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Regenerative, Biodynamics, Permaculture - what method does Blue Borage use?

Here at Blue Borage biodynamics guides all gardening and composting. Did you know biodynamics is one of the earliest methods of modern organic agriculture? It is inherently regenerative - healing the land while also growing crops, improving the quality of the soil year upon year. When it comes to permaculture and all the other great gardening methods I'm no expert... I have many close friends who are devoted to approaches like Korean Natural Farming, Food Forests, the use of biochar, syntropic farming, and permadynamics. It's no wonder there's some confusion, with all these options. My personal response to this diversity is best summed up by Rudolf Steiner's social motto: 

A healthy social life is found only when,
in the mirror of each soul, 
the whole community finds its reflection,
and when, in the whole community,
the virtue of each one is living. 

We can all just follow our own path, right? Respect the goodness inherent in all these approaches to healing the land. I love that some people dabble in a variety of methods, and others devote themselves to focus on just one. I'll try to answer a few of the most common questions I get asked about biodynamics.

Who invented biodynamics?

The method we call biodynamics today was first introduced in 1924 by Rudolf Steiner, in response to requests from farmers of the day to help address some of the problems they were beginning to see in terms of declining soil health, and the connection between the quality of food and human health. 

This means biodynamics is not even 100 years old! And yet, it is often called the oldest truly organic method of agriculture. It was organic (and regenerative) before those terms were used. 

I sometimes wonder why biodynamics isn't more commonly talked about... and then reflect on some of the values of Waldorf Education, or Steiner schools, where social media is rarely present. Waldorf teachers are generally not inclined to share their perspectives publicly, and there is a feeling of people just getting on with their work, in their communities. Biodynamic growers can be a little like Waldorf teachers, focused 100% on the work in front of them, and content to socialise in person rather than promote their work on social media. 

Something that's interesting in the context of business is how Rudolf Steiner also worked in the realm of economics, with his model now called the threefold social order. This has a lot of parallels with a movement we see now called the triple bottom line - where businesses are working not just for financial gain, but also for social gains and positive environmental outcomes. Steiner's theories of economic exchange are connected with the forming of the very first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), and it's wonderful to now see the CSA model growing as a result of the challenges of the Covid19 pandemic. 

But what IS biodynamics? In simple language?

I still don't have a short answer to this... and don't really want to come up with one, as it's a complex topic with so many potential avenues of specialisation. In the context of the home gardener, I came up with seven principles and seven practices that I think are integral. These are below: 

If you'd like to learn more about the Blue Borage approach, then there is a course going into detail on each of the 14 points above. 

Basic Biodynamics for the Home Gardener

How did Blue Borage come to be so connected to biodynamics?

Another big question. I first saw the documentary 'One man, one cow, one planet' in 2009, and felt lucky to be in New Zealand, far away from what looked like a country with declining food sovereignty. I was in an anthroposophical reading group, my children were attending a Waldorf school, and I began learning about Eurythmy, and then working at Hohepa in Auckland. Bit by bit my world was becoming one that aligned with the work of Rudolf Steiner. The more I learned, the more I questioned why biodynamics wasn't mainstream... (I still question why it's so easy to get weed killer but so hard for growers to get organic certification - the balance is so wrong) 

Visiting biodynamic farms in person confirmed what I'd only seen in documentaries. These are special places, with an atmosphere of true well-being. I had a day at Millton Vineyards as part of the Gisborne Food and Wine Festival, and also got to spend 10 days as a Woofer at Tauroa Station. There is nothing quite like being on land that is treated with such respect and reverence. 

Blue Borage strives to bring this healing quality to home gardens, lifestyle blocks, schools, and workplaces. Wherever there is soil, or compost, or plants, there is the potential to apply the wisdom of biodynamics. 

If you'd like to learn how Blue Borage can help develop your land, you can contact me (Katrina) on 022-410-4988 or email at katrina@blueborage.co.nz



 

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