The basic principle of organic farming is to achieve food of high nutritional quality and optimum quantities of produce without the use of artificial fertilisers or synthetic chemicals. It does not use genetically modified foods, growth promoters or hormones. Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic farming emphasises the need to maintain appropriate land management and aims to ecologically achieve the balance between animal life, the natural environment and food crops. Organic farmers do not use pesticides or herbicides. The produce that is gained through organic farming is thus at its most natural form.
Organic and biodynamic are very similar; both are grown without chemicals and GMOs. However, biodynamic goes one step further. It is a holistic practice where all things are considered living interrelated systems – animals, plants and the solar system. Biodynamic practices create healthier plants and heal the earth by replenishing the soil and adding vitality to the plant, soil and/or livestock.
Biodynamic farming methods enliven the soil through careful observation of nature’s rhythms. The main difference between organic and biodynamic is that biodynamic farming uses different principles that add vitality to the plant, soil and/or livestock, whereas traditional farming typically deteriorates the soil. Biodynamic agriculture uses specifically prepared preparations made from minerals and herbs – very similar to homeopathy. These preparations are used to enhance the compost applied to the fields and intensify the sunlight permeated into the plant.
Biodynamic agriculture also incorporates astrological influences. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of biodynamics, believed that much like the moon affects the tides, so does it affect the growing phases of planting and harvesting. Complex stellar calendars chart the influences of the moon and other planets for gardeners and farmers to follow.