The biodynamic preparations are composted medicinal herbs. If these plants can stimulate animal health, how much more plant health and yet more microbial life? Hugh Courtney of Earth Legacy Agriculture, LLC urges people — really against his own financial interests — to make their own preparations. He does so because he is far more interested in what the preparations do than in money. But why? Can’t you just buy the preparations? Of course you can. But if you make your own, they are Indigenous Microorganisms (IMOs) which are uniquely suited to your land. You can import organisms, carefully prepared by others, but the ideal is for the farm to produce its own fertility.
A healthy body does not need medicine. All a healthy body needs is healthy food. But a sick body needs medicine. In the same way, a healthy Earth does not need medicine. But our Earth is sick. Our Earth needs medicine. The biodynamic preparations are medicines for healing the Earth. Organic food might help prevent you from getting sick, but it is not enough to heal a seriously diseased body. Organic practices are simply not enough to heal the Earth.
There are some people who might question the need for medicine. There are others who deny that the Earth is sick. But the soundness of biodynamic medicine will resonate with many of us, and the facts will validate their insight.
“Even someone who knows nothing as yet about directed compost fermentation must needs admit that certain well-known and well-described bacteria and yeasts play an important role in other fields of fermentation, in cheese, in milk (yogurt and Acidophilus), in wine, and in bread. Modern techniques in these fields do not permit accidental inoculation to take place but introduce quite specific cultures in order to achieve their specific ends. American wines of a Bordeaux, or Rhine, or Burgundy, or Riesling type are only possible because certain specific cultures have been used. Bread made from dough inoculated quite by chance with wild yeast would be quite unpalatable. It is the typical baker’s yeast which makes the dough rise and results in edible bread. To deny, therefore, to the composting process, that such specific microorganisms could be found and used which direct its proper fermentation is a retrogressive and not a progressive concept – inasmuch as experience has already shown that it works, wherever and whenever adequate knowledge and skills are applied.” Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, Bio-Dynamic Gardening and Farming, pg. 106.
Most of our soils, even what appear to be productive soils, are deteriorating. A new form of agriculture must arise to meet the new challenges facing Humanity. The biodynamic preparations are financially affordable, applied as herbal teas to your soils. Most of our soils are sick. None of them are as good as they could be. At this point in human development, the Earth’s soils are tired and need to be stimulated by gentle herbal medicines.
For the first years, it makes sense to me to purchase the biodynamic preparations from a reliable source. In my case, I buy them from Hugh Courtney at Earth Legacy Agriculture, LLC. They are not “indigenous” to my farm, but they are fermented here in Virginia. I have been using the biodynamic preparations for two seasons now, and this fall we buried our first BD500 “Horn Manure” using organic and 100% grass-fed cow manure from a lactating cow. We have our friends to thank for the manure.
The buried manure is “sensitized” and develops a unique relationship with the quality of your own soil. What develops there are Indigenous Microorganisms (IMOs), and ones ideally suited to forming stable humus.
There might be some benefit to importing the medicinal “inoculants” until the soil has begun to heal and can better produce its own preparations. On the other hand, perhaps the forces necessary to heal your soil are already there.
As Rudolf Steiner says, “A thoroughly healthy farm should be able to produce within itself all that it needs.” Since few farms today are “thoroughly healthy” they should look to healthy farms with composted medicinal herbs (“preparations”) to assist their return to health.
Steiner said: “The benefits of the bio-dynamic compost preparations should be made available as quickly as possible to the largest possible areas of the entire earth, for the earth’s healing.”
To me, it seems like we are on the verge of a catastrophic future where soils are dying. If we continue on this trajectory, we may enter a new Dust Bowl, as Ken Burns suggests in his recent documentary. If this does happen, where will the biological life come from to heal the ruined Earth? It will arise from organic and biodynamic farms and radiate outward as knowledge radiated out from monasteries after the Dark Age. There is nothing more important we can be doing now. The most important place to be is not with like minds, but surrounded by the very soils that need to be healed. Even with pesticides drifting onto your land, the preparations cultured on your farm will learn to metabolize these poisons. How else will deadened soils be rejuvenated?
From organic and biodynamic farms will radiate new life, whether or not we change the trajectory our food system has set for itself. We are creating the future for Humanity. Our project is cosmic in scope and is not limited by whether or not we avert the impending storm. We can hope that Humanity changes its ways so the good work of recolonizing neighboring soils can begin all the sooner. If Humanity doesn’t manage to change its ways and avert its catastrophe, our work is already in place, ready to repair what is broken.