Organic food has become increasingly more common in Australian food outlets. In the recent past, consumers had to seek out specialist supermarkets to obtain their organic goods and produce. But as the popularity of organic food soars, so does it's accessibility. While the term, "organic" and what it stands for is quite well known, the biodynamic approach to farming isn't quite as commonly understood. It hasn't yet received the same hype as organic agriculture. Regardless, while these 2 forms of farming have similarities and differences, both are highly regarded and respected in the health and food sectors.
The principles of organic farming date back to prehistoric times. They are;
- Fairness and
Organic farming in its modern form is a result of a resurgence in the first half of the 20th Century, when synthetic, non-organic methods began to rise in popularity. Organic farming involves specialised techniques which include crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control to ensure the food that's ultimately a result of the farming process is provided to the community in its most natural form. It aims at enhancing and sustaining everything from the soil to the people who consume the food. The approach organic farmers take is to work with existing ecological cycles. It has a focus on fairness to the environment and to those in the surrounding community. Organic agriculture should be managed responsibly with a view to protect the health of the environment and, in turn, of the people within it.
Biodynamics originated in the early 1920s when further concern arose for the quality of soils, plants and animals. With the advice of Rudolf Steiner, the man who, among many other things, founded anthroposophy, a group of farmers founded the concept.
Biodynamic farming and gardening is, in essence, an enhanced version of organic agriculture. Its main goal is to achieve a diverse and balanced ecosystem, which focusses on producing healthy, well-structured soil which leads to healthy plants and animals.
Biodynamic farming principles rely on astrological cycles and consider the farm as a single entity or organism. Truly biodynamic farms remain segregated from their surrounding ecosystems. They are built to integrate all living organisms including plants, livestock and farmers.
While clearly quite different in their approach, organic and biodynamic farming techniques also have distinct similarities. Both farming methods;
- Avoid the use of pesticides or herbicides
- Produce healthier products than that of farms which use chemicals
- Respect ecological processes
- Respect the environment
- Respect the food
- Respect the people who ultimately consume the food
- Use natural methods to deter insects and
- Use natural methods to treat disease within a crop, herd or flock
Whichever method you choose to support or even if you support both, there is no right or wrong. Both organic agriculture and biodynamic agriculture are admirable forms of farming. But in the interest of keeping all food as natural as possible and therefore, keeping the population as healthy as possible, it's essential we support at least one. Chemicals are already far too prevalent in the foods available to us today and while the quality of supermarket produce is on the improve, the organic and biodynamic farmers need the support of us, the community, to further boost that growth.
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