Sustainable agriculture is a unique “spiritual” scientific approach to nature and all life. The natural environment is understood within a much larger picture than modern science which tends to view the natural world from a smaller and limited perspective. Within nature, every little detail is of great significance, and points to a more expansive interconnection. The focus of sustainable agriculture, like biodynamic gardening, is ultimately the health of the soil. It is from healthy soil that plants will extract the right nutrients for their own healthy growth, and then it is we who eat these plants who will be gifted with revitalizing health. The spiritual component comes into play when we consider our own health and vitality may directly affect our capacity to spiritually evolve.
Inevitably, soil is at the heart of all agriculture. When non-organic and chemical fertilizers are used to supposedly enhance soil, one may end up with a gorgeous twenty-five pound melon that is completely devoid of nutritious vitality. Sustainable soil must reflect an earth element that is vital and rich. When we focus on fertilizers that are carried solely to plants by water, we are ignoring the vitality of the soil to provide the essential nutrients, and denying the work we need to do to make that happen. Fertilizers are a short cuts to nourish plants when it is the quality of the soil that is meant to provide the nourishment. This true vitality includes cosmic, etheric and planetary influences which are commonly overlooked in the bigger scope of most agriculture. These influences are invisible and require a deeper study of nature for understanding. In order to provide humanity with truly sustainable food, these enduring practices must be embraced if we are going to provide people with the most beneficial and health giving food possible. Consumers today must be wary of agricultural production purely for the sake of profit for their best health is not part of this equation.
As inhabitants on this planet, it is our job to maintain the health of our soils if we expect to remain healthy. The healthy growth of plants, and by that I mean plants that will ultimately nourish and enliven us as opposed to produce that just looks nice, depends upon enlivened soil. Soil can become depleted of its enlivening power. We must understand the correct manner in which to revitalize depleted soils. Soil requires specific compounds in correct preparations to be deemed healthy. Soil amendments of mineral and non-organic fertilizers is not the answer to repair soil. It was Rudolph Steiner who understood soil amendment with the use of certain herbs which resulted in biodynamic preparations designed to replenish soil nutrients. These magical herbs included yarrow, chamomile, dandelion, stinging nettle and valerian blossoms. Beyond these herbs alone, Steiner discovered the power of incorporating and preparing the herbs within specific sheaths of animal organs, such as deer bladders and cow horns, wherein the mix of the herbs and animal energy created powerful remedies to heal depleted soils. Though this unusual method may not be a path for all farmers and gardeners, it is important to understand the interconnected power Steiner intuited between all life forms. His teachings are designed to make us aware of this incredible interrelationship occurring in nature at all times, and the magnitude of what we are able to learn from these. Ponder for a moment his words, “…the etheric vitality must be retained within the realm of the living, that it should never leave the realm of growth”. Steiner’s words are trying to help us grasp there are forces at work in nature crucial to our understanding if we are to live in harmony with nature and benefit.
Sustainable farming and growing is designed to ensure the true processes embedded in any natural ecosystem can occur the right way. It is man’s arrogance which leads him to presume he knows better than nature when in fact, it is his ignorance. Does man understand the essence of planting by the moon, or the invisible absorption by plants from nutrients in the air and rain that serve to maintain certain balances, or the messages the birds are singing to the plants? The Dust Bowl of the 1930s is a prime example of man gazing upon an expanse of land with mostly profit in mind, which blinded him to the necessary humility and respect to work and learn from nature before it was too late. We fail to realize nature has already provided us with every solution we need to work in harmony with her, but we must look to Her over our own creative pride which has proven time and time again to result in disastrous imbalance.
When we look out upon a field of growing plants, we do not visibly see nor comprehend all that is before us. We do not realize the focus surrounding and supporting the plants is cosmic in nature, or the influences below the soil, and in the soil and in the air and rain are actually at work in the plants growth. So much is happening we cannot see, yet is vital to know. We are not opening ourselves to what nature has to teach us, but rather maintaining the illusion of our dominion over Her. Are we insane to think the planets influence plant growth when the moon is able to raise and lower the ocean tides? I think not. The natural world is pure magic, a complex yet fragile ecosystem connected to the whole living universe. We are meant to have a relationship with our planet, with this earth, and allow it to teach us how the moon and water bring forth plant life, how the sun is changing all the time, how to naturally control disease and pests, how to replenish soil and how we can bring about our own destruction as a result of disrespect for our own planet’s wisdom. Modern convenience is nice, but a return to the garden might wake us all up…just in time.
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