Healthy Living: Organic vs. Biodynamic Farming
The popularity of organic foods has increased recently. In fact, the need for an eco-friendly organic life style is now being accepted as an essential factor for our survival.
Products from intensified agricultural techniques using chemical pesticides and fertilizers have been linked to the incidents of various negative health consequences such as cancer. Gone are the days when we thought that chemical fertilizers and pesticides are the panacea for our agricultural problems.
Organic farming is gaining popularity to support the increasing demand for organic agricultural products. A similar approach, biodynamic farming, has also gained popularity, especially in some European countries.
Organic and Biodynamic farming approaches are similar in many ways; but there are also some key differences. In this article we will look at a comparison of some of the key aspects of organic and biodynamic agriculture.
Organic farming primarily uses certain agricultural principles to minimize health risks to humans and animals and to conserve natural resources. It eliminates the use of synthetic chemicals to boost production. It also engages strategies to maintain and enhance soil fertility, conserve soil and enhance biological diversity.
In the U.S., certified organic farming systems are required by federal law to use an integrated agricultural management package of practices to maintain or improve the natural resources of the agricultural land and water. They rely on preventative management approaches to control weeds, insects and diseases. Certified organic farms in the U.S. go through a mandated annual oversight. The certification of organic products is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP).
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Biodynamic agriculture was originally developed in the late 1800’s by the Austrian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner. It was one of the first sustainable agriculture movements.
Biodynamic agriculture goes beyond regular organic farming in that it is a more holistic approach designed to be in alignment with the natural rhythms of the Universe. It treats animals, crops and soil as a single system.
Sowing and harvesting are guided by the astrological and lunar calendars. Some biodynamic proponents even refer to it as a “spiritual science”.
Biodynamic agriculture stresses on the development of local varieties and breeds that are in harmony with the local environment. Mother Earth’s natural rhythms play a key role in determining biodynamic farming principles and practices. It also emphasizes the principle of re-nourishing Mother Earth with what you take out of Her.
Biodynamic farming highlights the importance of adding vitality to the soil, plant, animals and agricultural products. Like the saying that the “apple does not fall far from the tree”, the nutritive value of an agricultural product is a reflection of the “earth quality” from which it is reaped.
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