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Biodynamic agriculture – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

April 1, 2012

Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming that emphasizes the holistic development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system.[1][2][3] Biodynamic farming has much in common with other organic approaches, such as emphasizing the use of manures and composts and excluding of the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. There are independent certification agencies for biodynamic products; most of these agencies are members of the international biodynamics standards group Demeter International. Biodynamics originated out of the work of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy.[4]Biodynamics was one of the first modern ecological farming systems[5][6][7] and is considered to be one of the most sustainable.[8] As of 2011 biodynamic techniques were used on 142,482 hectares in 47 countries; Germany accounts for 45.1% of the global total.[9] Biodynamic methods of cultivating wine grapes have been taken up broadly, including by notable vineyards.[10] Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include the use of fermented herbal and mineral preparations as compost additives and field sprays, integration of farm animals and plant production, an emphasis on local production and distribution systems using local breeds and varieties, and the use of an astronomical sowing and planting calendar.[11][12]A 2009/2011 review found that biodynamically cultivated fields achieve lower absolute yields but better energy efficiency of production; impact the environment positively, including increased biodiversity; had greater earthworm populations and biomass than conventional farms; maintained or slightly improved organic carbon levels, while both organic and conventional farming techniques resulted in a loss of organic carbon; had higher microbial biomass carbon and dehydrogenase activity than those of either organically or conventionally farmed fields.[12][13]:23Biodynamic agriculture has been characterized as pseudoscience,[14][15][16][17] whereas it has been characterised as a manifestation of “spiritual science” by its founder, Rudolf Steiner, and its developers, who advocate taking a holistic view rather than a reductionist view.[4][18]

via Biodynamic agriculture – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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