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Natures' Way Farms  Your local source of  Natural Quality Food

A Natures' Way Farm logo, A network of farms, providing your family and community fresh high quality food.  Working together with communities to grow a healthy environment for future generations to enjoy

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 Be Healthy Go Beyond Organic

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Go beyond organic...   Eat  Biodynamically grown food ...   charged full of whole-earth .   life-energy for you

Biodynamic Farming - Bio-ag
Information from personal experience,  observations, and various sources

linked to healthy communities 

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Biodynamics is the origination of the current modern day non-chemical agricultural movement.
Biodynamic agriculture (bio-ag), is a science of life-forces and medicine for the earth.  At a Natures' Way Farm bio-ag is an ongoing path of learning to the knowledge of healing, rebuilding soil health and enriching the soils vital life giving energy.  Bio-ag encourages the recognition of basic principles occurring in nature, and at work in nature (natural phenomena).   Natures' Way Farms study and work to bring about a balance and healing to maintain a natural balance on the farm.  In a very real way,  bio-ag is much more that a set of methods and techniques, way beyond a set of certification standards established in a government office swayed by lobbyists. 
Bio-ag takes a broader look at nature and the earth and the rhythms of life on the farm. The health and vitality of plants, animals and people are enhanced with bio-ag.

It is absurd that over 97% of people in the USA get their food from large stores and markets from people who have never actually raised crops and animals or managed a farm.

An approach to this situation was developed which brings about the association of producers and consumers for their mutual benefit. The Community Supported Agriculture movement was born out of the Biodynamic movement. Gardens and farms gather around them a circle of supporters who agree in advance to meet the financial needs of the enterprise and its workers, and these supporters each receive a share of the produce as the season progresses. Thus consumers become connected with the real needs of the Earth, the farm and the Community; they rejoice in rich harvests, and remain faithful under adverse circumstances.

 

 
  New customers come back to us telling how wonderful our produce tastes or many make the comment they felt like they really ate something good for them. If you are a regular customer you are probably shaking your head up and down right now as you read this. 
Compared to what is available in stores, ...well, ...there is no comparison. Customers always seem to make similar comments such as: "your produce is wonderful...", and my favorite comment to hear "your tomatoes taste the best in town, ...the best I have ever tasted", or simply "just heavenly" (as they roll their eyes).  Customers at farmers market even tell us, when compared to other farmers market vendors  how much more flavorful and satisfying our produce seems to be. Thank you! Thank you for all the comments, they are important, keep them coming. But it is more important to notice and consider that your body can recognize high quality, wholesome, energized food. When you consume produce grown with biodynamic methods your body can definitely recognize the difference. ...and it says thanks!
 
Organic farming practices seem to parallel the biodynamic farming method, and some fundamental practices are similar. However, the whole biodynamic method is a higher form of farming system. Biodynamic farming is regaining attention with its superior quality produce and the publics growing demand for wholesome, flavorful, energized food. The emphasis on soil health is a key ingredient and essential to biodynamic farming and raising high quality life-energized food.
 

 


Brief 
Biodynamic agriculture developed out of a series of philosophically scientific  lectures on agriculture given by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). 
The lectures were taught in response to observations from  farmers that soils were becoming depleted following the introduction of chemical fertilizers. Farmers noticed a deterioration in the health and quality of food crops, feed crops and livestock. Thus, biodynamic agriculture was the first ecologically conscious farming alternative to chemical agriculture. A conscious turn toward nature.
Today biodynamic agriculture is practiced on farms around the world, on various scales, and in a variety of climates and cultures. 

A basic ecological principle of biodynamic agriculture is to consider the farm as an organism, a self-sufficient entity. The farm has its own individuality. Emphasis is placed on the integration of crops and livestock, maintenance of soil, recycling of nutrients, and the health and well being of soil reflecting into the crops and animals grown and raised with the rhythm of nature.

Considering the ecosystems within the farm leads to a series of holistic management practices that focus on the environmental aspects of the farm.

Biodynamic farming and gardening and organic farming have similarities with regard to some biological practices. Biodynamic agriculture is set apart from organic agriculture systems by application and interaction with the science of anthroposophy and in its emphasis on farming practices intended to achieve balance between the physical and non-physical realms in nature. Biodynamic agriculture focuses to enrich the ecosystem of the farm, enriching the farms soils, enhancing the products grown with its life-energy.

In a nutshell, biodynamic agriculture can be understood simply as the application of "biologically dynamic agriculture" practices. "Biological" practices include the commonly known organic farming techniques that improve soil health. "Dynamic" practices are intended to influence biological natural rhythms (planting during certain lunar phases) as well as metaphysical aspects of the farm, increasing vital life force produced in the food that is grown and creating a natural balance on the farm. Biodynamic farmers recognize there are forces that influence biological systems other than gravity, chemistry, and physics.

A fundamentally common opinion of biodynamic agriculture is that food raised biodynamically tastes better and is nutritionally superior   

Bio-Dynamic Farming combines Biological & Dynamic practices

Biological Practices Dynamic Practices
Till in green manures Special preparations and applications
Planting cover crops Special preparation foliar sprays
Hot or cold Composting Planting by calendar cycles & rhythms
Companion planting inter-planting Spray preparations for pest control
Integration of crops and livestock Homeopathy uses and applications
Adequate tillage and cultivation Alternative techniques and thought

 

Special Preparations

A distinguishing feature of biodynamic farming is the use of biodynamic preparations for the purpose of enhancing soil quality and stimulating plant life. They consist of animal, mineral, or plant manure extracts. In most applications preparations are fermented and applied in small proportions to compost, manures, the soil, or foliar fed to plants after dilution.

The original biodynamic preparations are made from cow manure (fermented) and used as a soil spray to stimulate root growth and humus formation. Other formulations are applied as a foliar spray to stimulate and regulate growth and are used in making compost. Another formulation is used as a foliar spray to suppress fungal diseases in plants.

Some of the materials used in making special preparations are:

Yarrow blossoms (Achillea millefolium)
Chamomile blossoms (Chamomilla officinalis)
Stinging nettle (whole plant in full bloom) (Urtica dioca)
Oak bark (Quercus robur)
Dandelion flowers (Taraxacum officinale)
Valerian flowers (Valeriana officinalis)

Biodynamic preparations are intended to help moderate and regulate biological processes as well as enhance and strengthen the farms life (etheric) forces.

 

Compost

Biodynamic compost may be considered the cornerstone of biodynamics.
Biodynamic compost is a basic building block of the biodynamic method; it serves as a way to recycle animal manures and organic wastes, stabilize nitrogen, and build soil humus and enhance soil health. Biodynamic compost is unique material prepared and charged with special preparation treatments. The preparation treatments may be home-made or are available for purchase.

Here again, "biological" and "dynamic" qualities are complementary: 
Biological compost serves as a source of humus in managing soil health and biodynamic compost is charged and emanates energy and life to vitalize the farm. The Special preparations are available for purchase. The traditional manner in which the biodynamic compost is made is rather exacting. 

Soil in Compost: Steiner prescribed the addition of soil to compost. Soil is an essential ingredient to compost and added at 10%-20% of the compost pile volume.

Mineralized Compost: The addition of rock powders (greensand, granite dust) to compost piles is a biodynamic practice known as mineralized compost. The dusts add mineral components to the compost and the organic acids released during the decomposition process help minerals in the rock powders to become soluble making nutrients more available to plants.

 


Phases of Compost:  

The Breakdown Phase: In the breakdown phase organic residues are decomposed into smaller particles. Proteins are broken down into amino acids, amines, and finally to ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, and free nitrogen. Urea, uric acids, and other non-protein nitrogen-containing compounds are reduced to ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and free nitrogen. Carbon compounds are oxidized to carbon dioxide (aerobic) or released as methane (anaerobic). The identification and understanding of breakdown microorganisms led to the development of a microbial inoculants to moderate and speed up the breakdown phase. The microbial inoculants also work against organisms that cause odors.

The Buildup Phase: In the buildup phase simple compounds are re-synthesized into complex humus substances. The organisms responsible for transformation to humus are aerobic and facultative aerobic, sporing and non-sporing and nitrogen fixing bacteria of the azotobacteria and nitrosomonas group.  The addition of soil, 10% by volume, favors the development and survival of Actinomycetes and streptomycetes organism which also play an important role. The development of humus is evident in color changes in the compost, and through qualitative tests such as the circular chromatography method.

Compost & Soil Evaluation: Biodynamic research into compost preparation and soil humus conditions has led to the development or specialized use of several unique qualitative tests. A notable contribution of biodynamics is the image-forming qualitative methods of analysis; e.g., circular chromatography, sensitive crystallization, capillary dynamolysis, and the drop-picture method. Other methods focus on the biological-chemical condition, colorimetric humus value, and potential pH.

 

Cover Crops and Green Manures

Cover crops play a central role in managing cropland soils in biological farming systems. Biodynamic farmers make use of cover crops for dynamic accumulation of soil nutrients, nematode control, soil loosening, and soil building in addition to the commonly recognized benefits of cover crops like soil protection and nitrogen fixation. Biodynamic farmers also make special use of plants like mustard, and oilseed radish in addition to common cover crops like rye and vetch. Cover crop strategies include under-sowing and catch cropping as well as winter cover crops and summer green manures.

Green manuring is a biological farming practice that receives special attention on the biodynamic farm. Green manuring involves the soil incorporation of any field or forage crop while green, or soon after flowering, for the purpose of soil improvement. The decomposition of green manures in soils parallels the composting process in that distinct phases of organic matter breakdown and humus buildup are moderated by microbes. Many biodynamic farmers, spray the green residue with a microbial inoculant prior to plow-down. The inoculant contains a mixed culture of microorganisms that help speed decomposition, thereby reducing the time until planting. In addition, the inoculant enhances formation of the clay-humus crumb which provides numerous exchange sites for nutrients and improves soil structure.

 

Crop rotations and companion planting

Crop rotation
The practice of sequential planting of crops - basic yet detailed in bio-ag  
A basic concept of crop rotation is the effect of different crops on the land: "humus-depleting" and "humus-restoring" crops,
"soil-exhausting" and "soil-restoring" crops,
"organic matter exhausting" and "organic matter restoring" crops.

Companion planting
A dynamic form of crop rotation commonly used in bio-ag. Specifically the planned association of two or more plant species planted near each other so that some cultural benefit (pest control, higher yield) is derived. In addition to beneficial associations, companion planting increases biodiversity on the farm adding balance to the farm ecosystem. 

 

Liquid Manures and Herbal Teas

Herbal teas, also called liquid manures or garden teas.

For bio-ag applications herbal teas usually consist of one fermented plant extract, while liquid manures are made by fermenting a mixture of herb plants in combination with fish or seaweed extracts. 

Foliar-fed plant extracts, liquid manures, and compost teas can be understood by viewing the way they influence the rhizosphere or phyllosphere. These are the microbial-rich regions surrounding the root and leaf surfaces. Compost, tillage, and green manures influence the rhizosphere; herbal teas and liquid manures influence the phyllosphere.

Foliar-applied biotic extracts can initiate a systemic whole plant response to inhibit pathogen spore germination. The foliar application promotes antagonistic (beneficial) microbes to compete against disease-causing organisms(pathogens)

Stinging nettle tea is extracted from whole nettle plants (Urtica dioica) at any stage of growth up to seed. To make nettle tea, use about three pounds of fresh plants for every gallon of water, allow the mixture to ferment for about ten days, then filter it and spray a diluted tea. Dilution rates of 1:10 to 1:20 are suggested in the biodynamic literature. 

Chamomile tea is derived from the flowers of true chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) which have been picked and dried in the sun. Fresh flowers may be used too, but they are only available during a short part of the growing season. To prepare the tea, steep about one cup of tightly packed flowers per gallon of hot water. Stir well, and spray the filtered tea when cool. Chamomile is high in calcium, potash, and sulfur; it is good for leafy crops and flowers and promotes health of vegetables in general.

Comfrey tea is another tea commonly used in organic farming and gardening. Comfrey is a rich source of nutrients; it is especially good for fruiting and seed filling crops. It can be made by packing a barrel three-quarters full with fresh cut leaves, followed by topping the barrel full of water. It is allowed to steep for 7-14 days, then filtered and diluted in half with water prior to use.

Compost teas are used for their disease suppressive benefits as well as for their ability to serve as a growth-promoting microbial inoculant.

 

Planetary Influences  
Activities are timed with lunar and astrological cycles such as making special preparations and when to plant and cultivate. 
Recognition of celestial influences on plant growth is part of the biodynamic awareness of how the subtle energy forces affect biological systems. 

 

Community Supported Agriculture 
An alternative to corporate mass produced food. 
Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is your direct link to fresh locally grown food. Next to growing the food yourself, the safest, freshest source for home grown food in the area is from a Natures' Way Farm. The freshest food is the food grown closest to you and especially for you. Instead of paying the inflated price for certified organic produce at stores, coops and markets, buy shares of our Natures' Way CSA. You'll get more food for your money. Food that is beyond organic. Food raised, Natures' Way, with care just for you.

 

Food Quality 
Researchers have looked into the quality of bio-dynamically grown foods. 
The nutritional comparisons between bio-dynamically grown foods and foods raised by organic and conventional production methods remain very politically controversial. Notable biodynamic researchers and studies report on superior nutritional analysis of bio-dynamically grown foods.
Testing and research
Special image-forming qualitative methods of analysis such as; sensitive crystallization, circular chromatography, capillary dynamolysis, and the drop-picture method shows superior quality and 

 

Summary

Biodynamics uses scientifically sound organic farming practices that build and sustain soil productivity as well as plant and animal health. The philosophical principles of biodynamics practice working with the unique and subtle energy forces of plants and ecosystems. 

In mainstream agriculture the focus is on the physical-chemical aspects.
Biodynamic agriculture, recognizes the subtle energy forces in nature and promotes their benefits through specialized "dynamic" practices.

Biodynamic agriculture is proven to be productive and yield highly nutritious, high quality foods. The fact remains that biodynamic farming is practiced on a commercial scale in many countries and is gaining wider recognition for its contributions to the beginning of organic farming, community supported agriculture and qualitative tests for soils and composts. 

 

Gardens are a little simple easy work, actually fun, and ecologically beneficial for everyone.

Start kids growing a garden young, so they may grow healthy and live long.

Our garden group is open to the public.   Our community educational program conducts workshops and seminars.   The Coalition is developing new marketing and promotional materials for growers.

  CSA's are a key element in a healthy community   ...more>>


TSABC is a grassroots membership organization made up of farmers, as well as rural and urban residents working together to:

  • secure a locally grown healthy fresh food supply, cutting the dependency on petroleum to ship you old food 
  • preserve our precious soil, vital waters and wildlife
  • develop and expand our education extension program through a network of members, like you
  • transition small conventional and organic farms to Natures' Way Farms
  • organize communities for immediate realizable major benefits to communities and our environment
  • hold corporations and government accountable! It's our environment, OUR RIGHT, OUR GOVERNMENT
  • and create a new sustainable food and agriculture system 

Our work is currently concentrated in the following three areas:


We welcome you to join us. Basic membership is free 
Associate membership begins at $35  and includes; email news, biannual newsletter, free classified ads, email links to you (if you want).  
Becoming a Natures' Way Farm  includes; the Associate package plus a static web page on our web site, display ads, and a links to your website, regular updates on food and agriculture issues that affect you, invitations to workshops and meetings, and opportunities to connect with others who share your values.

  Become a member today   Our members are our power.