from the Biodynamic Agricultural Association UK Interviewee:
Bernard Jarman (Director)
Company: Biodynamic Agricultural
Date of Interview: 26/05/2009
we would like to thank you for
agreeing to participate in this interview and sharing your thoughts and
beliefs on a very interesting farming concept that has been around for
some time. However, despite this, I am sure that there are many farmers
and small plot owners who have never heard about Biodynamic farming.
1.) Could you please give us a
brief overview of the concept of Biodynamics and what it is your
organization hopes to achieve?
Biodynamic farming and gardening is the
oldest consciously organic approach. It was inspired by a series of
lectures given by Rudolf
Key principles are:
- Work with and not against nature
- Stay within the living (no chemicals and artificials)
- Create a self-sustaining, closed system farm (home produced
feed and fertility)
- Enhance soil vitality
- Work with life rhythms of nature and cosmos
- See life in its widest spiritual-cosmic context
The BDAA disseminates information about
Biodynamic food and farming, trains Biodynamic farmers and gardeners,
runs workshops and introductory days, operates the Demeter
certification scheme (guaranteeing that Biodynamic methods are
followed). There are Biodynamic organizations throughout the world
which we are linked to.
New members are welcome to join as
farmers, gardeners or simply as interested persons.
2.) To the man in the street,
it may not be very different to organic farming, except with a
spiritual element. Would you like to comment on this statement and
also, could you tell us how Biodynamics can benefit the organic farmer
who is already improving the soil with manures, exercising natural pest
control and conscious of sustainable farming practices?
Biodynamic and organic
farming have the
common objective of using organic
manures and composts
to build up
fertile and living soil and avoid all artificial fertilizers, GM
material and poisonous chemicals. The Biodynamic concept embraces an
understanding of nature and the human being which embraces not only
soil biology and the ecosystem but also the primary spiritual forces
working behind them. These include influences streaming in from the
sun, moon and stars as well as those of the many diverse forms of life
on our planet. Biodynamic practices aim to enhance the vitality of the
soil, plants, animals and ultimately human beings. The key to doing
this is by conceiving the whole farm as a living individualized
Biodynamic measures can help organic
farmers by providing tools for enhancing the health of their plants and
animals, increasing soil vitality and producing wholesome well balanced
and flavorsome food.
3.) Does the ritual of
planting horns with various substances beneath the soil, and then
retrieving them later on have any scientific research to prove that
there are additional benefits to produce being grown with such
Cow horns are used for making two
special Biodynamic spray preparations. One is made by filling the horns
with cow manure, the other with finely milled quartz. Both are placed
in the soil for six months, one over winter , the other over summer.
The first helps plants to root and find what they need from the soil,
the second strengthens resistance and enhances ripening. Both have been
used by Biodynamic farmers for nearly 90 years to good effect. Their
positive effects have also been backed up by numerous experimental
trials in various parts of the world.
4.) A number of vineyards have
adopted this form of agriculture. Why do you think that this particular
sector of agriculture appears to be using Biodynamics with such vigor,
as opposed to others that have been more cautious in adopting your
Wine is the one product whose quality
is primarily determined by flavor. Time and again Biodynamic produce
has been shown to have enhanced flavor. Local flavors are essential
too and wine growers know that Biodynamic methods increase plant
sensitivity and enable vines to draw up the minerals unique to the
specific site resulting in special local flavors.
5.) Are there any limitations
I think Biodynamics has huge potential
in many areas. It is applicable throughout the world and for all forms
of agriculture, horticulture, sylviculture and land management.
6.) What does the future hold
for Biodynamics? Is it just a fad, or is it here to stay?
The destructive consequences of current
chemical intensive monoculture systems are apparent for all to see. The
regeneration of our soils needs Biodynamic methods. This is huge future
task. Biodynamic food is also important for the health of the
population. Biodynamic is at the beginning of its development and will
be need more and more in years to come.
would like to Bernard Jarman
for this very insightful and comprehensive interview.
we wrote an
article on Biodynamics
which gives further information on the subject.
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