The front page of the gardening section in the Telegraph yesterday was devoted to an article by Sarah Raven about Tablehurst farm near Forest Row in East Sussex – a biodynamic farm.
There are the usual beautiful pictures of apparently perfectly formed vegetables and smiling happy gardeners. There are paragraphs on “ethical gardening” and “good husbandry”.
Shame the ethics do not extend to honesty about the real basis of biodynamics, which apart from the moon planting and the use of “tonics” is Steiner’s belief system anthroposophy – not mentioned once, although Sarah does go so far as to mention “spiritual science”, which is progress.
Sarah says she is a doctor and “at heart a scientist”. If this is so, I hope she will look more closely at anthroposophy. She clearly has doubts about biodynamic techniques, saying
I found some of what I heard about biodynamics a little other-worldly…
The palaver of burying cow horns seems further than most of us would go…
but then appears to come down firmly in favour;
Whatever one thinks about the biodynamic growing system, there’s no doubt that it does produce the sort of food that we should all be eating…
Biodynamically grown plants thrive, are flavour-dense – and it’s comforting and inspiring knowing exactly what’s on your plate. I left with my car laden.
Vegetables produced without the cosmic forces and the use of labour from the residents with learning difficulties from the nearby Steiner care home will look and taste just as good, I can assure her. And I defy anyone to select a leafy green picked in the morning rather than in the evening in a blind tasting.
Sarah doesn’t know exactly what’s on her plate, and that is the problem. The vegetables have been produced as part of a belief system most people would find abhorrent.
If she did know, I hope she as a scientist would have left with an empty boot.