There are fresh and packaged products in stores worldwide with a ‘biodynamic’ label inscribed on them. Although it started almost twenty years ago, it has picked popularity and flourished more in recent years. Biodynamic farming is the result of scientific work carried out by an Austrian scientist, artist, and educator known as Rudolf Steiner. In biodynamic farming, the farm is viewed as a self sustaining and self-contained organism.
The whole system is composed of the health of the farm animals, the farm, the farmer, and the earth. Biodynamic farmers avoid synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, transgenic contamination and focus on farm generated solutions to increase fertility and control pests. They also set aside a minimum of 10% of their land for the purposes of biodiversity.
Biodynamic practices and principles
Biodynamic farming involves farm management through the principle of living organism. A good example of the concept of a living organism is in a forest ecosystem. Recycling of the organic material and matter generated by the system provides fertility and feed. Biodynamic agriculture follows such principles.
Biodynamic farming involves creating of a farm system that does not rely on imported or external inputs. Its needs are met from within the living dynamics and organisms on the farm. Waste from one section of the farm produces energy from the other thus ensuring sustainability and increase of the capacity of the farm to self-renew. Biodynamic farming has several advantages.
Enhanced quality of vegetables
Adopting biodynamic agriculture ensures that the crops which are grown are of higher quality on top of benefitting the environment. Biodynamic produce has higher vitamin levels, better flavor, and overall higher nutritional value.
Farmers who practice this form of agriculture realize higher yields per acre. On top of that, there is a difference in taste between organic produce and that produced using chemicals. There are available figures provided by Demeter USA to show a significant difference in nutrient content.
Better mechanisms for improved quality.
Intensive agriculture which involves the use of synthetic and monoculture leads to soils having poor quality. Good quality vegetables cannot be grown in such poor quality soils. Farmers using such practices end up adding more fertilizers to enhance production which only makes the situation worse.
However, with dynamic farming methods, such as the use of organic preparations and compost manure, soil is fertilized naturally and revitalized in the process.
This is achieved through the addition of bacteria and humus to the soil. The nutritional value and structure of the soil is improved with the plants becoming more resistant to diseases and draught. Vegetables thus have the optimal conditions to grow and produce to their full potential. The choice of crops and the methods used to grow them also improves the quality of biodynamic crops.
When legumes are grown, they add the soil extra nitrogen. Crop rotation helps to control pests and pathogens and improves the fertility of the soil. Timings of planting and harvesting can also be used to effectively the crops’ resistance to pests and diseases.
Improved nutrient quality
It is a common fact that foods high in nutrition prefer nutritious soils. According to a study conducted in 2007 by researchers in the United Kingdom, vegetables that had been grown organically showed up to 40% higher levels of vitamins as compared to those produced through conventional methods.
Results quoted in the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association of Australia indicated that biodynamic produce has higher levels of zinc and iron compared to those grown using synthetic fertilizers. With higher levels of nutrients, people are able to live healthy lives and boost their immune systems through consumption of vitamin c and zinc to fight common diseases.
Enhanced flavor and higher yields
According to a study carried out in California and published in the American journal of ecology, grapes that were produced through biodynamic farming methods showed better taste quality than those produced through normal farming methods. This was based on their sugar content. Although farmers who use intensive farming methods boast of high produce, biodynamic farming also has the potential and ability to match those quantities with its produce having higher quality.
Unlike conventional and intensive farming methods that exploit the earth, biodynamic agriculture emphasizes contribution back to the earth. By using available means from within and avoiding external farm inputs such as fertilizers, biodynamic farming is fully sustainable. It has the ability and potential to produce enough food not only for the American population but also worldwide.
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