There is still a lack of understanding of exactly what biodynamics (bd) is and where it came from. For a picture of what has been found by investigation, look at the criticism on wiki;
In a 1994 analysis, Holger Kirchmann, a soil researcher with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, concluded that Steiner’s instructions were occult and dogmatic, and cannot contribute to the development of alternative or sustainable agriculture and that many of Steiner’s statements are not provable because scientifically clear hypotheses cannot be made from his descriptions (for example, it is hard to prove that one has harnessed “cosmic forces” in the foods).
in a 2004 overview of biodynamic agriculture, Linda Chalker-Scott, a researcher at Washington State University, characterized biodynamics as pseudoscience, writing that Steiner did not use scientific methods to formulate his theory of biodynamics, and that the later addition of valid organic farming techniques has “muddled the discussion” of Steiner’s original idea. Based on the scant scientific testing of biodynamics, Chalker-Scott concluded “no evidence exists” that homeopathic preparations improve the soil.
Based in Stroud, the Biodynamic Association “exists in order to support, promote and develop the biodynamic approach to farming, gardening and forestry”.
The Steiner approach to growing is described on the website as “unique” (I won’t argue with that) and “seeks to improve the nutritional value of food and the sustainability of land by nurturing the vitality of the soil through the practical application of a holistic and spiritual understanding of nature and the human being”.
A reference to Rudolf Steiner appears well down the page, where they say he “first envisioned” biodynamics. They also say they have a spiritual purpose, and quote a line from the Foundation Stone Meditation written by Steiner in 1924; “Zielvoll führen Wollen” . The BDA says they “let it resound in our hearts and in our organisation.”
Other local organisations are Stroud Common Wealth and the Biodynamic Land Trust (BDLT) which have been successful over the last few years in raising money mainly for biodynamic projects. In 2010 Stroud common Wealth, run by anthroposophists, seems to have raised and spent £150k.
The BDLT similarly implies that biodynamics was not solely the invention of Steiner;
Biodynamics was founded in the early 1920s, when farmers, concerned about the declining health of soils, plants and animals, sought the advice of Rudolf Steiner…This approach has been under development around the world ever since.”
This is all designed to make bd seem respectable in the modern world, and to imply that it is not something practiced exclusively as part of anthroposophy.
Both organisations refer to lectures given by Steiner in the 20s and these are available in English to read in line on the Rudolf Steiner Archive. Doing so is the easiest way to confirm that indeed Steiner did invent bd. Here he describes “Spiritual manure”;
Thus in the horn you have something well adapted by its inherent nature, to ray back the living and astral properties into the inner life. In the horn you have something radiating life — nay, even radiating astrality
We take manure, such as we have available. We stuff it into the horn of a cow, and bury the horn a certain depth into the earth — say about 18 in. to 2 ft. 6 in…). You see, by burying the horn with its filling of manure, we preserve in the horn the forces it was accustomed to exert within the cow itself, namely the property of raying back whatever is life-giving and astral.”
“So you dig out what has been exposed to the summery life within the earth… You can take a fragment the size of a pea, or maybe only the size of a pin’s head, and distribute it by stirring it up well in a bucket of water. Here again, you will have to stir it for an hour, and you can now use it to sprinkle the plants externally. It will prove most beneficial with vegetables and the like.”
These methods are used today, as Stroud community Agriculture members and Ruskin Mill students will recognise; over 50 acres locally is used for bd, owned by a Steiner school and two Steiner colleges.
Anthroposophists in Stroud are busily enlarging their Steiner empire by presenting biodynamics as sustainable and nurturing, when in fact it is a prime example of pseudoscience. A waste of time and money which is contributing to the global expansion of Steiner enterprises- all based on the clairvoyant visions of a long -dead mystic.
All those members and supporters of community Agriculture, Land Trusts, etc who do not believe in magic, homeopathy and astrology as valid methods of food production should ask themselves whether they really want to support the disciples of Rudolf Steiner in their unpleasant belief system, anthroposophy. Here is Nick’s apposite comment;
Remember that, while most Steiner parents, children and teachers might not consider themselves to be racist, or Anthroposophists, the money received by the many Anthro businesses from Steiner/Waldorf schools, Biodynamics, Weleda, the Triodos Bank, various publishing houses, Camphill and so-on all goes to strengthening the people who control Anthroposophy who, in spite of decades of pressure from critics, refuse to say that Steiner’s racial hierarchy is wrong. Yes, they have claimed to be against racism, yes they have said that Steiner’s teaching might be thought to be racist by some people and, yes, they have said that modern Anthroposophists do not believe in racism. Yet they will not say that the racist hierarchy is racist and they will not say Steiner was wrong. Furthermore, they will not say how their belief in Anthroposophical reincarnation works without the racist hierarchy. So the £billions flowing into the Anthroposophical empire continues to expand the organisation and to keep the staunch Anthros (who believe in Steiner’s ‘truth’) in positions of wealth and power.