Biodynamic Agriculture is a working method in which all the living elements are part of a single organism. This living organism has its balance to safeguard. The farm is an “agricultural organism” (link) where every aspect is important and has its own function. This brings farmers who choose this method to not neglect any aspect, to avoid the use of pesticides and chemicals and to experiment with solutions to keep the whole organism healthy.
The tools for the health and balance of the agricultural organism
The biodynamic practices contain a way of living, a deep relationship to nature and the territory. Cultivating the land and raising animals according to this method returns more fertile soils, preserves and promotes biodiversity and guarantees healthier agri-food products.
The principles of biodynamic agriculture at the base of our philosophy are very simple. The agricultural activity at Podere Il Casale follows these principles and is translated with a key word: respect. Respect for our territory and for the consumer. The goal is to keep the entire agricultural body in good health and in balance in all its relationships by following these principles.
1. BIODYNAMIC PREPARATIONS
In biodynamic farming, the first step consists in spraying the soil with biodynamic preparations such as the prepared 500 or corno letame. The natural preparations are usually based on manure, bovine horns, quartz, dandelion flowers, yarrow, chamomile, valerian, nettle and bark of oak. Before use, these preparations are dynamized, that is, stirring first in one direction and then in the other. We will deepen this theme in the next articles.
2. SOIL CARE
Soil care is really importance. For example, the sovescio technique consists in sowing certain plants in “tired” soils, letting them grow up to a certain stage of vegetation, then mowing and leaving them on the ground to enrich the soil. The basic principle is to favor a correct decomposition of the organic substance and its recomposition in humus. Furthermore, the farmer’s attention must be aimed at combating the soil erosion activity, also in this case using different techniques according to the need.
In biodynamic agriculture, even polyculture has its importance. The relationships between the various plants, the biodiversity of the flora is functional to the health and balance of the agricultural organism. In fact, many plants “help” each other as parts of a single organism or some plants need other plants to grow better, be more productive and healthy .
4. FOOD AUTONOMY
This is another key principle for biodynamic agriculture: the importance for a farm, to be almost completely self-sufficient and independent from a food and energy point of view. Another important aspect is what is called a closed cycle: plants that run out of their life cycle do not exhaust their task in the agricultural organism and go to feed the soil for the plants that will come.
A plant that grows in a certain land and in a certain environment will have important characteristics that that environment and land have transferred to it. Even the grass and hay from which the animals feed will return to the soil in the form of manure. The principle is to create a closed and self-sufficient system.
5. OBSERVING THE COSMIC RHYTHMS
The previous four principles are inserted, when possible, in the natural rhythms of the cosmos. Here the concept of seasonality and the lunar calendar comes into play. The lunar calendar fits into a larger and no less important dimension. So, within the limits of possibility, the biodynamic farmer must observe and respect the rhythms that the cosmos imposes.
When we talk about Biodynamic Agriculture, as we have just said, we talk about a real method of work, a path, a philosophy. It is another point of view from which to look at things, a method of observation that looks at the relationships and connections between all the elements and living beingss.
We invite you to visit our farm Podere Il Casale in Pienza to participate in our activities or taste the products of the farm on the panoramic terrace of our restaurant.