Biodynamics is one of several alternative paradigms of agriculture. It was the first comprehensive alternative farming system to emerge in the West in modern times. Founded by Rudolf Steiner it is a paradigm that not only embraces ecological sustainability, but also spiritual, social and economic concerns. 

Like anything else, biodynamics can be understood on many levels, from many perspectives. There are any number of ways of approach. Many people start from a very practical perspective and only over time get to know the philosophy behind biodynamics.

In my experience, however, understanding the philosophy behind the methods of biodynamics is quite essential as it enables practitioners to not only practice the methods, but to understand what we are doing and why; to undertand the biodynamic system so to speak. This enables us to assess and adjust our work with insight and confidence rather than just follow the methods more or less blindly. However, reading Steiner and other biodynamic texts takes time and effort. One way for many modern farmers to begin to approach biodynamics can be agroecology. It is a good introduction to the <bio> side of the biodynamic equation and introduces us to whole systems farming.

Please see our agroecology page and our biodynamic agriculture page for more indepth review of both systems.

To quote Miguel Altieri (see link below):

“Agroecology is a scientific discipline that uses ecological theory to study, design, manage and evaluate agricultural systems that are productive but also resource conserving.”

For starters: here are some important links to other sites that deal with agroecology. Also, check out my agroecology links page.

Agroecology In Action / Dr. Miguel Altieri’s page(s)
http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/~agroeco3
/

The Santa Cruz Agroecology Program/Farm
http://www.ucsc.edu/general_info/vtour/farm.htm
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