Jennie Wilson writes:
As mentioned in my previous article, Tablehurst Farm Stock Bones, our farms are the Nation’s Primary Health Service. But not just any farm will do. We need real farms that produce real food to supply the quality and nutrient-dense foods we need to beat diseases and stay healthy naturally. One of the best blueprints for real farming we have is the biodynamic farm.
The biodynamic method of farming was the creation of Rudolf Steiner. This is set out in his Agriculture Course of eight lectures that were given in Koberwitz in Silesia (now Kobierzyce, Poland) in 1924. The link is to the book of these lectures which I recently read and would recommend.
Steiner realised the importance of agriculture stating that all interests of human life belonged to it. He was aware of the destructive nature of the modern economic realm on the production of food, and also, the fallacy of relying on scientific evidence as proof of how to farm. His propositions for farming were based on holistic and homeopathic theories.
I would aspire to farming along the lines of Masanobu Fukuoka as set out in his book The One Straw Revolution, an Introduction to Natural Farming and the link is to my book review for further details on this. However, I’ve been told by one farmer that nobody else seems capable of doing what Mr Fukuoka did in Japan. So it seems that the biodynamic way of farming comes the closest and that is why I support it.
I particularly agree with Mr Steiner that a farm has a self-contained individuality. This is especially important today because of the genetically modified foods and chemicals that are contaminating animal feeds, as well as, cloned animal issues. Seeds for crops can also be compromised with contamination from genetically modified varieties. Of course, artificial fertilisers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides have no place on a farm. I’ve written many articles on these issues on my B’org Food Chain blog.
Another point about biodynamic farming which is the same as Fukuoka’s natural farming is that heart and soul go into the work and this reflects in the end product. Steiner said that “when a man works at a thing himself he gives something to it which it retains.” Huge mono-culture farms have no heart or soul. They are dead and dead foods are produced on them. This is in stark contrast to the GAPS diet that I promote which is full of living organisms because of fermentation, but also because the foods used are all whole and prepared fresh. This diet requires foods that were grown symbiotically with soil microbes, sunlight and the rest of the ecosystem and a biodynamic farm has these goals as well.
Steiner said that “as in ancient times it was necessary for men to have knowledge entering into the inwardness of Nature, so do we now stand in need of such knowledge once again.” Fukuoka said that “farming used to be sacred work.” The body is the temple of the soul. The body needs nourishment. Producing the foods needed for the temple to sustain the soul is to my mind a spiritual endeavour.
Big agriculture and the corporate food industry do not take the spiritual into account. Science is relied upon and everything else is spurned as unreal. But Fukuoka pointed out that “to believe that by research and invention humanity can create something better than nature is an illusion.” Steiner also mentioned that scientists do not set out objective problems to solve, and the resultant research has no substance. In other words, science has lost the plot. Fukuoka started out as a scientist, but drew an analogy between the role of the scientist in society to the role of discrimination in our minds which leads to narrow-mindedness.
Mindfulness, deep breathing and meditation require looking inward to the temple that is our outer shell, our bodies. Both Steiner and Fukuoka incorporate this practice as part of farming. A diet such as the GAPS diet, also promotes this practice because it is looking inwards to the gut and the life therein to ensure that the temple is maintained in healthy balance. Steiner tied the life in the gut with that grown on the farm when he said that “for the forces we engender in our digestive tract are of a plant-like nature.”
With this in mind, I come to the Biodynamic Land Trust. In today’s economic climate with governments selling off lands, the continuation of enclosure, rocketing prices of farmlands, land-grabbing by transnational corporations and billionaires, etc, etc, how can we ensure small, organic farms will survive to produce the food needed to sustain us body and soul and for generations to come? One method is by using a trust in perpetuity. Trusts emerged in law as a means to ensure that property remained within a family, but can now be used in many situations including for farming purposes.
The Biodynamic Land Trust is currently raising money to buy Brambletye Fields in Forest Row, East Sussex for use by Tablehurst Farm which is primarily a meat producing farm. It is a community farm that works in conjunction with Old Plaw Hatch Farm which is primarily a dairy farm. Both farms have excellent shops and many activities for the public all year round.
More information on how to purchase a share in the Biodynamic Land Trust can be found on their website.
Food Sovereignty Day is on 18 October 2011 and events are being held at the House of Commons, London on this day which I will be attending. I’d like to think that the Biodynamic Land Trust is a step in the right direction towards building food sovereignty here in the UK. The situation worldwide is pretty dire and I hope you will join me in making a difference.
Jennie Wilson is a writer and consultant at Simple Food Recipies. This entry was originally published on her blog, which you can read here.