Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition that has been practiced for nearly a century, on every continent on Earth. Biodynamic principles and practices are based on the insights of renowned German scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner and have been developed through the collaboration of many farmers, scientists and researchers since the early 1920s. It may come as a surprise to some that one of the most important centers for the preservation of Biodynamics was right here in our remote little valley deep in the heart of the Emerald Triangle, where one of Rudolph Steiner’s most dedicated prodigies, Minerva Brooks, emigrated in the first half of the 20th century to escape the Nazi regime in Germany and bring Biodynamics safely out of Nazi Germany to the United States. Minerva had had a dream shortly after Steiner’s death, in which he came to her and very clearly uttered only one word, “Hyampom”. Minerva Brooks had never heard this word before in her life and had no clue as to its meaning. She did, however, embark upon a journey to the United States, initially landing in the Middle West somewhere. She continued her journey for “Hyampom”, discovering that there was such a place, named so by the Wintu Tribe, which had long inhabited the tiny remote river valley deep in the mountains of Northern California. She relocated here, where she spent the next 40 years running a Biodynamic farm in this pristine wilderness Valley.
Today, the Biodynamic movement encompasses thousands of regenerative gardens, farms, ranches, orchards, and vineyards, in a wide variety of climates, ecological contexts, and economic settings. Biodynamic farmers strive to create a balanced and diverse ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. A Biodynamic farm is the ultimate regenerative farm. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the soil and to enhance the nutrition, quality, and flavor of the food and products being raised.
Biodynamic practitioners also recognize and strive to work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant, and animal health. Perhaps this is why Biodynamics is sometimes misunderstood and considered to be like a form of witchcraft. As much as I love to think of myself as a witch having inalienable powers, in Biodynamics the connections between living things on Earth and the forces of the cosmos are astronomical in nature, not astrological or mythological.
In other words, we use science to determine astronomically which influences are having an effect on the Earth at any given time, and how those influences subtly affect living organisms of different types. It allows us to perceive ourselves and the plants, animals and soil we raise as part of a whole interconnected living organism that is The Farm. Furthermore, it allows us as The Farm to be holistically interconnected with the larger global energies of The Earth and the greater cosmic forces of The Universe. It provides us with a real, direct and simple approach to healing the Earth and ourselves. Biodynamics is thus not just a holistic agricultural system but also a potent movement for new thinking and practices in all aspects of life connected to food and agriculture. Witchcraft or Science, either way, it works.
I like to think of it more as a way of life.
Wild Band of Mystics,