Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Spiritual Scientific Approach To Farming: Does It Make Sense?

We continue to explore ways of tilling the land without doing any harm to the ecosystem. One of the farming system we are interested to try and maybe later on showcase to other farmers in the area is the Biodynamic system. It is not something new. Our indigenous forefathers talked about it. Still, I  had my eyebrows raised when I first heard it is gaining more and more advocates in the farming world.  But the more I thought about it,  the more it made sense. Read on and tell me what you think.

The system was first introduced in 1924 by Austrian spiritual scientist Rudolf Steiner to the industrialized world. But like I have said, the indigenous peoples have always practiced it until the western agriculture systems obliterated the practice. The system not only embraces the living ecology of the soil, but goes further, into the interaction of elements of the cosmos on the plant community.

You could say that to the degree “organic” food rises above mainstream food, so does biodynamic rise above organic - meaning it’s produce is even more vital and nutritious. Soil and plants are not only physically enriched, but are enhanced on the etheric level - in effect, aided to evolve to a higher state.

Homeopathic preparations are one of the devices used to accomplish this enhancement. Sometimes they are implanted in the soil, other times applied as a spray.

A quote from the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association:

“Rudolf Steiner presents a notion of science that says we can know things that go beyond what we can weigh, measure, and calculate. Science is the practice of observing phenomena and relating them in a way that correctly represents the phenomena's reality. Agricultural judgments about health, what to do where, and when to do what, best succeed when we begin to rely on a certain wisdom gained through observation and experience and when we perceive consciously and concretely the phenomena that induce life itself. 

Biodynamic farming and gardening combines common-sense agriculture, an understanding of ecology, and the specific environment of a given place with a new spiritual scientific approach to the concepts, principles, and practices of agriculture.” 

For further resources, visit the insight21 website.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Do Tell Me What They Are

My friends called me crazy for leaving what they call a "very good job". They can't imagine how an urban yuppie can take a drastic turn in his lifestyle and chose to be a farmer. But they know that once I make a decision, it is always final. I have been trained in my work to take a critical appraisal of every decision I take. It is not like I plunge myself on things out of fancy. So when my friends realized I wasn't kidding about turning myself into a farmer, they have been all out with their support.

The support may not often be the kind of support I want but hey! you can't be choosy with the support you want to get when it comes to friends. You would not believe how many packets of seeds I receive each week from the mail sent me by seed companies courtesy of well intentioned friends. I have misgivings about commercial seeds as I believe they are intended to be grown with inorganic inputs. We want to turn the farm into a showcase of sustainable farming technologies so going inorganic is out of the question.

We can't just throw the seeds away so what we did was grow them organically. Much to my surprise, the seeds responded favorably. But this post is not really about commercial seeds and organic farming technology, that could be the subject of much later post.

This post is about one plant that turned out to be a surprise. Look at the photos! People who visit the farm could not believe it's real. They think its plastic and had to dig their nails into it to make sure its real. Even the globe hopping me (it was part of my old work) have not seen them in the countries I have been into, at least not in the shops of Sainsbury or Tesco which I frequent when in London. I know they are of the squash family but what they are really I do not know. Our mistake, we did not tag them when we had them planted.

Are they edible? Are they simply ornamental? They do look good for Ikebana. Does any of our readers know?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Forest Food Adventure

Part of the fun of living in the farm was the adventure of scouring the forest which sorrounded the farm of wild edibles. The green leaves above which is referred to in the local dialect as "pongpong" has a tangy sour taste which taste real good when eaten with a dash of salt. The beautiful pink flower is that of what locals call "betbetak". The fruit is really sweet. Sadly, the curent generation of kids who have been raised into the "junk food culture" do not go into such wild food adventure anymore.

Part of the objective of the farm is to make sure this edible wild plants don't go extinct and have their own place in the wild.