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.”
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!)
Local Harvest (List of CSAs, including biodynamic CSAs nationwide)
Copyright 2008, OrganicmaniaFiled under Biodynamic food, CSAs, Food, Organics, Where to Buy Organics | Wordpress Comments (7) |
They really don’t get it. The editors over at Parents® Magazine must not understand the angst that real parents feel about the spate of recent toy recalls involving lead paint and myriad other defects. How else can they justify their November cover story on “52 Hot Holiday Toys?” The article promotes more of the same Expensive Plastic Crap (as opposed to Cheap Plastic Crap) that has been marketed to parents for years.
I love Parents, I really do. It’s one of the few parenting magazines I still subscribe to after 5 plus years of the Mommy gig. So when my new issue arrived Tuesday, I opened it eagerly, and to be honest, I was shocked by what I read. I really thought the article would at least include some eco-friendly toys. Perhaps a few organic stuffed cotton animals? Some hand crafted wooden toys? Something without plastic or paint?? C’mon! Parents are screaming for non-traditional toys this holiday season. I’ll even confess that in my sleep deprived state I may have missed the promotion of eco-friendly toys (DH is out of town and darling baby is teething all night long). But if Parents is promoting eco-friendly items somewhere in this issue, they’re sure not making them stand out from the rest of the editorial and advertising content.
Actually, to be kind, I think the editors probably do get it. I saw the cute pictures of them with their adorable offspring. It must be the advertising chieftains who don’t get it, or if they do, they were afraid to do something different this holiday season.
So dear readers, what say you? Please leave a comment sharing your favorite sources for eco-friendly toys, and then I’ll do a compilation post combining my research (to come) with your suggestions.
UPDATE 11/9/07 – The Parent Bloggers Network is leading a great effort with Consumers Union to protest the seemingly never-ending saga of toy recalls. They are looking for 30,000 volunteers to visit stores nationwide. Visit Consumers Union to find out what you can do to make a difference.
Copyright 2007, OrganicmaniaFiled under Eco-friendly toys, Marketing, Parenting | Wordpress Comments (8) |