A Lifestyle Consultant's Course in Natural Living - Sample Lesson 65
Subject: Organic & Bio-Dynamic Agriculture
In the study of Organic and Bio-Dynamic agriculture, we will find that they have many areas in common, particularly the making of compost. Other areas, such as the special preparations advised in B jo-Dynamic agricul ture, are peculiar to that particular system.
In our studies we will be relying heavily upon the teachings of Sir Albert Howard, the English agricultural scientist and founder of the Organic movement in the Western world, and upon those of Dr Rudolf Steiner, known as the founder of "Anthroposophy"Wisdom of Manof which Bio-Dynamic agriculture forms a vital and important part.
In his "Introduction" in Dr Ehrenfried E. Pfeiffer's book on Bio-Dynamic Agriculture, The Pfeiffer Garden Book, H.H. Koepf has this to say:
"Having a Bio-Dynamic garden is primarily to serve the needs of the family. It is also a pleasure to spend leisure time in it. It offers a never-ending book for further study. In our era of standardised food supply, it helps to keep people interested in the true quality of vegetables which contain the food values which the earthly arid cosmic environment can engender."
Today, more than at any other time in recorded history, we are vitally in need of a concerted effort by every individual on this planet to restore the fertility of the soil. Everywhere we look, we see the denudation of the Earth's surface, the destruction of its forests, and the subsequent loss of valuable topsoil by erosion as it is exposed to the elements of sun, wind, and rain. Hand-in- hand with erosion, we have the poor methods of agriculture still being pursued by too many of our commercial farmers, further destroying that which is left of our agricultural lands, much of which has been farmed for hundreds of years successfully until quite recently.
These soils are becoming leached of essential nutrients and, as in the Murray River Basin, badly affected by salination due to heavy irrigation combined with a lack of returning to the soil by way of mulching, compost, etc., the organic matter and essential nutrients removed in the name of farming and horticulture, which would be more correctly called "mining."
Not only do we have that listed above, we also have the addition to our soils, by way of so-called "fertilisers," acid compounds which not only cause excessive plant growth, with its subsequent lack of nutrients and poor plant health, but a destruction of the soil organisms so essential for providing healthy soil structure, such as the earthworm, and its replenishment to our topsoils.
In the words of Sir Albert Howard, the recognised founder of the organic method of gardening and farming on a scientific basis, who said:
"The Earth's green carpet is the sole source of food consumed by livestock and mankind. It also furnishes many of the raw materials required by our factories. The consequence of abusing one of our greatest possessions is disease. This is the punishment meted out by Mother Earth for adopting methods of agriculture, which are not in accord with Nature's laws of return. We can begin to reverse this adverse verdict and transform disease into health by the proper use of the green carpetby the faithful return to the soil of all available vegetable, animal, and human wastes,"
He later goes on to say:
"During the course of the campaign for the reform of agriculture now in active progress all over the world, I have not hesitated to question the soundness of present-day agricultural teaching and researchdue to failure to realise that the problems of the farm and garden are biological rather than chemical. It follows, therefore, that the foundations on which the artificial manure and poison spray industries are based is unsound."
Despite this having been penned over sixty years ago, very little has really changed. In fact, it may well have become worse, with the proliferation of poisons of many kinds in the intervening years, and the widespread use of aerial spraying, etc.
Of course, our concern here is as much for those of us who consume the produce from this denatured soil, poisoned to within an inch of life. It is imperative, therefore, that we make every effort to grow as much of our own food as is practicably possible, and whenever this is not possible, to endeavour to purchase and use foods which have been organically grown without the use of artificial fertilisers and poisonous sprays.
Not only for our own well being must we do this, hut for all mankind, for it is not the words we say, but the deeds we do, and the example we set.
We must bear in mind that in spite of our so-called advances in the field of health, the number of people dying from degenerative diseases such as heart disease, kidney degeneration, etc., is increasing each year, that one out of every three people can expect to die of cancer.
In this series of lessons on Organic & Bio Dynamic Agriculture, I will outline for you the basic principles to enable you to under stand the practice. But it must be born in mind that this is a whole field of study in itself. It will require much extra-curricular work to cover even a small amount of that which we need to know. As long as you put into practice that which we will impart to you, you will find that, along with the study of the many texts that abound on the subject, many of which we will advise, you will learn so much mote from the practice.
To conclude this introduction, a further quote from Sir Albert Howard, one, which I trust will give you, added incentive to commence building an organic garden:
"In all future studies of disease we must therefore always begin with the soil. This must be got into good heart first of all and then the reaction of the soil, the plant, animal, and man observed. Many diseases will then automatically disappear...
"Soil fertility is the basis of the public health system of the future and of the efficiency of our greatest possessions ourselves."