Biodynamic agriculture is both a philosophy and practice within the sustainable agriculture movement. Using a systems-ecological approach, it draws on a philosophical model articulated in eight lectures given in 1924 by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), an Austrian scientist and philosopher. Steiner delivered these “Agriculture Course” lectures in response to observations from farmers – that soils were becoming depleted and that the health and quality of crops and livestock were diminishing following the introduction of chemical fertilizers.
Biodynamics moves beyond the agro-ecological paradigm, combining “biological” agriculture with an understanding of “dynamic” ecological systems. The “dynamic” part of the practice takes a broader perspective to enhance metaphysical aspects (the life forces) and natural rhythms originating from the cosmos (solar, lunar, planetary and stellar). Steiner encouraged farmers to consider each farm as an organism: a self-contained entity with its own individuality, and to develop a personal relationship with it.
Ecological farming is a human endeavour to create and maintain a sustainable ecosystem. Biodynamic farming adds the potential that farming can also have a healing effect on the soils. Growing crops in healthy, enlivened soil will yield food with more vitality which in turn will help stimulate our own thinking, feeling and willing. Its aim is to produce food that nourishes body, soul and spirit.