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Biodynamics in Permaculture?  RSS feed

 
Portia Ceruti
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What a great cross over of topics this is linking WAP and permaculture! I have been researching permaculture to teach a homeschool gardening block, but would like to include biodynamic agriculture. I am wondering where I can find information linking these two topics? Everything I find seems to be separate, except one upcoming talk I found at Rudolf Steiner College.

As for how it relates to the thread, food as medicine, biodynamic farming creates the healthiest most vibrant plants (IMHO) and surely that is what we would ideally eat for the healthiest, most vital food. (If we can source it, afford it, etc.) I'd love to hear any thoughts on this. Are there biodynamic permaculture gardens, or any teaching material? I know that WAP supports biodynamic farming (they were involved with the Biodynamics & the Future of Agriculture conference), but haven't seem much in their journals.

I'm new to this forum, so please excuse me if this has been covered elsewhere and I haven't discovered it yet! (Which I have just gone and searched and see there is a thread, so I will read that I would love to raise my kids with this knowledge (combining nourishing food, permaculture and biodynamics) and I appreciate any information I can get!

thanks,
~Portia
 
Leila Rich
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Welcome to permies Portia
Apologies for not saying hi earlier, your post got a bit lost in all the WAP excitement!
I've found that biodynamics is often considered pretty out-there by the permaculture mainstream. Tee hee. Mainstream: every outsider has its outsiders
I come from a Rudolf Steiner background, so bd seems pretty normal to me. But bd's 'woo-woo' nature really alienates those who consider permaculture a design science, and bd...not, basically.
Me, I've got no idea! All I know is that the produce I've had from bd farms is fabulous, and NZs biggest bd farm has, what is in my opinion, the best-looking pasture, eaten by the most beautiful cows, who make the tastiest dairy products around.
 
Paulo Bessa
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For me biodynamics is also normal. I am from a scientific background but I have also a big curiosity for every untested, out of the box, unconventional theories. So I opened my arms to explore biodynamics because in my own studies it has been verified by me.

Thus I am now mixing techniques from both biodynamics and permaculture. I don't see any problem doing so, because the methods from both work to improve my gardening results.

It is natural that some permies would be into biodynamics as some will be without it. As well as some will be into diets and some others not, as some will be into self-sufficiency, while others not. Every one approaches life in different ways.

As I already said elsewhere, people nowadays are into much bounded by their own ideologies and what they believe. Just because we are into permaculture, it does not mean we have to be closed to whatever is lies behind the scientific and the methodological.
 
kathy browning
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i am new here as well, and very interested in this! especially about building rain garden swales from my roof. i know, its asphalt, but its what i live with, so im hoping the plants ieat will help my body to deal with these toxins! it has always been so hasnt it?
one of my 3 children had a waldorf education and steiner is ...well he makes me believe in magic, that and a lifelong kinship with werms sic, well...good to meet you; my first interaction here!
 
Johnny Simpson
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Seems, to me, like permies could benefit from a bit of what biodynamics has to offer. To wit:
1) Often in permaculture design courses "observation" is stressed. But never to the depth of Goethean science, which underlies biodynamics. Try an accessible book like Craig Holdrege's "Thinking Like a Plant" to learn about this very different way of seeing the world.
2.) Materialistic minded permaculturists love "systems theory," a concept which comes from the science of ecology. Good, but we've got to go beyond such a view, which is still firmly materialistic, even if it is pretty cool.
3.) The material and physical are one thing, but don't forget the spiritual! "Spiritual science" (biodynamics) picks up where natural science leaves off.
4.) Make it real and relevant, many permaculturalists are increasingly saying. Great! This means taking into consideration the "invisible structures" of the social element. How many awesome permaculture designs have been abandoned by well-meaning non-profits, mostly because this is not the right social structure for something living like that to thrive in? Biodynamics (and the spiritual science behind it) have much to say about how society can best be ordered. Consider the innovative alternative economic arrangement of CSA, for example. The first CSA farms were biodynamic farms. I even wonder if the sacred "Ethics" of permaculture could be re-figured to be more in line with Steiner's three-fold social order. Anyone have ideas on that theme?
 
John Gray
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yes of course, truths lie in every teaching i think its foolish assume a label and discount everything else even "permaculture". I hope someone with biodynamic experience posts here some synthesis theories. 'How To Grow More Vegetables" I hear is an amazing book on bio dynamic practice, plan on getting and reading it soon for the very purpose of this. Glad others are interested.
 
Leila Rich
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John Gray wrote:'How To Grow More Vegetables" I hear is an amazing book on bio dynamic practice

It's not a biodynamic book, but 'biointensive'; the term Jeavons uses to describe his production method.
Some great information, although it's a bit..precise...for me, and really into double-digging which I'm really not into!
 
Johnny Simpson
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John Jeavons was, however, inspired by Alan Chadwick, a noted biodynamic practicioner. So there are elements of biodynamics in Jeavon's "biointensive" method.
 
Stewart Lundy
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Johnny Simpson wrote:John Jeavons was, however, inspired by Alan Chadwick, a noted biodynamic practicioner. So there are elements of biodynamics in Jeavon's "biointensive" method.


And yet Alan Chadwick almost never used any Biodynamic preps. The only one he (rarely) employed was BD500. He didn't even like the term biodynamic. He called it "verbosity" and scorned it. Chadwick, though admirable, was no orthodox biodynamicist.
 
mick mclaughlin
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Johnny Simpson wrote:John Jeavons was, however, inspired by Alan Chadwick, a noted biodynamic practicioner. So there are elements of biodynamics in Jeavon's "biointensive" method.


Actually not so much, from what I have read. Chadwick did meet and might have been slightly influenced by Steiner, but was definitely not a disciple of steiner. Chadwick, if he referred to his own methods at all, called them french biointensive, (or something similar). Jeavons has trade marked "grow biointensive" and while strongly influenced by Chadwick, their methods differ in many ways.

Biointensive methods work, and are all based in solid , scientific fact. While there is much mis-conception about biodynamics and biointensive, the names are much more similar , then the methods.

About the most mystic method biointensive uses is planting by the moon, and even Jeavons wrote in "growing more veggies" that it has limited effect on results. It's just something to use in your favor , if possible.

Biointensive uses deep, double dug beds, close spacing, companion planting etc... Along with open pollinated seeds, composting and all natural methods. There are no cow horns, compost mixtures or secret words to whisper at midnight during a full moon. Just good, thoughtful and sustainable methods.

I strongly recommend Jeavon's book and also doing some reading on the french biointensive methods.

Interesting stuff here on John Jeavon's web site. I think permies will agree with much of it. There is also a link to Bountiful Garden's, their non-profit seed catalog of open pollinated seeds-http://www.growbiointensive.org/?gclid=CI242O2s4roCFTJp7AodjEgAvg

This is a web site dedicated to the memory of Alan Chadwick and his methods. Tons of information about Chadwick , and his methods-http://www.alan-chadwick.org/




 
mick mclaughlin
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Sent to me by another Permie

"The term biodynamics — push it aside, it is verbosity. It doesn’t matter a bit. One has to use words to make headings, that’s all it is. It’s rather like the stupidity in a picture gallery today where you have to write under it what the scene or person is. It is equally as nonsensical as that. Therefore to talk about biodynamic gardening, biodynamic horticulture, biodynamic agriculture and the French intensive system is merely a horrible heading of terminology."

― Alan Chadwick, lecture of September 3, 1979, Carmel-in-the-Valley, Virginia
 
Adam Klaus
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mick mclaughlin wrote:
"The term biodynamics — push it aside, it is verbosity. It doesn’t matter a bit.


^^^ Harsh, and ignorant.

A Biodynamic scholar like E. Pfeifer certainly negates this grouchy quote from Chadwick. There is a body of agricultural work, research, and theory that certainly constitutes Biodynamics. Like any discipline, it is impossible to define the precise boundaries of its domain. Biodynamics is a framework of agriculture, that exists, despite how much some wish it didnt.

Anybody seeking to discredit Biodynamics needs to read Soil Fertility by E. Pfeifer. The man was a scientist and a farmer. I really wonder how many doubters and haters have read his work, or worked on Biodynamic farms.
good luck!
 
mick mclaughlin
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One's success, does not negate another's.

For me, I would rather folks use what works for them, in a natural way, and not spend their time dismissing another's methods. I did not interpret Mr. Chadwick's ( a genius in his on right) comments as derogatory, only as a statement that name didn't matter much.

Read and educate yourself, but nothing is quite as important as doing.
 
Alicia Gauld
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Hi Portia,
I've taught BD to school kids. Keeping it simple is the way to go. Making a compost heap together was the most fun! Using the compost preps via barrel compost to aid decomposition after sheet mulching ties the two in nicely (BD & permaculture). We were lucky enough to have rotations in our school chicken pen so after rotation we could also use it there. BD 500 & 501 are a bit tricky due to the timing for these sprays, but doable.
Hope you had some success!
 
Stewart Lundy
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Adam Klaus wrote:
A Biodynamic scholar like E. Pfeiffer certainly negates this grouchy quote from Chadwick.


You are right here, if you take Chadwick literally. But Chadwick doesn't take Chadwick seriously! He is much more in line with a sort of harsh Zen iconoclasm. He used BD500 (sometimes) but few of the other preparations. He was a cantankerous man who spoke in contradictions and abhorred jargon -- even (and perhaps especially) jargon with which he agreed.

Adam Klaus wrote:Anybody seeking to discredit Biodynamics needs to read Soil Fertility by E. Pfeiffer. The man was a scientist and a farmer.

Adam is 100% correct here. And the full text of Pfeiffer's book is available here for free: http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/01aglibwelcome.html
 
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