There is a need for a revolution in our garden and on our plates!
Our modern 21st century life has largely dictated that the way we view food is one of the consumer, taking for granted it’s production and consumption with little left over in the way of reverence or even simple appreciation of it’s presence and origin. The current conventional farming systems have left a soil behind that is depleted and nutritionally empty, ultimately producing crops for the masses that lack nourishing vitality. This is to say nothing of the chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that repeatedly enter our soils, ecosystems and bodies, which is why many of us have chosen to grow as much of our own food as possible. The result is that global ecosystems have gone haywire, and modern agriculture has put us on a destructive path of food consumption which does more harm than good to the earth and our bodies.
But you already know all that.
And you have probably sought to enlighten your health habits, your shopping choices, and even how you garden. You also know on some deep gut level and in your heart that this all necessitates a shift in our consciousness. But…you are wondering how and where to start.
Let’s start where countless of other cultures and farmers have-working the soil in harmony with the primal forces of the earth and planets. Humans have respected and farmed with these energies as their guides for thousands of years. It was the way. In the early 1920’s the Austrian educator Dr. Rudolph Steiner gave some of these ideas a voice with an agricultural philosophy later called Biodynamics. Biodynamics is a practice (organic, natch) that works to enhance crops growth, nutritional value and flavor by vitalizing and healing the soil with energized herbal preparations and compost, in tandem with unseen “cosmic” forces of nature. In a sense, it goes beyond modern organic methods. Seedlings are planted in a biologically robust soil according to a lunar calendar, and crops are harvested at a time which provides maximum flavor and nutrition. Everything that can be composted- is composted. The microcosm of the farm or garden is taken into consideration as it’s own, unique living entity, and treated as such. Special potentized manure and herbal preparations are sprayed onto crops and soil to increase overall health and humic content of soil. Biodynamic gardens and farms are in balance ecologically and spiritually, as they unify practical methods with the acknowledgement of the sacredness of all living things and cycles. In a sense, it philosophically and practically seeks to end the dualism between the self and surrounding nature, and stresses balance and connection to earth energies. The farmer or gardener is deeply attuned to their land and it’s natural rhythms, which provides a basis for advanced consciousness and in turn, highly effective farming and gardening. It all sounds lofty and mystical, and in many respects…it is! Gloriously so. But the bottom line is that these practices truly work and you will see noticeable results from even one season of gardening biodynamically. In your garden, as well as in your own personal consciousness.
Loretta Allison is a prop and floral stylist who gardens biodynamically in her South Pasadena garden. She is also soon to be part of the Altadena Farmer’s Market collective, selling biodynamically grown winter garden seedlings to the people.