A Call for the Biodynamic Movement to Come Out about Spiritual, Non-Material Farming Philosophy and Practice

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Abstract

Arguably the most underplayed characteristic that biodynamic farming can offer the rest of the sustainable farming community is its philosophy, science and practice in and of the non-material world. Other forms of alternative agriculture – organic, agroecology and permaculture - meet multiple sustainability goals, yet they continue to share with industrial agriculture their scientific basis in the mainstream Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm even as they openly support indigenous farming cultures. In this sense the biodynamic movement is not alone: throughout the Majority World of less-industrialised countries, a different paradigm exists that recognises the invisible, subtle energies and forces and, importantly, the crucial need to interact with them as part of our land-based activities. This paper argues that it may be time for the Biodynamic Movement to ‘come out’ more strongly about its non-material dimension, for the following three reasons: 1) Coming out could unite like-minded communities over the evidence base for biodynamic farming; 2) It would meet the rise in popular demand for spiritual knowledge and practise, within and outside of the farming sector; and 3) The rise of applied quantum science may provide us with philosophies, concepts and terms that enable us to discuss and explore this non-material dimension more easily. The paper concludes with a reflection on the nuanced reasons why biodynamic farming knowledge had been kept hidden.
LanguageEnglish
JournalOpen Agriculture
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventEvolving Agriculture and Food, Opening up Biodynamic Research - Goetheanum, Dornach, Basel, Switzerland
Duration: 5 Sep 20188 Sep 2018

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Philosophy
Farming
Paradigm
Rise
Alternative Agriculture
Energy
Invisible
Sustainability
Agroecology
Cartesian
Agriculture

Cite this

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abstract = "Arguably the most underplayed characteristic that biodynamic farming can offer the rest of the sustainable farming community is its philosophy, science and practice in and of the non-material world. Other forms of alternative agriculture – organic, agroecology and permaculture - meet multiple sustainability goals, yet they continue to share with industrial agriculture their scientific basis in the mainstream Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm even as they openly support indigenous farming cultures. In this sense the biodynamic movement is not alone: throughout the Majority World of less-industrialised countries, a different paradigm exists that recognises the invisible, subtle energies and forces and, importantly, the crucial need to interact with them as part of our land-based activities. This paper argues that it may be time for the Biodynamic Movement to ‘come out’ more strongly about its non-material dimension, for the following three reasons: 1) Coming out could unite like-minded communities over the evidence base for biodynamic farming; 2) It would meet the rise in popular demand for spiritual knowledge and practise, within and outside of the farming sector; and 3) The rise of applied quantum science may provide us with philosophies, concepts and terms that enable us to discuss and explore this non-material dimension more easily. The paper concludes with a reflection on the nuanced reasons why biodynamic farming knowledge had been kept hidden.",
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