“The health of the farm is as apparent to the eye as the health of a person.”
After WW1 (& again after WW2) there was an excess of nitrogen from making bombs and it was noted near the storage areas that the grass was greener near the nitrogen so without the need to build explosives anymore farmers started putting it on their fields + realized it had an immediate effect on growth. And so ironically from the materials used for explosives began commercial fertilizers and a new era of commercial farming.
As more farmers began only using corn and wheat as cash crops during this time & heavily using these fertilizers, they stopped rotating their fields. Topsoil eroded. Livestock nutrition was directly affected.
The problem was and is that this type of farming does not have a lasting affect. In the early 1920s farmers and those studying these issues came to scientist Rudolph Steiner and said that they had began to see a lack of vitality in their crops & animals. With the introduction of commercial farming, livestock & plants began to have an inability to resist disease, health issues + a lack of vigor.
And so he developed recipes to improve the quality of the soil and the nutrients for the soil plants & then the animals - this was the first of any type of "organic" farming movement. This was the beginning of biodynamics principles.
When guiding the farmers Steiner provided a simple outline. First you need to look at your farm as a living organism. Every aspect of it - the plants, the animals, the environment, the landscape, the people are all connected. Lastly he said we need to pay attention to what humans have done for thousands of years which is look at the different energies like the sun the moon the phases of the seasons, the stars & the planets and how all of this impacts the growth of plants and animals.
Just as the oceans tides change with the moon, there are natural moon cycles in the plants. This ancestral knowledge and intuitive knowledge needs to be tacked back into farming because the health of the land directly affects the health of those who live around it & who consume its bounty.
The biodynamic calendar tracks what parts of the plant flowers & leaves with different species of plants and how different parts of the months in a year affect the plant - for instance, flowers. When applying preparations, harvesting, planting, and so on, these are all taken into account.
With each season there are specific preparations that feed the soil & land.
What's important about biodynamics is it goes beyond organic farming because it takes the energetics into account and it brings the energetics into farming. It also goes beyond using chemicals and rebuilds the ecosystem of the farm from the people to the plants, taking into account the entire system not just the agricultural products.
For a farm or product to be certified biodynamic, it must check all the boxes of organic and then some. We are working towards this and applying all of these principles to the elderberries and aronia with the belief that the health of the soil improves the quality & medicinal value of the berries.