What is bio-dynamic farming?

By Kelly Newton-Wordsworth          BJuris LLB(BLaws)

(Housewife, mother, international performing and recording artist, composer,

author, environmental and humanitarian activist) With thanks to William Newton-

Wordsworth, for his valuable assistance in the writing of this article.

 

What is “biodynamic farming?”

For any person who has never heard of “Biodynamic” agriculture, I would love

to give you an introduction in a “nutshell”, so that you can become a passionate

‘biodynamic’ enthusiast after reading this article! Biodynamic agriculture is a

huge passion for myself my husband and our family. It is also becoming a

passion for a growing number of people throughout the world. Probably the main

reason for our great enthusiasm, is that we have been able to bring “life” to the

soil and grow food without poisons for around 30 years. Also it is a truly

sustainable way of farming, not just with small areas of land but it can be done on

a much larger scale. We are now the longest running broad acre biodynamic

farmers in Western Australia farming around 3,000 acres since 1987.

Biodynamic farming was developed by the Austrian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner

and introduced to the world in 1924. It was the foundation of the “organic

movement” in agriculture internationally. Prior to the 20 th century, all food was

grown “organically”, without artificial inputs and chemicals for controlling pests

and weeds. With the introduction of the methods used in modern conventional

farming, biodynamic and organic methods became known as “alternative

agriculture”.

Having been a biodynamic farmer now, since the late 80’s, I would say the “nut

shell” description of what we do, is that we gather cow manure (from only our

own cows) and pour the manure into empty cow-horns. We then bury the horns

under the ground for a few months during the winter. When we remove the

manure from the horns, the substance that once was ‘simply’ cow manure has

transformed into what is known as “500”. (It is called “500” because there are 500

million living bacteria in one gram of this material. Many agronomists are now

speaking about the importance of “microbes” leading to much healthier soil. The

application of 500, results in a quantum leap in microbe activity in the soil. This in

turn leads to a major increase in the health and vitality of the soil, which of course

leads to the same in the foods grown in this soil.)

The cow manure after it has become ‘500’ changes and smells sweet. It is no

longer like cow manure and more like compost. However, it is also not like

compost. You can hold it in your hand, and it feels spongy. It is black in colour

and you can roll it to form it into a ball.

One hand full of this “500” mixed with a quantity of water and stirred in a

container in a specific way for one hour is enough “activator” to spray one acre of

land. The results we are achieving in many ways are astonishing from the

perspective of not only the health and vigour of our pastures and the animals, but

also the profitability of our farming operation.

From the consumer’s point of view though, I know people who are looking to eat

‘clean’ food would be very interested to know a lot more about what is happening

in the production of their food and also what is happening in the environment in

which they live. How “clean” is the food being purchased by people all over the

world?

Would you choose to eat ‘Biodynamic food’ as opposed to conventionally

grown food ?

Please humour me for a moment, and ask your self a simple question. If you

were given the choice between eating foods, which were grown in the following

two completely different ways, which would you choose for the health of yourself

and your family?(If you are interested in letting us know, and perhaps being

interviewed, please email us. We would be very grateful for your answers)

 Choice 1

Eat food that was grown with a cocktail of poisons (herbicides, pesticides,

fungicides), chemicals, “potentially” Genetically modified organisms (there

is almost no labelling so far of these foods in international markets) and

artificial toxic fertilisers potentially containing heavy metals.

 Choice 2

Eat food that was grown with a life-giving bacteria, derived only from cow

manure collected from a biodynamic/organic farm. This food has been

produced with NO poisons, chemicals or toxic fertilisers, only a substance

which brings life to the soils in which the food is grown and therefore brings life

to the foods to be consumed. Biodynamic foods are also grown with natural

fertilisers as required.

I imagine that if you are a sane human being and truly care about your health in

the short and long term, you would choose to eat Biodynamic/Organic food.

Do consumers really have the choice?

The difference between having this opportunity to “choose” in this hypothetical

situation, and what is happening out in the real world, is that most people have

no idea of the way in which their food is being grown. There is no labelling of

what farmers are using to grow their produce, on produce and products, except

when the label states that food is grown, “biodynamically” or “organically”. I have

not so far found produce in most shops that state which chemicals or fertilisers

were used to grow the products I am buying in any shops I have been to around

the world!

Therefore effectively people have little or NO real choice as to the products they

are buying and therefore eating, unless they buy “biodynamic or organic” foods. If

anyone can help me to find produce that is stating the chemicals, drenches,

hormones or fertilisers that have been used in the production of any product from

conventional agriculture, please contact me and let me know.

Those who are very conscious of the foods they are eating for themselves and

their families, tend to discover the power and uniqueness of biodynamic produce

after a time. It is still a method of growing food that is not so well known

throughout the world, but the awareness of the benefits of eating this produce is

growing exponentially internationally.

The practice of biodynamic agriculture is allowing consumers to eat foods that

are ‘life enhancing’, therefore helping to bring increased health and wellbeing to

the consumers who buy and eat biodynamically grown foods. Organically grown

foods are also grown without the use of artificial fertilisers, hormones, chemical

drenches, chemicals and so on.

In this way, biodynamic agriculture is similar to organic farming. In another way

though, biodynamic agriculture is completely different to organic farming. Organic

farmers tend to use more composted manures, both animal and plant.

Biodynamic farmers are using the preparations such as ‘500’ to spray out over

the land and the living bacteria, does the work to bring life to the soil. Natural

rock phosphates and minerals tend to be used in places where particularly in

Western Australia our soils tend to be very mineral deficient.

When anyone really looks at the implications of the fact that we can grow

amazingly healthy and tasty foods, from one handful of ‘500’ to the acre, together

with occasional natural organic inputs, biodynamic agriculture can only be

described as a miraculous, life-enhancing, world changing, precious blessing to

humanity.

The fact that this method of looking after the land has not spread world wide very

quickly, can perhaps be attributed to the possibility that it stands as a major

threat to modern conventional practices of agriculture, where huge multi-national

companies market and promote to farmers world wide, that poisons and artificial

fertilisers are essential in the production of food and falsely claim that they are

safe.

The modern pretext that it is ‘impossible to grow food without chemicals and

artificial fertilisers’ has been promoted for more than fifty years throughout

schools, universities and agricultural colleges. These words have been spoken

and promoted for a long enough time that many farmers quote this saying as a

fact, instead of a theory.

The theory of modern conventional chemical based agriculture, was founded by

a German scientist Dr Liebig. This can of course be turned around to Dr “big lie”.

The chemical companies grabbed his theories of the advantages of growing food

with chemically processed water-soluble fertilisers and ran with them.

He said this way of farming would lead to farmers having bigger yields. By the

time he was realising that his theory was faulty, in that while there were

increased yields unfortunately the application of the artificial chemically

processed fertilisers (which are made with substances like sulphuric acid) lead to

more acidic and unhealthy soils.

The plants and animals grown on these soils were not as healthy and the food

did not taste as good. By this time, it was too late to stop the movement of multi-

national companies who were producing and marketing these products to

farmers in the pursuit of ever increasing profits.

We now know many farmers who have told us that they will not let their wives

and families go anywhere near the canola paddocks. Why? We have met

beekeepers whose hives have been wiped out after farmers have sprayed the

canola. We know canola growers who use a chemical that they have told us is

banned all over the world but still used here in Western Australia. We have met

fruit growers who have told us they will not let their families go near their packing

sheds and they have an organic orchard for their families. What is going on

here?

Biodynamic agriculture is seen to be a very “alternative” method of farming in the

modern world. My husband William and I have been growing food in a successful

commercial way on an almost 3,000 acre property in Williams Western Australia

since 1987.

Many farmers have said to us that it is not possible to grow food without

chemicals and artificial fertilisers. Almost 30 years ago, one of these farmers said

to us, that our farm would be “barren” in ten years. That farmer has now sold his

farm due to increased debt and decreased productivity along with others who

made similar comments.

On our land, “Boraning”, (which in the local indigenous dialect, means “place of

spiritual wisdom”), we grow biodynamic beef, lamb, oats, olive oil, table olives,

pistachios, many fruits and vegetables, breed horses for horse sports and live a

life that people probably don’t even know is possible to live in the modern world.

We have an eco-tourism business, a music business, a Christian community and

now a church that meets every Sunday in our Café.

We live a “biodynamic” life full of amazing surprises, travel internationally to take

part in concerts, speaking engagements, events and have a wide variety of

exciting activities every day. Biodynamic agriculture is caring for the land on

which we live. We can eat the food we grow with happiness knowing the way in

which it has been grown, and walk across the land with a feeling of warmth that

is even ‘beyond’ the light of the sun.

The passion for living that comes from knowing that the way we are growing food

is right for ourselves, our family, friends and all of the people who buy our

produce is the one of the main answers to “WHY” we farm biodynamically.

Something money can’t buy is the happiness that comes from this lifestyle.

“Go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature” Mark 16:15

In the very last words Jesus speaks in the Gospel of Mark (Mark 16 :15) Jesus commands us all to “go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature”. These exact words are in the New King James version. When I opened up the bible for my early morning reading recently, I was deeply moved by these words.

As our family live out on the land and are surrounded by many creatures, I found myself smiling in a way that I could feel the love God has for all of His creation rising up inside my heart. I can remember when I was a child seeing the movie, Dr Doolittle and loving the idea or possibility that I could really talk to animals, the way he did in the film. The moment I read the words written in that gospel, I felt excited that Jesus is telling me to go out and preach the gospels to “every creature”. I could just see myself going and preaching to all of the magpies as they sing their songs to us every morning. They are singing right now as I am writing these words!

From the time I became Christian I have been travelling all over the world, singing and preaching to people in concerts, on the streets, in people’s homes, whilst having my hair done at the hairdresser’s, in churches, and every where I can speak where anyone would listen, but I have not so far gone out and been preaching to God’s creatures!

After reading these words to our Christian community where we live, different members have been telling us that they have been preaching to our cat, some of the horses and so on, to great effect. Our very old cat, known simply as “puss”, has been developing a slightly mad behaviour pattern, where as soon as she sees anyone, she meows in this extreme way and wants everyone to feed her immediately.

She is quite old, and even though we feed her incessantly, and have given her worming tablets, she is a little thin. It appears she is obsessed with tinned cat food. Apparently there could be something in the food, which causes cats to become addicted. I would believe this, except that none of our other cats behave in this way, so I suspect that she is getting old and perhaps is losing her “marbles”.

One of the members of the community, after hearing the reading the other morning, went and prayed for puss to be healed and preached the words of Jesus to her, and she has been a new cat since then! She is no longer meowing in this insane manner and seems to be interested again in sitting on the couch and being patted, something I haven’t seen too much of lately.

I know that people say that there is “more in heaven and earth than man can ever dream of”, and change in puss confirms the saying yet again. Jesus however, has given us so many keys, I know for all of us, there is always more we can learn from Him to apply in a very practical way, every moment of the day! When He said that anyone who obeys His commands can do what He did and even greater things, I want to encourage everyone to keep going. Keep looking to Jesus, His words bring us to new life every day, if we will do what He says. This never ceases to astonish me, how much more there is for us every day, if we will obey Him.

The truth about: modern agriculture

My name is Kelly Newton-Wordsworth. I have been farming biodynamically with my husband and family for around 28 years. As far as we know, we are the longest running biodynamic farmers in Western Australia. One of the main features of biodynamic agriculture is that we use mainly a “life-enhancing” soil activator as a “fertiliser”, which comes only from cow manure and no chemicals, pesticides, hormones or toxic drenches in the production of all of the food that comes from our land.

We have been warning people of the dangers of growing genetically modified crops and farming with chemicals for years. There are politicians in this state who have been publicly stating that there is “NO” evidence in the world that GM foods are toxic or harmful to the environment. I also heard this statement at a “Women in Agriculture” conference in Wickepin in 2014. This statement is a lie!

There is evidence from all over the world that GM foods are not safe for humans, animals or the environment. I challenge members of the Liberal Government to a public forum with farmers and speakers like ourselves, who have years of experience in ‘poison-free’ agriculture, to let the consumers of our state know what major chemical companies and conventional farmers are doing in relation to the production of our food and our environment. Let the people of WA be fully informed of the dangers of GM foods and then let the people have a referendum to say whether the majority want to eat such toxic foods, or allow the production of them!

We were recently in Japan for FOODEX and at the Embassy, officials were boasting of our “green, clean image” in agriculture. This is a joke that is not funny as it is simply not true. If we want to truly have a “clean, green niche” market in the world economy, stop the poisons used in growing of food in conventional agricultural practices and ban the growing of  GM crops in this nation, before it is too late!

Read about the only scientist in the world who has tested GM maize on rats for more than 2 years.

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=seralini+rats&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=fflb&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjX1JOSgMrOAhWCk5QKHUjmDtAQsAQIPQ&biw=1560&bih=867&dpr=0.9

Professor Serelini from France found that GM corn has caused large tumours in rats fed GM corn after more than 180 days. Monsanto, who created GM corn, (with a long history of poisoning the planet – dioxins, Agent Orange, PCB’s and so on), tests its products for much less time.

How can this be, with a product that has never existed before in the history of the world? No scientist on the earth has any idea of the long term, radical impact of genetically modifying seeds. The problem for all of us, is that if the short and long term impacts are devastating, there is no way back!

Genetically modified seeds are the dominant seed and take over from the sovereign or original seeds. If the GM seeds are not eliminated, over time, we will only be left with the GM seeds. This is a horror story, that politicians like Terry Redman and Colin Barnett, have started in this state with the introduction of GM canola into WA in 2009.

Did the people of WA have any choice about whether this was what we wanted? With a product of this nature, that has the potential to have such a devastating impact on the short and long term health of people and animals, the question should have been put to consumers to make the choice as to whether they were to be introduced into WA or not.

How can it be that farmers are simply allowed to produce food in whatever way they choose, being backed by companies like Monsanto, growing food with whatever chemicals, pesticides, hormones, drenches and toxic fertilisers they want, and then the unknowing, vulnerable consumers pay the price for the food that is grown, with little or no idea of the way in which it has been grown? If consumers knew what is happening in modern day conventional farming, there would probably be a revolution.

http://www.alternet.org/story/139962/agriculture_is_one_of_the_most_polluting_and_dangerous_industries

https://thebovine.wordpress.com/2009/05/18/chemical-agriculture-is-one-of-the-most-polluting-and-dangerous-industries-on-the-planet-today-wheres-the-solution/

It is very frightening for consumers to find out about the amount of poison that is being used in the world just to grow food. Who is making the largest profit from this? The chemical companies continue to make large profits at the expense of both farmers and the consumers who buy their produce. There are sick and dying farmers all over this state. There are farmers committing suicide. Why?

My husband and I were at a Lions meeting in our town where an ex-farmer and his wife came to speak. The woman stated that every time her husband was spraying, she had to hide their guns, as her husband would come in from spraying and want to kill himself. He was obviously having some kind of reaction to the chemicals which impact on the endocrine system. Other people may have no reaction, but what about the people who do react in this way?

The International Agency for research on Cancer( IARC) in a recent report “found significant carcinogenic effects in laboratory animals for rare kidney tumours and hemangiosarcoma in two mouse studies and benign tumours in two rat studies”.

http://www.gmwatch.org/news/latest-news/16766-94-scientists-explain-why-efsa-got-it-wrong-on-glyphosate

There are so many stories of farmers having Parkinson’s disease which is now linked by some scientists to Monsanto’s product, ‘Glyphosate’.

http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2016/03/03/jech-2015-207005.full#aff-36

There are already so many poisons involved in the growing of the food of the world, and now the icing on the cake for the chemical companies, the journey towards the ownership of the world’s seeds by genetic modification, starting with Monsanto in the US for the last 20 years has exposed the American people to GM foods without most of them even knowing about it!

http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/dec08/gm_food_safey_testing_inadequate.php

So what has happened to the rights of the people who buy the foods grown by the farmers, thereby providing them with income, but shockingly they are providing a product which is not what it appears to be! Modern conventional farming as far as I am concerned is a fraud against the consumers of the world.

Ask the mother who fed her child GM corn(seen in this documentary, Genetic Roulette, “The gamble of our lives!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yq0HMBQfdI0

She believed she was feeding her child normal corn, and her son started choking and had to be rushed to hospital. He almost died. She had given her son GM corn without knowing. Would she have happily fed her son GM corn? She was devastated when she found out that the corn was genetically modified. What right did she have to not give her child GM corn. None. That right was taken away from her, when Monsanto developed that GM corn, sold it to the farmers who grew it and neither partner in the growing process informed the buyer of the product what it actually was.

The woman’s son may have had a special allergy to GM corn, but she never had the choice to avoid buying it. GM foods are not labelled in the US. Monsanto is suing the state of Vermont as they are requiring labeling of GM foods and Monsanto is fighting the labeling of its GM creations. What rights do consumers have to not eat GM foods? Not many. These rights will become less and less as GM seeds take over from the ancient seeds. If GM foods are so great for consumers, why is Monsanto suing a whole state of the US to try to stop them from letting the consumers know what they are eating. Surely every person on the earth should have the right to know what they are buying and then eating?

http://theantimedia.org/monsanto-sues-vermont-claims-first-ever-gmo-labeling-law-in-u-s-violates-free-speech/

Apart from the abuse consumer’s rights from having little or no idea of the foods they are eating (from either GM crops to foods grown with so many chemicals), look at the devastating impact on organic farmers from Kojonup, Steve and Sue Marsh! To have worked for so many years to achieve their organic grading, that was gone in a “puff of wind” and seeds being carried by rain. That contamination has cost them around $1,000,000 in court costs. Again citizens whose right to true “clean, green” farming was usurped by Monsanto’s creation of GM canola and the growing of it by a neighbour.

Terry Redman with his “invented” barriers to stop the spread of GM have not succeeded in stopping the wind or the rain. What a fool! Unfortunately a dangerous fool! Dangerous fools have contributed to the destruction of so much of our precious environment. It seems that Joni Mitchell’s song, Big Yellow Taxi stating the lyrics, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” are looking like a prophesy. Time to make sure that no more GM seeds manage to find their way into WA.

It is time to take action to stop GM crops from being grown in WA now and forever, and start on the journey to being true to what our politicians and overseas ambassadors claim about our state and nation, that Australia is this great “clean and green” country, producing “clean and green” food. Time to make this a true statement instead of a piece of “dishonest marketing”. There is nothing “clean and green” about the growing of GM crops and the production of food for the world using toxic chemicals, pesticides, and poisons.