Last Update: August 16, 2023
Certified organic. Regenerative farming (1). Biodynamic certification (2). If you’ve been on the pulse of the food movement in recent years, you’ve likely heard about each of these practices and maybe even made an effort to shop for them when you can. But what’s the difference between regenerative farming versus Biodynamic, or Biodynamic versus organic? We’re tackling this question in today’s post, but let’s start with the biggest commonality: each farming practice and method avoids pesticides and harmful chemicals, and plays a role in making a difference in the long-term health of our soil and planet. Keep reading for some extra clarity.
In the world of organic farming, regenerative farming leads the pack in its holistic view of agriculture (3). Biodynamic farming is a type of regenerative agriculture practice, which is defined as a means to help reverse climate change by “rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity.” (4).
Regenerative agriculture focuses on four main farming practices:
Biodynamic agriculture is a form of regenerative agriculture pioneered by Dr. Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s. Steiner believed a harmonious approach to farming would help support plants and animals, while creating nutrient-dense food and emphasizing self-sustainability.
Here are some of the things you can expect to see on a biodynamic farm, which are based on Demeter’s Biodynamic Farm and Processing Standards.
If you think of regenerative farming practices as the holy grail of sustainable agriculture, then USDA organic is the gateway method. An organic label refers to the way farmers grow and process fruits and vegetables, which includes avoiding conventional pesticides and fertilizers and incorporating more natural approaches such as cow manure and compost.
When you’re shopping, look for the formal seal of approval from the United States Department of Agriculture (9). To achieve the USDA Certified Organic designation, more than 95 percent of ingredients used in a product are required to be certified organic and non-GMO, and animal products aren’t allowed to use antibiotics or growth hormones. That’s a big differentiator between organic and regenerative farming (10).
Choosing certified organic organic produce during shopping trips and at farmers’ markets is a great way to vote with your dollars—and we have thousands of options on ThriveMarket.com! When you have access to Certified Biodynamic or regenerative organic certification options, seek them out to support the farmers and brands who are helping define our food future for the better.
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