Biodynamic Farming – Healing The Earth
In today’s age, humanity is considered to be right at the cutting edge of development. Technology has detached humans from the real art and practice of growing food and the farmer’s connection to the earth has been lost and with it the refined, traditional skills essential to plant breeding. The practices of biodynamic farming work in harmony with nature and the ecological system, they are holistic. Healthy food starts with happy seeds. If we accept the integrity of the plant and come into dialogue with it – blessing our seeds, dancing and playing music in acknowledgement of them – we receive very powerful seeds and slowly heal the earth and return to humanity. It is now in our hands.
In The Beginning There Are Seeds
If your plan is for one year, plant vegetables.Adopted from Confucius
If your plan is for 10 years, plant trees.
If your plan is for 100 years, educate in plant breeding.
In today’s age, humanity is considered to be right at the cutting edge of development. Technology has been created for each individual task, dominating everything, including within the agricultural sector. Jobs previously carried out by farmers with love and care, are now performed by automated machines and by businessmen, detached from the real art and practice of growing food. The farmer’s connection to the earth has been lost and with it the refined, traditional skills essential to plant breeding.
Native American tribes often refer to the seeds they grow as their children and the earth as the womb in which the seeds are placed. There’s a constant familial bond and reference to nature, to the earth and to the seeds we use to grow our food. When the Hopi, a Native American tribe, were asked how they developed and adapted their corn seeds, they simply answered ‘by singing and dancing for generations’. Many people in the industrial nations have forgotten the wisdom of using dance and song for growing seeds.
Sementes Vivas – Singing And Dancing To Seeds
Sementes Vivas is a biodynamic and organic seed production and processing company in the Iberian Peninsula. They work closely with ‘Kultursaat’ breeder Thomas Heinze, using the Eurythmic treatment of the professional Portuguese Eurythmic healing teacher, Maria Fernanda Wessling, in their plant breeding. The initial experiments were set up in November 2018 with radish and turnips.
During an eight-year experiment with one carrot variety, Thomas has successfully created new carrot varieties by treating different portions of the seeds with a range of Eurythmic treatments, without selection and crossing methods.
Singing and dancing to seeds may sound strange, but seeds are life force. They naturally respond to light, wind, gravity, touch and even sounds and spiritual forces. Studies in natural science have proven that certain sound waves support plants to grow faster. Seeds, like any other living organism, reproduce more effectively when nurtured and taken care of. Seeds treated with biodynamic practices have been shown to produce healthier food. The foods we eat play a crucial role in our physical, mental and spiritual health and in our overall development.
Yet, nonetheless, we are fast loosing our soul-nourishing traditions of celebrating and supporting the harvest of our food with storytelling, singing and dancing. In Idana a Nova, Portugal, the Adufe (a traditional drum, native to the region) was played by the women of the village to accompany the singing and dancing celebrating the harvest and sowing seasons. Sementes Vivas regularly invites the musicians known as ‘Aduferas’ to play at their farm at those seasons, to keep the tradition alive and to support the plants and seeds.
Cycle of Seeds
The glory of seedsStefan Doeblin, Sementes Vivas
Spread by the winds
By birds, animals and humans
Accompanied and challenged by weeds
To give us wisdom and hints
Sponsored from the soil
Looking for water to awaken life
Waiting for the bees
Pollinating flowers and growing plants
Shading and breathing trees
Feeding the world
Being part of nature
Playing with humans
Flowering colorful and enjoying the universe
By the fertility goddess hurled
Changing in dialogue according our will
Either breathed out or stored
Giving birth and nurse to biodiverse
Blowing over the hill
Clouds of seeds
Secret of life
Absorbing cosmic energy
Love and light
Improving humanity – creating synergy
In all eyes shining bright
Falling down from heaven or hands
Hiding in earth till rain drops awaken them
Again and again
Biodynamic Farming And Plant Breeding
Sadly, today conventional farming is the dominant practice and it relies on the use of heavy machinery, monoculture, harmful pesticides and chemicals and on mass food production, with the focus on quantity rather than quality. This poses a serious threat, not only to our environment but also to our health. As Rudolf Steiner said, we are losing our humanity due to the declining spiritual energy in our seeds and food.
The practices of biodynamic farming take both the complexity of the ecological system and the living forces of nature into consideration. The mission of a biodynamic farmer is to work in harmony with nature and not irrespective of the ecological system. Within this way of working, every single element, from soil, water and air to living organisms (no matter how small and seemingly irrelevant), plays a vital role. Treating any single component of the environment as a separate or independent entity disrupts the system. It understands that our health and wellbeing is very much dependent on this harmonious interaction between the elements.
The farm Is A Living Organism
Biodynamic farmers strive towards self-sustainability because the farm is seen as a living organism. They are committed to increasing the fertility of the soil, seeds and every component of that system. In biodynamic farming, everything is derived from and prepared on the farm. The farmer, therefore, uses natural seeds, organic fertilisers (their own compost, for example), worms and water so that the seeds can develop resistance and tolerance to pests, diseases or drought. The seeds must be adapted to the conditions of the local climate. Nutrient-rich crops with a high standard of flavour and aroma are key goals for any biodynamic plant breeder.
The ‘organic and biodynamic farming approach’ is definitely more labor intensive than the ‘industrial’ method. This is because it strives for sustainable maintenance and the increase of resources – for example, improving soil structure, diversifying and integrating with local ecology, closing nutrient cycles and breeding crop varieties that work with local ecology and human biology (see Down to Earth from Jozef Visser, page 192/193). In June 2018, FAO introduced the program AfriSoils, promoting natural methods of increasing fertility in the soil to reduce erosion and to stop deforestation.
Waking Up To The Importance Of Good Quality, Local Food
More and more consumers are waking up to the importance of buying good quality, local food. When asking various organic shop owners, I was told that their most dedicated customers are young couples with children. Some consumers in cities have begun to support local farmers by buying food directly from the farm or from farmers markets. In this way, the profit is beginning to shift back to the farmers and a dialogue is created between producer and consumer, especially in organic and biodynamic food production. Farmer’s Markets are becoming popular again.
Community supported agriculture, where consumers become a member of a farm, guarantee the budget of production, support harvesting and are personally involved with the farmers, even if the harvest is poor due to weather conditions. It is a model with real potential to balance producer and customer interests and could be used for all kinds of agricultural projects.
Organic Food Is More Expensive
Today one kilo of carrots costs around €0.4 in the conventional market, and €1 in the organic market (Aldi Germany) whilst one tractor costs between €20,000 and €100,000. Meaning that large amounts of produce must be sold in order to afford a tractor. In order to obtain cheap labor, the produce must be cheap within the industrial business model. The workers are then likely to spend any surplus on goods and housing where the margins are really high and projectable.
For example, a product such as an iPhone, has a total margin of more than 30%, whereas if you buy conventional carrots the margin is maybe 4-5% if you calculate the average over the years. Since the industrial revolution, most governments subsidize food and agricultural activities in order to keep the cost of living low (hidden in high taxes) as well as covering the cost of cleaning the agrochemicals from the water.
A consumer who buys organic food pays twice. They pay a higher price for the organic product in comparison to the market price of the conventional equivalent and then they pay for the government subsidies to clean the water and to support the agriculture machinery with their taxes.
But at least one thing is certain when buying organic produce – non-toxic food with higher a spiritual frequency.
Biodynamic Farming – Passion for Seeds
The life force in biodynamic and wild seeds immerses people and sparks passion. Hold some real seeds in your hand and you will feel it. We must preserve a range of traditional seed varieties in order to reintroduce them to the agricultural and gardening circuit – multiple usages of seeds are the best and most affordable conservation method. In order to learn more about the different climate and soil synergies across the country, trials and multiplications need to be established.
After experiencing the world of virtual business and city life, the financial, housing, and industrial-crises in the last 20 years, it is time that we, our children and the future generations dig our hands into the soil, into the compost and into real, tangible farming practices to ground our souls. After decades of buying organic food in organic shops in several European cities it is shocking to discover that more than 90% of organic food comes from conventional seeds. We want the food that we eat to be healthy from the beginning of the food cycle, free from chemicals and pesticides in order to preserve the spiritual energy in our food.
Conventional Seed Production Requires 2-4 Times More Chemicals
The conventional seed production process requires 2-4 times more chemicals than the process of growing the crop itself, organically. Observing the food production in the USA it became obvious that the mono-culture of wheat and the production of uniformed bread is not supportive of the spiritual development of mankind. Most food starts with seeds, so it is important that we generate seeds in a positive spirit and with a strong sense of spirituality. It is time to develop biodynamic seeds and, at the very least, more organic seeds to balance and reduce the conventional influence and promote vitality. ‘Sowing seeds, sowing friendship’, as we say.
To conclude, we would like to quote Michael Hedley Burton:
“In former times present day thinking emerged out of a deeper, more universal consciousness that was not lodged in intellectuality, as it is today, but in more immediate and instinctive grasp of reality. Love is the greatest power in the universe, but trials are needed to awaken it.”
“Food is your medicine and your medicine are your food”
“Food is your medicine and your medcine are your food”, wrote Hildegard von Bingen. Food starts with happy seeds. If we accept the integrity of the plant and come into dialogue with it – blessing our seeds, dancing and playing music in acknowledgement of them – we receive very powerful seeds. It takes time and patience but together we will slowly heal the earth and return to humanity. It is now in our hands.
SEMENTES VIVAS – LIVING SEEDS
Sementes Vivas: Biodynamic Farming in Portugal and Spain
Sementes Vivas is the first Demeter certified producer of biodynamic seeds in Portugal. The company was founded in 2015 and is located in the municipality of Idanha-a-Nova.
Living Seeds – Sementes Vivas (LSSV) produces and sells organic seeds of vegetables, fruits, flowers and aromatic and medicinal herbs. All seeds are produced following the principles and requirements of organic and biodynamic agriculture, with a focus on the promotion of biodiversity. LSSV is working closely with farmers, traders and research institutes to develop the organic and biodynamic seed market in Portugal.
Herdade do Couto da Várzea – Idanha-A-Nova
AgriCultura Seed Conference
Sementes Vivas organizes the AgriCultura Seed Conference every year in Idanha-a-Velha, where seeds and human creativity are celebrated with music, poetry and food.