As a farm using biodynamic principles and processes, we see ourselves as contributing parts of a greater circle…not the owners of land and animals. We view our farm as a partnership with the land we live on, as well as with the animals and bees that live here with us. Literally from the ground up, all of our farming practices take into account the soil as a living organism. Our composing practices, elimination of all things chemical, natural methods for weed and pest control are all focused on building a strong, healthy soil. Unlike organic standards that just emphasize non-chemical and non-GMO methods, we believe that improving soil health provides more nutrient-dense and healthier products for our customers.
Biodynamics means so much more to us here on the farm than can be summarized in a quick paragraph. As the herbalist potentizes and impregnates medicines with intention, so to do we “potentize” our soils with specific biodynamic preparations. As an ethnobotanist there is an understanding of biodynamics to make all the latent vitamins and minerals in the soil available to the plants we grow. When these nutrients are readily available in the soil, the plant is able to uptake everything it needs to be healthy…negating the need for pesticide, fungicide or fertilizer. A plant that is fully healthy will not attract the attention of predatory insects and disease.
In the biodynamic mindset, we don't believe that soil fertility is something "missing" that should be brought in from an outside source. Instead, we believe much like the traditional healer that the health is there within the body of the soil and must just be re-awakened. Biodynamic preparations are combinations of potentized manure and composted herbs. We apply them to the soil much like we would apply an herbal tea to the human body in an effort to bring back health and balance.
Here on our farm we plant and harvest by the biodynamic calendar. In this way we harness the various forces (think gravity) that are acting upon us as we move closer and further in proximity to other bodies in our solar system. These forces are the actual "potentizers" of our composting preps and our soil. They ensure energetic balance, and therefore nutritive balance of our plants even as they enter the soil... ensuring a more potent medicine and food. This ability to return soil fertility is more and more important as we live in an age where our food supply is greatly denuded of nutrition due to depleted soils.
We also utilize companion planting... not in the traditional sense which is often concerned about how plants interact above ground, but instead, focusing on relationships that are also happening between these plants in the soil. In our orchard we interplant with comfrey. Above ground Comfrey is an aid in the orchard because it attracts pollinators and also because it falls over to produce mulch. This mulch is especially important in the orchard because of the levels of CO2 exchange that it can impact. This natural mulch, and the tendency for Comfrey to spread and outcompete, keeps grass out of the root area of your fruit trees. This is very important because grass promotes a high amount of CO2 exchange which drives roots deep and doesn't allow them to take advantage of micorrhizal relationships in the upper level of topsoil that help keep the fruit tree productive and healthy.
If you're interested in learning more about biodynamics, please visit us or check out the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association.