Biodynamic farming is an enhanced or alternative method of organic farming. Biodynamic utilises traditional farming techniques and a prescribed list of biological or natural “preparations”, whilst acknowledging and working with universal or cosmic forces that are at play in the farming environment. Many organic farmers practice biodynamic methods and the Australian Certified Organic certification program can cover both Biodynamic (or BD) certification as well as organic certification.
Biodynamic farming is regulated under the same standard in Australia as organic. Most countries have regulations for organic that cover both approaches and in this article when we talk organic we are also talking biodynamic.
The Biodynamic movement is typified by Rudolph Steiner who is viewed as the Grandfather of Biodynamics. Steiner outlined an entire philosophy of life, which included prescriptions for the way in which agriculture needed to be performed to ensure that natural life forces were evident in all foods produced. He warned that a lack of focus on cosmic influences and the use of natural approaches to farming and food production would have dire consequences for human society.
The key issue with biodynamics is the proper application of “preparations” which include 500 and 501 as well as a range of compost preparations that assist in the composting process and enable biodynamic processes to work at the soil level within composts.
The “preps” as they are called include the following: 500 is produced using BD cow manure that is packed into cow horns and buried through the winter months (when natural forces are drawing energies into the ground). In spring they are uncovered and to use this prep it is carefully and purposefully stirred with a machine that creates vortexes which further assists in energising the solution. This is then sprayed out on the farm at levels that are homeopathic in their application.
501 is a silica product aimed at assisting light entering the farming system. Some BD farms need more and some less of this depending on their own natural environment. The other preps are compost preps and include ingredients from natural sources to aid in the compost process and to further enhance the biodynamic processes on farm.
Biodynamic producers must meet all the relevant organic standard requirements outlined in section 4. The Biodynamic requirements can be found in section Annex 5 of the Australian Certified Organic Standard.
There are no additional requirements that processors need to meet if they want to sell processed product as Biodynamic. They only need to ensure they are using Biodynamic raw materials.