Natural, biodynamic and organic farming
Natural farming: Doing nothing ...
Natural farming was inspired by agronomist and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka. After working as a plant pathologist during the 30s and 40s, Fukuoka began to question the, very intensive, agronomy of his time.
The idea that led to the new theory and the search for a new way of farming was that "Nature is perfect in itself. The problems start when man intervenes in nature to maximize the benefit".
He started organic farming on a small scale, and gradually eliminated plowing, fertilization and weeding until reached an efficient production method that could be called "nonfarming".
In a natural field, one does nothing at all, the fertilizer is unknown, weeds are welcome, watering is provided by the rain and the humidity and the only "machines" are a small hoe and the scissors for harvesting. The soil does not get tired, the field becomes more fertile and the quality of the products is superior.
The student and continuer of the work of Fukuoka, Panagiotis Manikis says amongst others: "Of course, it will degrade the natural cultivation if the identified only as an agricultural method. Natural farming is a spiritual path that connects science, religion, philosophy in a single capture as it once was in the past indivisible.
Natural farming aims to unite man, nature, and god".
We would rather say that natural farming nowadays, is primarily a political attitude, but this would start a very long discussion. Maybe we could elaborate on the topic in a future blog post.
The biodynamic cycle and natural harmony.
Farming according to the biodynamic cycle is a theory first developed in 1924, by Austrian philosopher, architect, educator, anthropologist theosophist, Rosicrucian - and who knows what else - Rudolf Steiner.
It is an all natural method, based on the dynamic interactions of the wider environment and the universe. He addresses the nature in a holistic manner, integrating each organism in one comprehensive set that interacts dynamically and evolves independently. The plants, as part of a "community" based on energy interface elements (earth, water, the wind, the sun) and these forces are expressed in the plant as foliage, root or blossom.
In fact, the annual biodynamic calendar is an ancient farming practice based on the observations of gatherers and farmers. Although it lacks any metaphysical dimension, it is probably the start in the belief of astrological signs and similar paraphernalia.
The old farmers linked their farm work with the phases of the moon. Naturally, they mixed a good deal of superstitions, gods, fairies, magic, and spells, but their methods worked none the less...
The sun, the moon, and all nearby celestial bodies affect the growth and form of plants through their gravitational pull. It sounds very logical if we consider that the gravitational attraction of the moon has the power to move huge volumes of water during the tide, pulling it to dynamically influence and juices of each plant separately.
Here in Amorgos, we consult the biodynamic calendar only for periods of harvesting.
Needless to say that conventional agronomists face natural farming with great demerit, although it has now become clear that conventional and chemical agriculture has completely failed. It has failed in regards to the quality of its products but foremost it has failed in maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment.
Organic farming nowadays is essentially a variation of conventional framing. Like conventional farming it is intensive, uses fertilizers and pesticides, it is expensive and it is conducted and from the human arrogance that decides what will grow, when and how.
Of course, a biological product is safer, free from hazardous chemicals, but is it natural? Does it have the form, and most importantly does it have all the essential components that it would have if it was completely natural?
Just visit your neighborhood deli to find organic tomatoes in December, and get the answer.
In addition, it is worth mentioning that genetically modified plants are cultivated as organic worldwide.
Natural and organic product
To summarize, a natural, biodynamic product is organic, while a biological (organic) product is not necessarily natural.
A natural product is one what we can find in nature at the time and in the form that nature chooses.
A natural product does not follow the rules and standards of human devising.
Finally, a natural product has zero carbon footprint.