November 16, 2016
You may have noticed a new biodynamic label popping up on produce and packaged food. The distinction refers to a special farming method that actually isn’t new at all—it’s based on the principles of Dr. Rudolf Steiner and has been practiced and further developed by farmers and researchers since the 1920s. As consumers become more informed about the dangers of synthetic pesticides and the soil-depleting nature of common farming practices, this alternative method is gaining newfound appreciation.
Biodynamic agriculture is a holistic approach to farming that takes the tenets of the organic movement to the next level. Like organic farmers, biodynamic growers eschew synthetic, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides—but that’s just one aspect of this complex and finely-tuned natural production process.
Biodynamic farmers treat the farm as a complete, living organism comprised of various systems that, when in balance, can generate the best conditions for fertile land and healthy crops.
If it sounds confusing, think of the advice most doctors give patients to stay healthy: Eat a variety of high-quality whole foods, and minimize consumption of artificial ingredients and toxins like alcohol and nicotine. Generally, following these guidelines help stave off nutritional deficiencies that may impair the functioning of your bodily systems.
Like organic farmers, biodynamic growers eschew synthetic, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides
According to biodynamic agriculture principles, the same is true for farming ecosystems. Biodynamic farmers take care to account for a farm’s unique features and develop optimal crop diversity and rotations to eliminate the need for synthetic products to manage pests and maintain high-quality soil. That might mean, for example, composting on site and cultivating a specific balance of certain animals and plants to keep the farm’s ecosystem in balance. Proponents of biodynamic agriculture believe it benefits the quality, nutrition and flavor of the food produced on such farms.
Curious to see if you can tell the difference? Back to the Roots believes so strongly in the biodynamic movement it created the nation’s first certified biodynamic breakfast cereal—Organic Biodynamic Cinnamon Clusters.
Proponents of biodynamic agriculture believe it benefits the quality, nutrition and flavor of the food produced on such farms.
To produce this cereal, the company starts with certified biodynamic wheat from a farm in Windsor, North Dakota run by Fred Kirshenmann, a renowned thought leader in the regenerative agriculture and biodynamic farming community. The sweet cinnamon flavor comes from biodynamic cane sugar from Paraguay and biodynamic cinnamon from Sri Lanka. Try a bowl with your milk of choice, as a yogurt topping, or straight from the box—no matter how you eat it, you’re supporting sustainable, all-natural farming practices that can benefit your body and the environment, so eat up!
Photo and illustration credit: Alicia Cho and Karley Koenig
Melinda writes about health, wellness, and food for the Thrive Market blog. She started her career as a financial journalist in NYC and has written for Where Magazine, Worth, Forbes, and TheStreet.com. When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys working out, sketching, and playing with her daughter and mini-dachshund, Goliath.
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