Friday, February 23, 2018

Why BIODYNAMIC is better than organic

From a farming perspective, there are HUGE differences between ORGANIC and BIODYNAMIC, too many for me to describe in one post.  For details, please see this page, and the links provided at the end.

From a consumer's perspective, biodynamic is organic on steroids.

In general, Biodynamic Agriculture does not allow importation - everything the farm needs must be produced by the farm itself.  In other words, biodynamic farmers DO NOT USE imported chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or GMO seeds.

Organic agriculture standards are determined by the government's NOSB (National Organic Standards Board), and the standards are continually being eroded by agribusinesses that want a piece of the organic monetary pie but don't want to provide an organic product in return.  There are over 100 chemicals - many of them dangerous - which are approved for organic farming.  Originally, these were meant to be reviewed periodically, and eliminated if natural alternatives became available, but the standards board has removed the 'sunset' provision and they are now here to stay forever.

Organic products are also not 100% organic!  According to Organic Consumers Organization:
  1. Foods that are 100% organic can be labeled “100% organic" and bear the “USDA organic" seal. (Excluding salt and water, which are considered natural, although both can be contaminated.  See my note below on water.)
  2. Foods that are 95% organic can be labeled “organic" if the remaining 5% of ingredients cannot be found in an organic form. They too can bear the “USDA Organic" seal.
  3. Foods that are 70% organic can include the phrase “made with organic" to describe those organic ingredients.
  4. Foods containing less than 70% organic ingredients can have the word “organic" only in their lists of ingredients.
Sooooo, foods with "organic" on the label can contain up to 30% non-organic ingredients!  For instance, organic sausages are rarely made with organic casings.   

Don't get me wrong - organic is still MILES better than conventional which allows thousands of chemicals to be used - but there is a better option: BIODYNAMIC.

In addition to all of the things mentioned above, biodynamic farming improves the soil.  The longer biodynamic methods are used, the more productive the land becomes.  

Conversely, the longer one farms conventionally, the more the soil is depleted until nothing will grow in it. 

True organic agriculture (not the sham organic produced by agribusinesses) lies in between these two extremes. It doesn't work to improve the soil the way biodynamic agriculture does, but it does attempt to prevent the destruction of the soil. (Products labeled TruGanic strive to "Maintain and Surpass True, Actual, Hard-Core Organic Standards.)

Organic farming actually had its roots in Biodynamics 
but diverged from those roots when the demand for organic products exploded.
We MUST return to those roots!
(see this excellent article for details)

Fortunately, for us, there are several biodynamic farms in this area and we support them all. 
I buy other biodynamic products online

If you'd like to find a Biodynamic CSA near you, 
The Biodynamic Association should be able to help you.

You can learn more about Biodynamic certification here: DEMETER Association, Inc.  
(Demeter - pronounced DEM'-eh-ter - is the certifying body.)

PLEASE!  Support biodynamic agriculture (by purchasing biodynamic products)!
Look for the Demeter seal:

For more information, contact DEMETER Association, Inc
(Demeter's vision is Curbing Climate Change through Biodynamic Agriculture)

HERE is a list of biodynamic products for sale in the USA. 

Small farms that cannot afford certification but do farm biodynamically will often reference Rudolph Steiner on their websites and other promotional material.  Steiner's name is another way to find biodynamic products when you're shopping.  I will periodically do a Google search on 'biodynamic' or 'Steiner' to see if any new sources have emerged.

The three biodynamic CSAs in our area are not certified.   
If you know your farmer, certification is not necessary.   

NOTE: Unfortunately, if biodynamically raised meat is processed by a conventional butcher and made into sausage it, too, will not be in a biodynamic or organic casing for the same reason organic sausages aren't: most butchers aren't able to process intestines and those that are, aren't willing to process organic/biodynamic ones. 

No comments: