Cult of Biodynamics: Future of farming or agrarian organic witchcraft?

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It’s part farming event, part mystical gathering: the Annual Biodynamic conference, held every year in February, and this year in Switzerland.

What is “biodynamics”? According to the association’s website:

Biodynamics is a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, food production and nutrition. Biodynamics was first developed in the early 1920s based on the spiritual insights and practical suggestions of the Austrian writer, educator and social activist Dr. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), whose philosophy is called “anthroposophy.” Today, the biodynamic movement encompasses thousands of successful gardens, farms, vineyards and agricultural operations of all kinds and sizes on all continents, in a wide variety of ecological and economic settings.

In other words, it’s the organic movement on steroids—a celebration of all things “natural”—whatever that means—and a rejection of many of the most rudimentary forms of modern agriculture, first and foremost crop biotechnology. It’s also one of the fastest growing ‘back to the farm’ movements in the world, with a growing legion of passionate adherents.

JPG_150x199_profile-steiner_000Rudolf Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, playwright and artist who lived between 1861 and 1925. He founded a spiritual movement called Anthroposophy, which works on the basis that children’s creative, spiritual and moral dimensions need as much attention as their intellectual ones. But there is a darkish side to the Steiner movement. Anthroposophy is at heart an esoteric crypto-religious organization based on a mystical and racist view of humanity and an astrological and clairvoyant view of understanding science.  Anthroposophy embraces the literal existence of gnomes, that the British Isles floats on the sea, homeopathy works, and burning mice ritually will protect your crops from them. And if you follow this philosophy, you will be reincarnated as a Northern European Ayrian.

Last year’s event, in Florence, turned into a media extravaganza, well out of touch with the roots of Steiner’s quack philosophy. Banner headlines in the Corriere della Sera, Italy’s newspaper of record, celebrated the event as an encounter of some of the world’s greatest agricultural experts. The lead article sang paeans to “ethical farming” that would achieve the happy dream of “quality produce and full employment”.

But the conference also has a cult like dimension. More than one commentator pointed out that it was a strange mix of the triumphalist and the secretive. While the city’s main square was covered with posters hailing the prodigious achievements of this “new” science of crop cultivation, the actual conference made sure that no dissonant voices were raised (anyone who was suspected of opposing its underlying back-to-nature philosophy was expelled).

For those who work in the agricultural sector – that is, actual farmers and buyers and sellers of imagesagricultural produce – “biodynamics” is infamous for its oddity. It’s adherents, known as adepts, see the arrival of autumn as the time to set about burying within their fields an animal organ stuffed with rotting plants, leaving it there throughout the winter so that it can absorb the beneficial influences bountifully supplied by the stars in the invernal heavens. When spring arrives, this putrescent mess of animal and vegetable matter is then dug up and scattered over the soil, its prodigious influence apparently being far more efficacious than animal manure or – heaven forbid! – man-made fertilizers.

The recipient used to capture these astral energies varies in accordance with the type of crop one hopes to grow. For example, one might use an ox skull, a stag’s bladder (the more elaborately branched the animal’s antlers, the better) or even a horn. Whether this latter should be from the left or right side of the head I am unable to say, though perhaps here one should follow the lead set by the great eighteenth-century Florentine scientist Giovanni Targioni Tozzetti: in discussing similar potions in his own day, he wrily assured readers that “the right horn has the same effects as the left”.

As for the choice of plant substances left to rot in this magical container, these too depend upon soil type and future crops. However, dandelion flowers are a big favourite, as is oak bark. Again, only the initiated know which variety of oak to use. Of course, in Italy it is relatively easy to join those happy few, by enrolling in one of the growing number of courses in this “discipline”; in spite of extensive spending cuts in a number of other sectors, regional governments – first and foremost, those in Tuscany and Calabria – seem to find the cash for such essentials.

Even the venerable Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at Milan University has been obliged to turn its attention to such positions, given that the nation’s most famous “biodynamicist” – the aristocrat Giulia Maria Mozzoni Crespi – tried to get some of its scientists involved in rigorous comparative studies that would prove the efficacy of her own concoctions. When those benighted empiricists pointed out that it was impossible to demonstrate this, the gentlewoman was at first despondent but quickly regained her composure. Those present at the tests recall her triumphant exclamation: “All the same, when I look at the plants receiving my potions, I can feel how happy they are!”

The Florentine coven opened last year with a specially commissioned film on the mortal dangers of genetically-modified crops, put together by a beloved Italian television presenter. Fully conscious of her responsibility, the TV personality in question opted for total objectivity; in pursuit of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, she even included interviews with representatives of the great seed-producing companies. However, it seems highly improbable that the likes of BASF would allow themselves to be represented by mere lab technicians, and one is therefore led to deduce that footage of interviews with expert geneticists and agronomists ended up on the cutting-room floor. What did survive the editing was a lengthy outburst from a Canadian farmer who had cultivated patented seeds without paying the necessary royalties, then failed to convince the courts that they had simply fallen from the sky into his fields.

Such a selective approach to the truth seems to sum up the entire matter, and it might appear useless to dedicate more attention to the Florentine coven. Still, one should point out that biodynamicists fall into two categories. There are the “practical” adepts – that is, those who are more than happy to bury putrefying animal parts in their fields in order to take advantage of the increasing number of subsidies regional governments make available for “ethical agriculture”. Then there are those who are genuine believers in Rudolf Steiner’s “anthroposophy”, a doctrine that is concerned not simply with producing crops imbued with astral powers but with the modeling of humanity.

The German was just one of the host of occultists, satanists and charlatans that abounded in a nation which, emerging defeated from the horrors of the First World War, seemed determined to cast itself into the arms of “leader” who was to be served with slavish obedience. Indeed, if Steiner stands out, it is because his work is said to have been much read and appreciated by the future Führer himself. After the Second World War, the remains and catalogues of the library in Hitler’s bunker disappeared into Soviet archives, only becoming available for study with the fall of Communism, and the young American scholar who then examined the material assures me that, whilst no actual works by Steiner are to be found amongst the extant texts, a number of them are dedicated to occultism, satanism and suchlike.

As the surviving books are only one part of the dictator’s reading matter, it is more than possible that the shelves with Steiner’s own books went up in flames after a direct hit. True, this is an assumption rather than a certainty. So, in order to examine more fully the issue of the relationship between Nazism and Steiner’s ideas, I submitted myself to the ungrateful task of wading through his entire oeuvre – a strain for even the most patient reader.

The German’s output consists of thousands of repetitive pages in which nothing of substance is said, though sometimes one does get vivid accounts of the author’s encounters with what he refers to as either Satan, Lucifer or Harriman (the Persian God of Darkness). To be fair, those meetings are so evocatively described they could well have taken place in the Munich beer cellar where his eager disciple would encourage followers with the words of the German military anthem: “Today Germany is ours; Tomorrow the world”.

Amidst the endless ramblings which make encounters with Satan a rare treat, methodical study and patience finally bear fruit, with Steiner giving a clear account of how the world came to be populated. Not that there is any reference to genetics or evolution. Instead, the German claims that the planet initially consisted of a single continent – Atlantis – which then broke up, with the earth’s inhabitants being divided into those who were incarnations of spirits from the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars or Jupiter.

The differences between each were rigid and insuperable: some of these “races” contained within them the seeds of future development, some did not. It would appear that the more highly developed of them would – for reasons that escape even the most tenacious reader – be receptive to the secrets brought into the world by Christ (though Steiner does not bother to explain what these might be). The less developed “races”, on the other hand, would be bound in permanent servitude to Lucifer, so filled with his evil that they could sometimes burst into flames like matches. These insurmountable differences would remain over the coming millennia, as humankind abandoned the sinking continent to become divided into those who embodied evolved humanity and those who were merely primordial.

By this point it is clear that one is reading ideas which must have been music to the ears of ex-corporal Adolf Hitler. And it is no surprise to learn that a number of German studies have argued that the first “biodynamicists” in the history of horticulture were the Lagerkommandant of Nazi concentration camps, who drew the sustenance required for their own übermensch labours from the stellar and planetary powers absorbed via vegetables cultivated by the inferior races whose extermination was their responsibility.

So, while it is easy to dismiss the Florence conference as a celebration of peasant witchcraft, one should not overlook the implications of the underlying philosophy behind it. And it is this which makes it all the more amazing not only that the city’s political class seemed to welcome the event (with the essential agreements signed when the present Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi, was mayor) but that the entire Catholic hierarchy remained silent about this coven of satanists.

Even more serious than this apparent complicity of political and religious authorities is the silence of the city’s scientific and cultural circles. After all, Florence was the city of Galileo Galilei, and it was in its laboratories that the man’s first disciples applied his scientific method to the study of plant and animals, opening the way to the modern natural sciences.

Particularly disconcerting was the lack of reaction from the Accademia dei Georgofili, one of the oldest centres of agrarian studies in Europe. The first president of that Accademia was the above-mentioned Giovanni Targioni Tozzetti, who would apply Galileo’s method to the study of plant diseases and identify their causes as living microscopic beings. What a difference, therefore, between that veritable forefather of microbiology and his successor, Professor Franco Scaramuzzi, who – prior to his garbled letter of resignation a few months later – would ignore lively, at times heated, encouragements and fail to express a single word of indignation about the coven. Perhaps one should not forget this was the same man that had organized official receptions for a former minister of the Italian government who, faithfully executing the orders of a Communist prime minister, would force Italian geneticists to abandon decades of work on genetically-modified plants.

For years cooks, architects, sommeliers, professors of literature and high priests of the “avant-garde” have go on trotting out so-called proofs regarding the dangers of GMOs. They, at least, may have been relieved to see that the Florence coven provided a further reason for abhorring such innovations, castigating them as the products of a technology which violates the rules of astral influences established by Satan and his ministers.

Antonio Saltini, adjunct professor of history at the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Milan, is author of the four-volume work Storico delle scienze agrarie (History of agrarian sciences in Western civilization).

  • Stuart M.

    The word “side” should follow darkish in paragraph three. “an Northern European Ayrian” should be “a North European Aryan”. “any one” is better written as “anyone” when it is a pronoun. “Through Steiner does not bother to explain…” should be “Though Steiner…”

    This is a wonderful article and a great send-up of Biodynamic stupidity. Much to my amusement, the vegetarians are up in arms about the animal body parts that are used in Biodynamic faming.

    • Corrected, thanks!

    • Daniel Ros

      A wonderful article full of nothing but conjecture and opinion. Yeah great ‘scientific’ refutation of something that obviously works. Here is ur sign.

  • Critical reader

    It is astonishing that a respectable academic would write an article so full of supposition and spurious reasoning. Worst of all this pottage is the claim that Hitler read Steiner’s works, justified by no empirical evidence whatsoever, and made immediately after the author cites evidence that Hitler owned none of these.

    The author’s “argument by sympathy”, relying on no objective facts, is not only most curious indeed; it is the opposite of the truth. The relationship between the two figures was demonstrably one of extreme and mutual antipathy. Hitler made both threats against Steiner and typically abusive comments against anthroposophy–as the author should know, since every authority on the subject, from Zander to Staudenmaier, cites these. Steiner critiqued the “brown-shirts” as early as the early 1920s, and is recorded as stating that if they ever came into power, he would be unable to enter Germany. His evaluation was certainly both accurate and prophetic, given the hostility shown by Nazi authorities to anthroposophy and its daughter movements when they indeed did take power.

    It is true that biodynamics.was a partial exception; certain high-placed Nazis saw its efficacy in producing high-quality produce as vital to the success of their regime. This was through no commitment to its underlying principles, but solely justified on the basis of their perceptions that farms using the methods achieved better quality of soil, crops, and animals.

    Biodynamics certainly uses unusual methods to prepare compost and soil additives. There is an excellent way of testing these: empirical studies, rather than philosophical rants. There is extensive evidence of biodynamics’ and other organic methods’ many extremely positive effects on soil fertility. An agronomist would have written a different article.

    • Daniel Ros

      The problem sir is that this is a public relations campaign paid for by big biotech. Ur know the biggest pseudo scientists on the planet. This can validated by the fact that only profitable science is ‘validated’ by these idiots who ignore the entire science of soil science.

      • Biggest pseudoscience on the planet is that of Steiner. Atlantis, anthroposophic “medicine”, biodynamic. It’s a hilarious display of insanity more than anything else.

    • a20havoc

      So what benefit is packing cows’ horns with manure, and burying them supposed to have? What underlying principle of soil management predicates that?

      • M

        it turns into humic acid with a relationship to silica

  • The best garden I ever had was the year I used biodynamic techniques.

    • Wonderful. Did you model it over the biodynamic gardens of concentration camps like Dachau and Auschwitz? You know, where the Steiner company Weleda had deadly experiments done to prisoners in order to test their products made for the SS?

      • Critical reader

        Idiotic reply. Most of the concentration camps had gardens–this was WWII and food was scarce–and most of these used fertilizer.

        Your question makes as much sense as asking if all non-organic farms model themselves after those concentration camps’ gardens.

      • The “biodynamics” of the Nazis had nothing to do with Steiner’s. Steiner was not liked by Hitler who closed down Waldorf schools. Saltini’s linking of it in this article is deceptive.

  • gerald brennan

    Your ignorance, Mr. Saltini, of your subject, Steiner, is astonishing.
    Readers need to be warned.

  • Däniel García

    Speaking about quacks on steroids…

  • John Hilliard

    I just did a study comparing the Environmental Impact (EIQ as established by Cornel University) of organic farm using organic (OMRI) pesticides (such as a biodynamic farm uses) and a sustainable farm using modern synthetic pesticides. The result shows the organic farm had at least triple the negative environmental impact.

    • Daniel Ros

      That’s a red herring. Real biodynamic farmers don’t use organic pesticides either.

      • Supplier of ag products

        All the organic farmers I know buy organic pesticide, I assume they use it.

        • Guest

          I guess u should get out more. All the farmers I but from don’t.

        • Daniel Ros

          I guess u should get out more. All the farmers who I buy produce from don’t use any toxic product organic or not. The whole idea that organic means fine for human consumption is ridiculous.

          • Discosoma1232

            I guess u should get out more. The whole idea that synthetic means dangerous for human consumption is ridiculous.

      • John Hilliard

        Hi Daniel, I have farmed my vineyards organically as per the National Organic Program and also as a Certified Sustainable (SIP) farmer. You are being misled if you believe organic farmers do not use pesticides. The organic community has been a bit nefarious in hiding their pesticide use, and their use of synthetic fertilizers, and their ultimate environmental impact. You need to dig deeper.

        • gefreekamloops

          Is the National Organic Program the same as the Certified Organic Program. I’m just asking because I have worked with Certified Organic Farmers and the only pesticide that we ever used was BT to control Colorado Potato Beetle and sometimes on cabbage to control slugs. All fertilizers were non synthetic: Blood Meal (yes you could argue that there are synthetics in the blood) , bone meal, feather meal, rock phosphate, greensand, aged chicken and horse manure. I’m not sure what synthetics are allowed on Certified Organic Farms.

          • John Hilliard

            The Certified Organic may refer to the certifying entity, CCOF. The items you list are fertilizers. Think about these items- most are adding nitrogen, and the ultimate source of the N is whatever the animals eat. Was that free range animals who eat unfertilized pasture for instance, or were the fed feed that was grown using fertilizer? What was the cost of collecting and transporting manure and compost, that can be significant too. The ultimate N source may be synthetic N. There are no pesticides mentioned. Fungi issues haunt us grape growers. I know that organic grape growers use about twice the pounds of pesticide than I do, and have about five time more negative effect on the environment than my sustainable system. Those organic pesticides include stylet oil which is a highly refined petroleum product which is not very organic in my opinion. In addition, several hundred pounds of micro sulfur that can violate clean air standards. Not to mention the toxic copper used which is also considered synthetic by the National Organic Program OMRI. The organic program is not a science based sustainable system, consider its reliance on manure even though we are told we should reduce eating meat in order to reduce global warming…but it should be…once the public starts demanding the organic community to clean up its act.

          • gefreekamloops

            I didn’t mention pesticides because for the vegetable crops we didn’t need to use them. I understand that the term pesticide refers to fungicides, insecticides and herbicides, and I know that organic growers use some of these, this I am not denying. The whole notion of certified organic is losing its meaning because it is becoming more and more like conventional farming as the marketshare grows and regulations are laxed. That said I don’t think its fair to view all organic farmers as having the same ideology. The ones that I work with don’t grow crops that require these inputs and so I don’t see their operations as unsustainable.

          • John Hilliard

            Wow, that’s great. What do you grow and exactly where do you grow it? Is it a commercial farm or a small garden? We have somewhat of a struggle in California, in Texas the disease pressure is enormous. (Im from Texas). A grape crop is subject to constant fungi pressure, enough to degrade the potential wine. I am interested in hearing more. Where does your Rock phosphate come from?

          • gefreekamloops

            I haven’t farmed for market in a few years now but I worked on 4 certified organic farms over 10 years. The largest was 40 acres and the smallest 5 acres. On each farm we grew a wide variety of vegetables and some fruit and corn. I could imagine that in the hot and humid climates of the southern U.S. that fungi would be very challenging. In British Columbia we don’t get as much constant heat so I don’t think its as big of a problem.
            The rock phosphate we used was from a canadian company called Gaia Green. The rock dust is likely from B.C. glacial till but I don’t know for sure. They have suppliers in the U.S. as well.
            http://gaiagreen.com/contact.html

          • John Hilliard

            Stop by Hilliard Bruce if you get to Santa Barbara, I can show you around, there are lots of small wineries here and it’s easy to visit winemakers and vineyard owners, and lots of raspberry greenhouses have recently been built.

          • gefreekamloops

            Raspberry greenhouses? Is that so you can have berries year round? Would love to get down to Santa Barbara. My friend was just down there for a course and got in some surfing, I was a bit envious. If I end up driving to Mexico I’ll stop in. Thanks for the invite.

        • astral

          John, Daniel said that biodynamic farmers don’t use organic pesticides. everyone know that pesticides are used in organic agriculture

      • rick

        You forgot to add “you simpleton.”

  • Daniel Ros

    That’s a strawman. Real biodynamic farmers don’t use organic pesticides either U simpleton.

    • Discosoma1232

      They apparently don’t use proper English either.

  • This is a must-read about Nazi Germany and biodynamic farming. https://www.academia.edu/6671433/Organic_Farming_in_Nazi_Germany

  • August Pamplona

    Godwin much?

    • No. You can talk about Nazism and history without invoking Godwin’s which is only about probability and not a logical fallacy.

  • Graham Strouts

    Great article! Biodynamics is surely one of the most bizarre cults out there, which makes its longevity all the more extraordinary. We should be aware however that Steiner was one of the main founders of the Organic movement. In a very real way, Organics is best seen as the marketing wing, the acceptable public face of Biodynamics. Scratch beneath the surface of any Organics organisation and you will find Biodynamics lurking there. eg the Soil Association UK promotes BD workshops. Whether explicit or not, the appeal of Organics is directly linked to the BD concept of “purity”- purity of the Soil, purity of the food, and thus Purity of the Race. Same with the anti-GMO movement- tribes have always used food fads to define themselves as separate from the Unclean.
    Staudenmaier is an authority on the history of Anthroposophy and the link with Nazism. Steiner was not a Nazi but Hitler and other leading Nazis were very much inspired by similar occult mysticism.
    https://skepteco.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/ecofascism-revisited/

    • gefreekamloops

      Purity of soil = purity of race. This is a stretch of logic if I’ve ever seen one. Every organic farmer I’ve worked with has never spoken of Biodynamics. You don’t have to know how the processes work to work with the processes in nature. There is overlap in the principles of course but if Biodynamics is at one extreme and GE conventional factory farming the other extreme then Certified Organic Farming exists between the polar opposites.

      • No. Organic sits on a bed of logical fallacies, well outside science and evidence based farming. It’s ideological, not evidence based.

        • gefreekamloops

          I get it now ” Where Science Trumps Ideology” . Ideology you believe cannot be evidence based. The best evidence is what is evident from observation of what is right in front of you.

          • JoeFarmer

            Then let’s see some real evidence that organic production is somehow more environmentally-friendly. Real evidence, not the random synaptic misfires that direct your typical keyboard ramblings.

          • gefreekamloops

            Real evidence would be based on personal observation. All scientific reports on the other hand would be based on someone else’s findings and subjective. If I have observed equilibrium in the ecology of organic farms than it is logical to conclude that the practices are environmentally friendly. If you find frogs in a garden you know that there is balance in the soil biology. On the farms I work on there have always been frogs. I would be surprised to find them where the soil is laden with synthetic pesticides.
            I suppose you will consider this another keyboard rambling but on the off chance you don’t, it is here for comment.

          • “Evidence” is data with controls. What you have provided is what’s called an anecdote, with no controls. It’s scientifically rubbish.

          • gefreekamloops

            you make an observation which leads to a hypothesis. You then test your hypothesis with data and controls. Your observation led to the hypothesis which led to the experiment which led to the observation of the results either proving or disproving the hypothesis. Without observation there would be no evidence.

          • RJB

            Very good. Now please apply all of the above, along with a solid science education and an open mind, to EVERYTHING you read.

          • agscienceliterate

            No, “real” evidence isn’t based on personal observation.
            That’s why we have science. (were you asleep in your science classes?)
            If I find a frog in my gmo sugarbeet field, will you conclude that the field is environmentally friendly?
            Do you use frogs as a standard of environmental health?
            What about the areas of the country where you don’t find frogs in the fields? (because frogs don’t live in those fields)
            Your specious reasoning would get you an “F” in my class.

          • JoeFarmer

            Thanks, I’ve about given up on trying to reason with this guy. He seems totally immune to facts.

          • gefreekamloops

            Theres some data on this site but its most likely all B.S. so don’t take any of it as fact. You can’t believe everything you read.

            http://www.amphibianark.org/the-crisis/amphibians-as-indicators/

          • JoeFarmer

            Your link seems to be referring to Tyrone Hayes’ research into atrazine. His research is controversial, and no one else has replicated his research that I’m aware of. That said, atrazine is pretty low on our list of preferred herbicides.

            As far as amphibians on our farm, I see green frogs, bull frogs, gray tree frogs, crawfish frogs and a couple of different types of toads. The population depends on weather conditions. I have not seen any correlation between cultural practices and amphibian populations.

          • gefreekamloops

            In 2012 Syngenta corporation, manufacturer of atrazine, was the defendant in a class action lawsuit concerning the levels of atrazine in human water supplies. Syngenta agreed to pay $105 million to reimburse more than one thousand water systems for “the cost of filtering atrazine from drinking water”. The company denied all wrongdoing.
            This sounds familiar. Are we actually learning from our past and why is it that it is banned in the European Union but not the U.S. Does the EPA know something that the scientists in the EU do not?

          • JoeFarmer

            I wouldn’t look to the EU for any expertise. Look at what’s happened with their knee-jerk temporary ban on neonicotinoids. A total disaster.

          • gefreekamloops

            Here is an interesting write up about atrazine use in the U.S. There seems to be a lot of compelling evidence that this product is bad news, not a lot of evidence that it is indeed safe for human consumption. If the EPA is dragging its feet on banning the second most prevalently used herbicide in the U.S. you’ve gotta wonder if there isn’t some manipulation of data going on here, and can they be trusted to ensure the safety of Glyphosate, the most prevalent herbicide.

            https://www.nrdc.org/health/atrazine/files/atrazine.pdf

          • gefreekamloops

            Did you say IF you find a frog. If you find a frog in your field I would be surprised. If you found baby frogs I’d be amazed. Science is based on observation. Before we had microscopes we used our eyes. Now we use computers to observe for us which allows us to see even further, but we are still seeing, just not perceiving a lot of the important stuff like what keeps an ecosystem in balance.

          • gefreekamloops

            I’m sure you’ve found flaws in the Rodale Trials. But with so much data collected over such a long period, how does one not consider this compelling evidence for the superiority of the Organic Method.

            http://rodaleinstitute.org/our-work/farming-systems-trial/farming-systems-trial-publications/

          • JoeFarmer

            Lower yields means more land needed. Whose forests do you want to cut down?

          • gefreekamloops

            Organic agriculture can achieve record yields with intensive farming practices. Its all about how it is managed. And of course we would need to get back all those farmers we’ve lost. You know perfectly well that there is no need to clear out forests.

          • JoeFarmer

            I have to give you high marks for consistency. Consistently wrong.

            “The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 115 studies — a dataset
            three times greater than previously published work — comparing organic
            and conventional agriculture. They found that organic yields are about
            19.2 percent lower than conventional ones, a smaller difference than in
            previous estimates..”
            http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/12/09/organic-conventional-farming-yield-gap/

            So where are you going to get the 25% more land to farm, since organic yields are 20% lower?

          • gefreekamloops

            The article that you sited concluded with the following

            “The researchers suggest that organic farming can be a very competitive alternative to industrial agriculture when it comes to food production.

            “It’s important to remember that our current agricultural system produces far more food than is needed to provide for everyone on the planet,” said Kremen. “Eradicating world hunger requires increasing the access to food, not simply the production. Also, increasing the proportion of agriculture that uses sustainable, organic methods of farming is not a choice, it’s a necessity. We simply can’t continue to produce food far into the future without taking care of our soils, water and biodiversity.”

            What good is more food if we waste more than 25 percent anyways and much of it just gets made into crap that causes heart disease. More yield means more money which is exactly what drives people to poison their own well. We should focus more on better yield. Sometimes less is more. At least that’s what my wife always tells me.

    • Critical reader

      BD does not employ the idea of purity. The soil should be balanced and healthy. The food should be nutritious. And BD simply has no concept of race, as it is an agricultural technique.

      BD’s founder, Steiner, suggested that the healthy progress of human culture would naturally result in the mixture of all races and the dissolution of the meaning of race as a distinguishing factor in humanity.

  • I’ve long regarded biodynamics as the homeopathy of agriculture. Seriously: work out the application rate of their “preparations” to the area and volume of soil. Every other fertiliser or spray in agriculture is applied at rates many times greater and they started out as more concentrated forms.

  • crush davis

    One of the big proponents of pseudoscience in agriculture-including SOME aspects of biodynamics–is “Dr” Arden Andersen. He is a DO with a “doctorate” from the defunct “Clayton University” in St. Louis. Clayton was an unaccredited correspondence school, and Andersen supposedly earned his “PhD” in “biophysics” as a protege of Dr. Phillip Callahan. Callahan was a crackpot who thought insect host-finding and mate-finding behaviors were not oflactory, but a result of insects’ detection of infrared radiation. He claimed their antennae were actually biological forms of television and radio antennae. I’m not making this up. Arden Andersen is a proponent of such medical quackery as chelation therapy, prolotherapy and sacral manipulation–none of which are accepted or condoned by legitimate medical professionals. In fact, some of those methods are considered harmful. Yet he supports them, although anymore he spends more time traveling the world giving harangues on how evil biotech is, how lazy farmers are for not knowing how to manage their soils properly. When he’s not doing that, he’s whining about how food is somehow becoming less nutritious, and it’s all because of modern agriculture. I might add, these screeds are invariably given to friendly audiences, where he doesn’t have to answer any truly science-based questions. He also calls himself a “consultant” and in a binder from one of his overpriced 2-day courses from 2007, there is no end to information out of context, belly-aching about glyphosate, and just plain wrongness. And, to come full circle, there is a page or two about Steiner’s “preparations,” one of which is packing a cow’s horn with cow manure, to harvest energies, or some such nonsense. In my opinion, Arden Andersen is setting back both medicine and organic agriculture considerably with his message. Fortunately, his ideas do not have much influence among the people who are actually feeding the world in conventional agriculture. But don’t take my word for it. There are a few clips of him on YouTube and anyone with formal scientific training will either laugh or cry at how misinformed he is, and how gullible his audiences must be.

  • Rooshic .

    This is a idiots article, in a small article he tries to put forward validation to prove Steiner was a Wack, with some relationship to Hitler. Hitler wanted Steiner dead, among other facts that Steiner in his works wants nothing more than greatness to come from humanity.

    • For what it matters, Hitler wanted nothing more than greatness to come from humanity–his personal vision was homicidal on a mass scale but his vision and sincerity, like with most crackpots are real. Steiner didn’t wish harm on people but that does not make his views of farming or nature anything less wacko, and ultimately wrong and at times destructive. Alas, good intentions are less important than good consquences.