Biodynamic: The New Organic

February 1st, 2008

There’s a secret I’ve been keeping. It’s my family’s recent devotion to biodynamic food. The reason I haven’t mentioned this before? I thought I didn’t understand biodynamics well enough to blog about it.

Yet after hearing someone ask if biodynamics were “bad for you,” I realized an introduction was needed to this amazing yet uncommon food. There is a sense of mystery about biodynamics because biodynamics is shrouded in spiritual mystique. In fact, the biodynamic food my family eats is called “Biodynamic: Spiritual Food for the New Millennium.”

So no, biodynamics is not bad for you. On the contrary. I wish everyone could benefit from biodynamic food, which raw and living food expert Sharon Greenspan of Wild Success™ has dubbed “The New Organic.” While biodynamics pre-dates the organic movement by two decades, to most people, the concept of biodynamics is new. Biodynamic food harkens back to an earlier era in the organic food industry, a time before it was an industry, before there was organic processed food and before organic was anything other than local food.

For six years, I sampled incredibly delicious biodynamic fruits when my yoga teacher would leave them out as snacks at her Shanti Yoga ashram. Biodynamic food is simply the freshest, best tasting food available. And its most ardent devotees claim it is also the most nutritious, “rich in vitamins, minerals and life-force or ‘prana,’ ” according to Victor Landa of the Spiritual Food for the New Millenium organic and biodynamic CSA.

I risk sounding strange by admitting this, but I swear that the first few times I ate biodynamic food, I felt a rush, like my blood vessels were opening up or something incredible was going on in my body as it received this incredibly pure, wholesome food. When I asked my yoga teacher about what made biodynamics so special and how it differed from the organic food I could pick up at the supermarket, she said, “This is better than organic. It has spiritual forces, the forces of life.”

The spiritual forces she mentioned are tied in with the philosophies of Rudolf Steiner, father of the Waldorf movement and developer of the biodynamic method of farming.

Tennessee’s “Barefoot Farmer” explains on his website that Steiner believed “that the use of artificial fertilizers [would] have a detrimental effect on our soils and eventually our human spiritual development.” The Spiritual Food CSA’s website notes “spiritual food is about more than avoiding chemicals. Growers seek to improve the health and vitality of soil, plants and animals through working with the health-bearing forces of nature on the principle that if the soil is healthy, chemicals are not needed and seeds will bring forth plants that are true to their own unique nature and have more life-giving vitality to offer.” But biodynamics is about more than avoiding the use of chemicals – it’s about tapping into the cycles of the sun and moon to foster nature’s bounty. As the Spiritual Food website explains, “Steiner farmers avoid chemicals, hormones, and non-therapeutic antibiotics. Instead, they seek to understand how living things behave, how they interact, and the spirits that underlie them. They use the cycles of the moon and planets to guide their planting schedules, and treat their soil and seeds with preparations made from organic plant and animal elements, developed by Steiner and his compatriots.”

Despite skepticism about what my husband calls “these fruity nutty granola elements,” we took the plunge and joined the ashram’s biodynamic CSA, which provides us with a potluck assortment of biodynamic and regular organic food every week. As we’ve marveled at the incredible flavors of the persimmons, eggs, bread, squash, citrus, apples, and other wonderful grains, vegetables, and fruits, my husband has tried to figure out what it is that makes biodynamic food so special. Finally, he surmised that maybe it’s because the spiritual farmers pay so much attention to the growing process, it is nearly perfect. When I told my yoga teacher about his conclusion, she laughed in her quiet way, and said, “That’s right!”

Although one of the goals of the biodynamic movement is to make the food “available to as many people as possible” because “biodynamic food nourishes the body and the spirit,” unfortunately it’s simply not possible to feed everyone this way because there are so few biodynamic farms. Even in our CSA, which is a leader in the biodynamic movement, we can’t expect all of our CSA shares to be biodynamic. Instead, we enjoy healthy, local organic food as well.

If your family is unable to participate in a biodynamic CSA, you can still eat healthier this year by buying local and organic food. I’ve blogged about the prices and availability of organic food at places like Giant, Safeway, Target, WalMart, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Balduccis, local organic markets and co-ops, and new regional organic chains like Roots. Now, thanks to the Parent Bloggers Network, I’ve learned that the Kroger chain offers organic foods as well. This means that no matter where you live in the US, you should have access to organic food. And that’s good news for Mother Earth and mothers everywhere.

Links to biodynamic farmers and resources:
San Diego County’s LaVigne Farms (wonderful persimmons and other fruit!)
Nebraska’s Massena Farm (amazing oats and flax seed and other grains!)
Pennsylvania’s Kimberton Hills (best bread and more!)
New York’s Threshold Farms (amazing apples and more!)
Indiana’s Fragrant Farms (fragrant flowers and more!)

Spiritual Food of the New Millenium CSA (Shares can be sent by US postal service nationwide!)

Local Harvest (List of CSAs, including biodynamic CSAs nationwide)

Bon appetit!

— Lynn

Copyright 2008, Organicmania

7 Responses to “Biodynamic: The New Organic”

  1. Tare Parker-Pope on February 3, 2008 8:25 am

    Hi Lynn — Interesting post. thanks for sharing it.


    Tara, thanks so much for stopping by Organicmania. I hope you take a look at biodynamics on Well. I know you could really uncover its “mysteries!” — Lynn

  2. Daisy on February 3, 2008 1:41 pm

    I keep hearing more and more people talk about buying into a local co-op. It sounds like a great idea, and I’m sure we’ve got one in our area. I’ll keep looking. Thanks for the tips!

    Thanks for stopping by, Daisy! The localharvest site shows CSAs nationwide. Looks like you are in Wisconsin – there should be some great ones there – ummm…organic cheese! Let me know what you find! — Lynn

  3. Sue on February 4, 2008 8:46 am

    Once about 9 years ago I was a member of a CSA and while I did enjoy the quality of the fruits and vegetables, I can stand only so much kale. However, your post has inspired me to try a CSA again. I appreciate your link to localharvest, now I can find a CSA that is convenient to my work and home. I’ll let you know how it goes and if you find some creative uses for kale, let me know.


    Oh, you’ll love it. Well, at our CSA we usually get a choice between kale and chard! :) But there’s a lot of other stuff to enjoy too! — Lynn

  4. Bernadette on February 4, 2008 12:53 pm

    Hi Lynn! Great blog. I work at Camphill Village Kimberton Hills and wanted to give you our website, if you would like to link to it.

    Thanks so much for the mention!

    You’re so welcome, Bernadette. I owe you a big thank you for the bread and all the other great food from your farm!
    Folks, please check out the Kimberton website. Not only is this an amazing biodynamic farm, but they work with people with developmental disabilities.
    I hope to visit someday, Bernadette. — Lynn

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