This past weekend, at the Nashville Earth Day Festival I had the opportunity to hang around one of Nashville’s incredible biodynamic farmers: David Daily of Real Food Farms in Franklin, TN. First, off let me just say that David is hilarious and someone you just have to meet if you get the chance. During the festival, he would keep meeting people by saying, “Have you ever met a farmer before?” and stick out his hand, and then follow up with “Well, now you have” with a rolling laugh and proceed to discuss the practices of his farm and what he was all about. What he is all about is bio-dynamic farming.
Bio-dynamic Farming goes beyond organic. It’s not regulated by the USDA, and is somewhat of an intuitive process that requires a real connection to the land. At it’s core, it is about the soil.
“Farmers using his method also use nine homeopathic preparations to treat compost, soil, and plants. They also follow the rhythms of nature and the cosmos for tasks like seeding, and other on-farm rituals. Throw into the mix the fact that biodynamic farmers think in terms of processes and forces, as opposed to substances, and you have a whole new way of looking at agriculture.” (Source) Developed by Rudolf Steiner in 1924, bio-dynamic agriculture is a holistic system that treats the farm as an organism. The goal is a closed loop, where no inputs are brought on to the farm. Soil fertility is built through cover crops and on farm animal manure.
Biodynamic farming is considered one of the most sustainable methods of agriculture out there. “Central features of biodynamic agriculture include crop diversification, the avoidance of chemical soil treatments, decentralized production and distribution, and the consideration of celestial and terrestrial influences on biological organisms. A farm is conceived of as a holistic, self-contained entity, within which soil, crops, animals, and the farmers are interdependent parts. Important features include the use of livestock manures to sustain plant growth (recycling of nutrients), maintenance and improvement of soil quality, and the health and well being of crops and animals. Cover crops, green manures and crop rotations are used extensively and the farms foster bio-diversity.” (source)
If you are a fan of organic foods but want to get more in touch with the earth and a holistic approach to food, look no further than bio-dynamic practices. The more I learn, the more I realize how important this is to our soil’s health and ultimately my health and the methods and benefits of bio-dyamic farming can’t be ignored. These farmers are a game changer to our food system. I encourage you to do some research and seek out a bio-dynamic farmer near you.