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Biodynamics and Permaculture

August 11, 2010

We’ve been getting some questions recently about the relationship between biodynamics and permaculture and how they may overlap. Mark Shepard, who will be talking about these synergies during one of our National Conference workshops, gave us a brief overview…with caveats, of course, that this is a complex topic not easily boiled down into a soundbite!

The 2010 Biodynamic National Conference is less than two months away and momentum is growing! Check out all the details on our conference page. We hope to see you there!

According to Rudolf Steiner, one of the stated goals for farmers to create is an independent farm individuality — a self-reliant farm organism. Steiner gave several exercises for people to undertake so that they would be able to perceive invisible forces and begin to work with them. He also stated that each farm entity had to discover and design into the farm, the proper proportions of meadows and forests, thickets, brush, streams, and ponds, and to discover the proper kinds and quantities of livestock to have on the farm. When this goal is accomplished, the farm will become a closed-loop, self-sustaining individual entity. In my workshop we will go over all this with footnotes, exercises, and references etc.

Permaculture (Permanent Agriculture/Permanent Culture) is a design methodology whereby human beings consciously create their own self-sustaining habitat that, (according to Bill Mollison, the movement’s founder) is ecologically sound and economically profitable. Permaculture relies heavily on observation of nature. Everywhere in the universe there are observable patterns. The patterns of nature reveal functions and invisible forces that are at work. Understanding the invisible forces is done via the patterns that they leave in the material world. These patterns can then be imitated in our farm and garden design in order to manifest those forces and functions naturally without expensive, external inputs.

My opinion is that all biodynamic farmers, if they stick with it and really dive deep to understand Steiner’s Agriculture Lectures and really (not just on paper, workshops, or blogs) strive to create a self-sustaining farm individuality in reality on planet earth, they will eventually find themselves farming in what can be called a Permaculture system — an ecologically sound, economically profitable farm individuality with the proper proportions of meadows and woods, thickets, streams, forests, and livestock.

This little statement is hardly a definition either of Biodynamics or Permaculture, but it indicates what we’ll be discussing in my presentation.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 12, 2010 2:30 am

    Great Article!
    Thanks for posting this one..

    M

  2. August 15, 2010 2:34 pm

    Wonderful song birds plus crows and hawks were here looking at our broilers and hens. I yelled at them to chase them away. It worked, but then the three hawks came back. I yelled louder and they flew off the electric chicken wire fence. A few stray thistles are feeding the wild canaries. Some sheep and lambs grazed the pasture after the rain stopped. I like birds to keep the sheep parasite free.
    We use diatomaceous earth. We ordered a field broadcaster and understand it can help put diatomaceous earth from betwen the stars on our farm. My husband’s computer background image has photographs taken by the Spitzer space telescope showing all the dust between the stars. We find this extremely stimulating. As a retired research physicist, he used to think that there was an absolute dust- free vacuum between the stars. Janet and Paul G. Baer Jarrettsville, MD 21084

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