Why Biodynamic is so important ..Alex Podolinsky

“There are laws against humans killing each other – Societies to prevent cruelty to animals – Ecology targets plants

Mother Earth is treated like dirt”

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Alex (as he asks to be called) took up Steiner’s challenge of making the Bio-Dynamic method available to “all farmers”.  By applying and refining the method on his own farm, and then by working closely with other farmers from a multitude of enterprises since the early 1950’s, he was able to bring the teachings of Steiner’s down to a more practical level.  He supported his very keen observations with a clear and conscious methodicity of explanation and understanding.  He was the first to recognise that plants have two types of root systems;  one for the uptake of water which supports the transpiration process; and much finer white “hair roots” which are the feeder roots.  Under both natural, and correctly managed Bio-Dynamic systems, these two processes occur independently of each other  (read more).  With artifically fertilised, or even organically fertilised systems, the feeder root system is often impared or even destroyed.Alex Podolinsky is one of the outstanding pioneering individuals in Bio-Dynamics. He is mainly responsible for the wide spread and highly successful application of Bio-Dynamic farming in Australia.  Where it is practiced in situations from small market gardens up to 10,000 acre (4000 ha) wheat and sheep farms, and large Station properties.   Every conceivable crop is produced Bio-Dynamically.

Due to Alex’s life long dedication to the Bio-Dynamic Method, he has been at the forefront of providing farmers world wide with a sustainable, health imbibing alternative Agricultural method.  Many Australian, as well as European and from elsewhere have embraced this practical application of the Bio-Dynamic Method, which, if correctly applied, does not rely on large amounts or even any, of off farm inputs, The mark of true sustainablity.  The results of their efforts are clearly visible in the humus formation and soil re-structuring that occurs on their farms, often in a very short space of time.

In Australia, virtually every aspect of farming has had to be reinvented by the Bio-Dynamic growers, due to the fragile state of the denatured soils, the harshness of the climate and the absence of price supports.  Bio-Dynamic farmers on larger farms have had to fashion the technological means to till, plant, and spray out the preparations on thousands of acres in a narrow window of time.  This ability has resulted in a new culture of farming that is able to create biologically active soils of highest quality out of the most hostile conditions imaginable.  As Alex puts it, “Bio-Dynamics gives a chance for total redemption of soils”.

Alex has dedicated more than 55 years of his life to organic and bio-dynamic activities.  By the 1970’s he was already a member of IFOAM.  All  those who have witnessed him representing his subject comment on the animated fire and inspiration with which he delivers his message.  He is uncompromising in his insistence of highest professional standards in Bio-Dynamics, and rock solid in his understanding of how Bio-Dynamics works.  When he walks over field and garden, he seems tireless and spry, his small, wiry frame full of quickness and ease.  His observing, which he calls “Active Perception”, is unceasingly in practice.  He is constantly on the look out for some aspect of cultivation or management that can be improved by more careful application of the Bio-Dynamic method.  With real farmers and gardeners, his conversations are brief, to the point, and professional.  He knows they can understand from the practical aspects of what he says.

Although Soil, the Earth and Real Food for consumers are Alex’s priorities, he has also been exceedingly active regarding his other interests:    In Education for instance Alex found both the Melbourne Steiner and Gilgai Schools, as well as founding homes for children in need of special care, and training many Steiner and Curative School teachers.  In  ‘Art and Beauty of Environment’  he both designed and built numerous buildings, ranging from domestic houses, to Kindergartens, School and Curative Function Rooms, and even a Skyscraper.   He has a background of education and psychology;  was a performing child and youth musician and sculptor;   has a strong sense for world history; and was a successful dairyman and orchardist.

The remarkable success Bio-Dynamics has achieved inAustralia, which can be traced back directly to Alex’s efforts, makes it clear that it truly does have enormous potential in world agriculture.  These achievements are certainly awe-inspiring and are why a number of farmers in other countries have sought his assistance, and taken up the challenge of that practical advice.  Linda Bullard (former IFOAM President) after attending one of Alex’s lectures and field walks in Italy in 1999 wrote:  “…I count myself very lucky to have been able to hear Alex Podolinsky lecture and then to see his teachings so effectively applied at Agrilatina.  That soil transformation was a miracle!  I have never seen anything like it!…”

Alex has not rested on his achievements. Despite his age, he continues to farm and to travel around Australia and overseas, always providing his advice and insight free of charge. Last year he gave an important lecture to the staff at FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture) in Switzerland, followed by farm visits detailing practical aspects of the Bio-Dynamic method.  Many joined in with the FiBL team when they wrote to him expressing their thanks and gratitude for his “mission to open peoples eyes  –  and minds.”

Read the Address presented by Alex Podolinsky at the  IFOAM 2005 World Congress held in Adelaide, Australia.

For further information on the Bio-Dynamic Method, or about publications and teaching videos by Alex Podolinsky visit:  http://www.demeter.org.au

Info from IFOAM

Biodynamic UK: http://www.biodynamic.org.uk/