This is intended as a short follow-up post to The roots of biodynamics, where I started off by saying that wine drinkers tend to think of biodynamic wine production as organic with bells and whistles.
That may be true, but it is very much putting the cart before the horse. Steiner’s lectures in 1924 pre-date the modern organic movement, which emerged in England in the 1940s. Thus, it seems to me that the more practical ideas of the organic movement became part of the cannon of biodynamic practitioners as a later addition, rather than organic farming being the solid foundation for the magic sprinkle of biodynamics.
I don’t really want to go too much into the history and philosophy of organic farming, other than to make the point that it stemmed from the study of traditional agriculture practice, and thus is very different to the spiritual theories of Steiner. Sir Albert Howard, known as the father of organic farming, is illustrated above. The organic movement certainly has a strong ideological aspect to it, but essentially it is the product of rational thought, and compared to biodynamics is much more amenable to scientific enquiry.
Just one final thought. I have recently come across a number of sources that claim that the ideal of the farm as a self-sufficient organism is one of the ways in which biodynamics is superior to mere organic farming. Don’t believe it! How many wine producers have access to cattle and red deer on their own land, for the various biodynamic preparations? Some vineyards do not even have cattle in the same region, as the landscape is more suited to sheep and goats. Besides, the concept of the farm as a self-sufficient organism is very much owned by the organic movement – ever wondered why it is called organic?