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Monday, April 09, 2007
(1:02 PM) | Stephen:
Biodynamics In A Bottle

I just found an interesting story about biodynamic farming. This week, thousands of wine experts will be in Bordeux, France, to swish, swirl, sniff, snort, sip and spit wine "primeurs," or futures. For the first time, there will be several tastings of biodynamically grown wines.

To grow crops biondynamically means, first of all, that they are grown organically. However, it goes much further than avoiding artificial pesticides and fertilizers. According to Sherry Wildfeuer, while organic farming seeks to halt the damage humans do to the environment when farming, biodynamics proposes to actually heal the damage that has already been done to the earth through the use of things like DDT. It's based upon the work of one Rudolph Steiner, who was - well, he's hard to categorize. Read the Wikipedia article at the link, it's pretty good. I was particularly interested in his involvement with Theosophy; my university* was located on a campus in San Diego that was built by a Theosophical society.

The main principles of biodynamic farming are that each farm must produce all that it needs to function in a sustainable way, that farming must take into account the phases of the moon in order to be truly successful, and that various "preparations" can be place about the farm to correct imbalances and deficiencies. In the Yahoo! News article, one vintner tells of how he has reduced his use of copper - an allowable mildew treatment for organic farming - by half since he began planting according to the moon.

I'm a fully acculturated Westerner and therefore view any type of science - whether agriculture, medicine or others - that is not chock-full of artificial chemicals and processes as quasi-religious voo-doo nonsense. At least, that is usually my first reaction. However, it's hard to argue with results, and farmers in particular are very results-driven. And the wine industry - either your wine is good or it's not. If your wine is bad, then you either get out of the business or you change what you're doing. So with that in mind it was encouraging to read that the biodynamically grown wines did fairly well.

If it reduces our reliance upon artificial fertilizers, pesticides and helps to reverse the damage we've done to our home, then I'll accept even voo-doo nonsense.

*Our Administration building was built by the Spauldings of athletic equipment fame; from above it is in the shape of a turtle because Mrs. Spaulding believed that she would be reincarnated in that form. There is a purple glass ball on top of the building that is broken at least once a year due to a persistent urban legend in San Diego regarding the demons that reside within.

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