Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (25/27 February 1861 – 30 March 1925) was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. Steiner gained initial recognition as a literary critic and cultural philosopher. At the beginning of the 20th century, he founded a spiritual movement, anthroposophy, as an esoteric philosophy growing out of idealist philosophy and with links totheosophy.
There is much more to say about Rudolf Stainer however for this article I want to specifically focus on bio dynamic farming.
The development of biodynamic agriculture began in 1924 with a series of eight lectures on agriculture given by philosopher Rudolf Steiner at Schloss Koberwitz in Silesia, Germany, (now Kobierzyce in Poland east ofWrocław). The lectures, the first known to have been given on organic agriculture, were held in response to a request by farmers who noticed degraded soil conditions and a deterioration in the health and quality of crops and livestock resulting from the use of chemical fertilisers. The one hundred and eleven attendees, less than half of whom were farmers, came from six countries, primarily Germany and Poland. The lectures were published in November 1924; the first English translation appeared in 1928 as The Agriculture Course.
Steiner emphasized that the methods he proposed should be tested experimentally. An “Association for Research in Anthroposophical Agriculture” (Versuchsring anthroposophischer Landwirte), directed by the German agronomist Erhard Bartsch, was formed to test the effects of biodynamic methods on the life and health of soil, plants and animals; the group published a monthly journal Demeter. Bartsch was also instrumental in developing a sales organisation for biodynamic products, Demeter, which still exists today. The Research Association was renamed The Imperial Association for Biodynamic Agriculture (Reichsverband für biologisch-dynamische Wirtschaftsweise) in 1933. It was dissolved by the National Socialist regime in 1941. In 1931 the association had 250 members in Germany, 109 in Switzerland, 104 in other European countries and 24 outside Europe. The oldest biodynamic farms are the Wurzerhof in Austria and Marienhöhe in Germany.
In 1938, Ehrenfried Pfeiffer‘s groundbreaking text Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening was published in five languages – English, Dutch, Italian, French, and German; this became the standard work in the field for several decades. In July 1939, at the invitation of Walter James, 4th Baron Northbourne, Pfeiffer travelled to the UK and presented the ‘Betteshanger Summer School and Conference on Biodynamic Farming’ at Northbourne’s farm in Kent. The conference has been described as the ‘missing link’ between biodynamic agriculture and organic farming because, in the year after Betteshanger, Northbourne published his manifesto of organic farming, Look to the Land, in which he coined the term ‘organic farming’ and praised the methods of Rudolf Steiner.
Today biodynamics is practiced in more than 50 countries worldwide. Germany, Italy and India are reported to be the leading countries in biodynamic agriculture based on biodynamic hectares.Demeter International is the primary certification agency for farms and gardens using the methods.
Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming that emphasises the holistic development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system. One of the first modern ecological farming systems, it emphasises a sustainable approach to agriculture.
Biodynamics has much in common with other organic approaches – it emphasizes the use of manures andcomposts and excludes the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include its treatment of animals, crops, and soil as a single ecosystem; an emphasis from its beginnings on local production and distribution systems; its use of traditional and development of new local breeds and varieties; and the use of an astronomical sowing and planting calendar.Biodynamic agriculture uses various herbal and mineral additives for compost additives and field sprays; these are sometimes prepared by mystical (and controversial) methods, such as burying ground quartz stuffed into the horn of a cow, which are said to harvest “cosmic forces in the soil”, and appear more akin to sympathetic magic than modern agronomy.
As of 2011 biodynamic techniques were used on 142,482 hectares in 47 countries; Germany accounts for 45.1% of the global total. Biodynamic methods of cultivating wine grapes have been taken up broadly, including by notable vineyards There are independent certification agencies for biodynamic products; most of these agencies are members of the international biodynamics standards group Demeter International.
Biodynamic agriculture has been characterized as pseudoscience. Its founder, Rudolf Steiner, and its developers characterize it as “spiritual science”. They advocate taking a holistic view rather than areductionist view.
It is easy to see how aggressive comercial mass farming is only resulting in negative effects for humans as well as for our worlds ecological system/ environment however it never seems to be clear enough and there is a sense of urgency to give alternative methods a chance in order to improve our human condition on this planet.
The great mistake is that we see us humans as an isolated privileged and superior individual, a separate factor from nature which is obviously not the case and by reserving such a view and operating with such a view we are just creating damages.
I want to suggest that the first step would be too observer the inter-connectiveness of all life.
If we cannot develop consideration for all things then our plans are only plans that are one-sided. It never has been more urgent to develop holistic plans, designs, systems etc- no matter what kind of company you are what profession you are in or what you do! New thinking and applying consideration is key.
We as chefs are at the heart of one of humanities big problems and we need to do more to suport sustainability and holistic visions for our food sources.
Many great chefs have already began great works and collectively we all must continue to strive for more mindful systems. We must continue creating awareness and education.
Profit driven projects would be so much better if integrated with new holistic consideration.
We cannot only be always taking and the principle of the American Indian of only taking what you need but also giving something back couldn’t be more important then in this day and age right now!
A very first and simple step is to try to see how everything in life is connected, nature is all holistic system then tried to develop consideration for everything and everyone as best as you can. From this trying to make better decisions and choices.
There is so much scientific and other very relevant researches that explains the nature of plants and animals and the world we live in.
A plant or an animal or human being is not a cardboard box yet we treat everything like a cardboard box thinking that we can just create more if we run out and that we have a endless resource of different kinds of sciences to create recourses of food and artificial environments designed to make us one day live completely independent from nature and still be able to survive.
Spain’s greenhouse effect: the shimmering sea of polythene consuming the land
To grow food all year, Almería is cloaked in plastic. But soil-free farming is bringing prosperity and problems
Some people mistakingly believe that all the environmental issues etc is just in effect of the increase of the human population and that artificial planning solutions, design solutions and so on are necessary for our human continuity.
This is just one example of how your vegetables arrive in the supermarket surely good for profit only!
Think local think seasonal and you do want to know where your food comes from!
We slaughter animals without consideration we used poisonous substances and artificial fertilisers to manufacture vegetables without consideration we make designs and architecture create cities without consideration for example by just adding consideration into your everyday life collectively we have the absolute potential to improve every single aspect of our future.
I just want to discuss the misconception of that animals don’t have feelings or don’t need consideration in the way that they are handled, fed or being slaughtered.
Just because they do not talk and express emotions like we do does not mean they have no feelings of fear, anxiety, pain etc:
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. It is a chemical messenger that helps in the transmission of signals in the brain and other vital areas. Dopamine is found in humans as well as animals, including both vertebrates and invertebrates.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.
So in a nut shel animals have a similar ” make up” as us humans to some degree so able to feel emotions as fear, depression, anxiety etc!
Many chefs and good produces understand very clearly that the way our produce and how we cultivate animals or fish and farming in general effects the taste, quality and nutritional value. More so they know they need a efficient eco system to support there farming isolated farming is not good you need to build a natural ecosystem.
If I only want to grow carrots for example and I dont have a ecosystem to help me grow them then I need to go buy fertilisers and so on leading to isolated farming that is potentially not as effective and environmentally friendly as a holistic cycle inlace to cultivate produce. If you have few animals plants etc and build a cycle of fertilising and growing naturally this will result in many benefits and healthier foods. This is just in a nutshel I know most of you who read this may hopefully know all this already.
Chefs do try to filter these messaged into our society for example at River Cottage: ( http://www.rivercottage.net/ ) not officially biodynamic but a good example of an active community and holistic approach.
(It is not important to name biodynamics what is important is how we think and how we work)
By treating things well nurturing and adopting a more considerate holistic system like Biodynamic principles for example we will be able to change our existence considerably.
This is only one of these alternative solutions that we can learn from. I am not saying this is the ultimate solution for everything and this is what everyone has to do however we have to look ourselves for ways in order to not poison ourselves and this planet.
I am not a professional writer ,DR, Scientist etc as everyone knows and it’s difficult for me to express these important ideas and examples, there are many other people like Rudolf Stainer who articulates things much more then I ever could do, however I do feel a sense of urgency and therefore share my views on my blog in order to support and help improve our collective awareness and consideration and responsibilities that we have as human beings on this planet to safe our natural environment that we are so blessed to have.
I did not add the entire documentary links just go to you tube to see the rest of the documentary please….