There are farmers who believe in biodiversity instead of monoculture. Farmers who build soil fertility without depending on chemicals. Farmers who go beyond organic. Farmers who do things the old way because they’ve already seen the new way and said, ‘No, thank you’.” – Douglas Gayeton

In this edition of the Food List, we are introduced to the principles and philosophies that guide biodynamic farming, a system outlined by Rudolf Steiner.

Biodynamic farming is much more than a method, it is a belief system — a holistic way of seeing and understanding the natural world. This perspective challenges input intensive industrial farming and, instead, focuses on regenerative practices. As one farmer reflects, “it’s harnessing the solutions that already exist in nature.”

Farmers are not merely producers, they are stewards of the land, responsible for balancing science and intuition. They are the keepers of the living organism that is the farm, providing medicine for the Earth. In doing so, farmers bring about maximum expression of the land.

To practice biodynamic farming, experts apply a diligent set of practices to the land. This is something that the Demeter Biodynamic Certification follows closely. To achieve this stamp of approval indicates that the farmers are closely adhering to the guidelines of animal, plant, soil, and water stewardship as laid out by Rudolf Steiner.

A fundamental principle of biodynamic farming is the building and maintenance of soil vitality. As a farmer in Illinois explains, building biodynamic compost is a critical element to bringing “aliveness” to the soil. This requires careful preparations for soil amendments and critical timing according to the cosmic rhythms.

As a biodynamic specialist reminds us, biodynamics is beyond organic, it’s a service to the Earth and to humanity. Think about different ways you can nurture an intricate biodynamic farm system.

This week's terms


Holistic and regenerative farming practices focused on the integration of plants, animals, soil health, and biodiversity. They keep the ecosystem in balance by producing the nutrients needed to nourish all aspects of the farm with a minimum of inputs imported from off site.

Demeter Certified Biodynamic

Demeter, named for the Greek goddess of agriculture, was formed in 1928 by a group of European farmers who were concerned with the impacts of industrial agriculture on their farms. Inspired by the view of a farm as a living organism- self contained, self sustaining, following the cycles of nature- first outlined by Rudolf Steiner in 1924, they created a farm standard and began to ensure its uniform usage in the marketplace through certification. The term “organic” was coined over ten years later from this original idea of the farm as organism. Demeter remains the oldest ecological certification organization in the world!

Biodynamic Compost

Bringing “aliveness” to the soil with principles established by Rudolph Steiner. Rudolph Steiner first outlined the principles of biodynamics, a system of oganic agriculture, in 1924. He gave recipes for nine preparations. When added to compost or sprayed directly on soil and plants during the growing year, they stimulate and enhance biological activity on the farm.

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