Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition. Biodynamic agriculture has been practiced for nearly a century, on every continent on Earth. Biodynamic principles and practices are based on the spiritual insights and practical suggestions of Dr. Rudolf Steiner, and have been developed through the collaboration of many farmers and researchers since the early 1920s. Today, the biodynamic movement encompasses thousands of regenerative gardens, farms, ranches, orchards, and vineyards, in a wide variety of climates, ecological contexts, and economic settings.
Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality, and flavor of the food being raised. Biodynamic practitioners also recognize and strive to work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant, and animal health.
Most biodynamic initiatives seek to embody triple bottom line approaches (ecological, social, and economic sustainability), taking inspiration from Steiner’s insights into social and economic life as well as agriculture. Community supported agriculture (CSA), for example, was pioneered by biodynamic farmers, and many biodynamic practitioners work in creative partnerships with other farms and with schools, medical and wellness facilities, restaurants, hotels, homes for social therapy, and other organizations. Biodynamics is thus not just a holistic agricultural system but also a potent movement for new thinking and practices in all aspects of life connected to food and agriculture.
The Biodynamic Association awakens and enlivens co-creative relationships between humans and the earth, transforming the practice and culture of agriculture to renew the vitality of the earth, the integrity of our food, and the health and wholeness of our communities. The Biodynamic Association is a non-profit membership organization with more than a thousand member farmers, gardeners, entrepreneurs, and eaters across North America.
Our What is Biodynamics? page is a good place to start, with multimedia perspectives on biodynamics from several sources. Watch our free 90-minute Intro to Biodynamics webinar to explore the basic concepts of biodynamics in more depth. Read articles about biodynamics in the sample issue of our Biodynamics journal, and browse our research references to find articles, books and other resources about scientific research on biodynamic practices.
In the early 1920s, a group of practicing farmers, concerned with the decline in the health of soils, plants and animals, sought the advice of Rudolf Steiner, founder of anthroposophy, who had spent all his life researching and investigating the subtle forces within nature. From a series of lectures and conversations held at Koberwitz, Germany (now in Poland) in June 1924, there emerged the fundamental principles of biodynamic farming and gardening, a unified approach to agriculture that relates the ecology of the farm-organism to that of the entire cosmos. This approach has been under development in many parts of the world ever since. Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, who worked with Dr. Steiner during the formative period, brought biodynamic concepts to the United States in the 1930s. It was during this period that the Biodynamic Association was founded in 1938.
Yggdrasil Land Foundation is a new form of land trust whose purpose is to catalyze the viability of biodynamic, organic, and sustainable farming for food security and the health of communities through land access for farmers, stewardship, and renewal. Yggdrasil receives gifts of agricultural land and other convertible properties and also partners with local initiatives to support the purchase of land or conservation easements.
Biodynamic preparations, made from fermented herbs, minerals and manure, can help enhance the health of your compost, soil, and the food you grow. Preparations can be purchased from the Josephine Porter Institute and several regional biodynamic groups.
Demeter certification in the US uses the USDA organic standards as a foundation but goes beyond them in several important ways. For example, the Demeter Biodynamic® Farm Standard requires the healthy integration of crops and livestock on the farm, as well as a certain amount of wild or uncultivated land as part of its biodiversity requirement. It also requires use of the biodynamic preparations described above. In addition, whereas organic certification can be applied to just one part of a farm, Demeter certification must encompass the whole farm. Comprehensive presentations offer in-depth information on the seven principles in the Farm Standard.
For information on Biodynamic® certification and products in the US, visit Demeter USA.
Demeter International is the only ecological association that has built up a network of individual certification organizations world-wide. Presently Demeter International has 18 members and 5 guest-members from Europe, America, Africa, and New Zealand, representing approximately 5,000 Demeter farms, with nearly 150,000 hectares in more than 50 countries. Find websites and contact information for their members and guest members here.
Sektion fur Landwirtschaft, or the Agriculture Section, at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, provides meeting points for people who are looking for an anthroposophical, spiritual-scientific deepening in agriculture through courses, conferences, individual opportunities to study and stimuli to work on farms, as well as through publications; fosters connections and relationships in working with individuals, with institutions of the bio-dynamic movement, with Trusts in this activity and other professional concerns such as medicine and education; and describes and leads to an understanding of the various backgrounds and relevance of an anthroposophical, biodynamic farming.