spiritual farming

UnknownHuh, you might ask?  Yes, there is such a thing, and it is called biodynamic farming.  The Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Association’s website defines it as a “spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, food production and nutrition.”  images Fred Kirschenmann, author of Cultivating an Ecological Conscience, explained in his 2010 keynote address at the conference of the association, that the present big-ag paradigm of maximum efficiency is geared towards short-term gain, and is only possible through specialization and simplification (the small picture, immediate gratification).  However, he says, farms need to be run more like organisms (the Gaia principle), in sync with nature.

Unknown 1We need a new agricultural paradigm, what with the bees dying, crop varieties diminishing (Tom Standage reports that “of the 7,100 types of apple (!!!) that were being grown in America in the 19th century…6,800 are now extinct.”  WOW!), monocultures that discourage insect and bird variety and promote disease, and GMOs and pesticides as misguided solutions to increasing production with short-minded profit in mind.  While there is so much more to say about the deficiencies of the present paradigm, I’d rather look towards the future and better solutions.

Organic agriculture, sustainable agriculture, permaculture, and biodynamics are all promising alternatives, of which the first is the most profit and least nature oriented (yep).  The term permaculture comes from the contraction of permanent and culture and agriculture (there is indeed no culture without agriculture).  Permaculture is a completely sustainable agri/culture practiced in symbiosis with local nature and without waste.  Biodynamics incorporates more lofty principles.  Just like permaculture it works with the farm in a symbiotic wasteless cyclical organism-like relationship.  In addition, though, it takes into account our embeddedness in the larger cosmic picture, and considers the planetary influences on seeds, crops and soil, and works with “homeopathic” soil enhancements since the health of the soil is first and foremost in growing minerally rich produce, the ultimate aim of agriculture.

healthy soil = healthy food = healthy body