biodynamic,’ for example, does not mean that it is sustainable. To be sustainable, it must produce food of high quality, be environmentally safe, protect the soil, and be profitable and socially just. Recently, there has been increasing interest in biodynamic farming. Concept of biodynamic farming is based on eight lectures given by Dr. Rudolf Steiner. It is a spiritual approach. Biodynamic farming uses no synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and instead emphasizes building up the soil with compost additions and animal and green manures, controlling pests naturally, rotating crops, and diversifying crops and livestock. A major difference is that biodynamic farmers add eight specific preparations to their soils, crops, and composts to enhance soil and crop quality and to stimulate the composting process. The eight preparations, designated by their ingredients or by the numbers 500 to 507, are made from cow manure, silica, flowers of yarrow, chamomile, dandelion and valerian, oak bark, and the whole plant of stinging nettle. Some biodynamic farmers make the preparations themselves while others buy them from certifying biodynamic associations or experienced practitioners.
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