About Organic Farming
What is BioDynamic Farming?
by Amanda Wilson
In a biodiverse farm, every creature has its own reason to be. All parts are interconnected, interdependent and all have a direct effect on one another. Elizabeth Candelario of Demeter USA, an organization which certifies farms and food “biodynamic” whose standards are cleaner and more pure than “organic,” says that biodiversity “involves managing a farm utilizing the principles of a living organism.
The view of the farm organism extends beyond the fence line and includes the tangible and intangible forces that work through it. Examples include climate, inherent wildlife (above and below ground), the light and warmth of the sun, and even the more distant astronomical influences. Biodynamic agriculture attempts to harmonize all of these forces within a holistic, living farm system. The food that results is very pure and true to its essence and provides deeply penetrating nutrition that is essential to an increasingly unhealthy human population.”
Day-to-day practices of biodiversity is not just minimizing the farms’ dependency on imported materials, but instead it strives to become regenerative rather than degenerative. The farm becomes organized so that the waste of one part of the farm becomes the energy of another part -- increasing the farms’ ability to self-renew and acquire sustainability.
To understand how we can actually reverse effects like climate change and soil degradation, we must first understand the cause. We have all been exposed to a degree to the case of global climate change and are all fairly aware of greenhouse gas emissions and conventional methods of farming contributing to these emissions. But even more, when you add in the distribution of the foods -- from seed to shelf -- it becomes the number one man-made contributor of greenhouse gases. And it's not just the harvesting and transportation; even just the act of plowing fields releases carbon dioxide into the air. There is also high amounts of methane around stockyards from animals who, instead of foraging on a free range, are forced to eat hay and oats thereby building up gas in the animals’ stomachs resulting in the methane. Conventional farming uses fossil fuels to produce fertilizers, disrupting the plant's ability to process carbon from the atmosphere so it can build soil. These mono-crop farms also inhibit the ability for the earth to absorb and reflect light and heat.
So now the question is, how do we actually reverse the damage that has taken place? And the answer is through regenerative farming. We cannot expect to change the projectory of climate change without changing the way we farm. The time has come to take responsibility of our actions, respect the fragility of this giant spinning globe, and reimagine farming.
What actions is Yarrowhead Farms taking to contribute to regenerative farming?
Well for starters, we are constantly educating ourselves through research, and utilizing primitive and modern holistic methods of farming: broadforking each plot by hand, for example, to ensure there is little to no tilling. This preserves the soil biology and the micro-communities that exist just under our feet, combating soil erosion and promoting water and organic matter absorption.
We also focus on the health of the soil since it is literally the foundation of the farm organism. By utilizing cover crops and compost, this allows botanical species diversity and predator habitat, creating a natural defense against disease and pests.
And finally we have dedicated ourselves to sharing this knowledge that is ever-progressing with individuals, families, food advocates, and other regenerative farmers to help heal our health, our lives, our future, and our planet.⚪