Taken directly from the Biodynamic Association website…A biodynamic farm functions as a strong, self-sustaining and vibrant single organism that recognizes and respects the basic principles at work in nature. It is a complete system in which all the different components of the farm are seen as parts of a greater whole. With farm animals at the centre a self-sustaining, balanced and harmonious environment is the result.
Special manure and herb-based preparations are applied to the fields and compost to enhance and stimulate the microbiological life in the soil and improve fertility. These have been shown to significantly improve the health and well being of soil, plant and animal as well as enhancing the vitality, flavour and keeping qualities of the produce for the benefit of the consumer. With the soil sequestering up to 25% more carbon than conventional farming methods, the health of the planet is also cared for. Biodynamic is a sound basis for sustainable food production.
Further to this, the biodynamic farmer recognizes that the life of a farm is exposed to wider as well as internal farm-based influences. The more subtle rhythms associated with the sun, the moon and the planets form the basis of an annually produced planting calendar. This guides the farmer towards appropriate times for cultivation and sowing for maximum quantity and quality.
The result is a rich and diverse farm built on sound organic principles that is embedded and sensitized to its surroundings. It produces food with such an individual quality that, as with wine, it can be described as having the `terroir´ of the farm – the sense of the place where it was grown.
Today at Fern Verrow we are making our biodynamic preps.For Biodynamic growers, Michaelmas and the beginning of Autumn marks the time to make, and bury in the ground a number of plant based “Preparations” all of which will be used throughout the following year.
At various stages from the beginning of Spring to the end of Summer certain common plants are gathered,dried and stored for making the Biodynamic Preparations in the Autumn. Each of these plants have” medicinal” properties. Each one is enclosed and sealed within an animal organ. Each organ whether it be the mysentary, intestine or bladder has a strong connection with the properties of the particular plant which it serves to. Each of the “Preparations” are then placed about a foot deep in the soil from the beginning of Autumn to receive the winter forces, and then dug up at the beginning of Spring when they are then ready to be used. They are then placed within compost and manure that is to be used on the farm throughout the year, thus making their way back into the soil. The purpose of this is to make the soil more receptive and sensitive to the forces of growth which work into and through it. The Preparations are enlivening the soil. The plants listed below are known as the compost preparartions, and it is these that we are making today, and will have them buried around the farm for the winter. It is always an enjoyable occasion and is very much part of our Biodynamic year.
Preparation 502- Yarrow
Preparation 503 -Chamomile
Preparation 504 – Nettle
Preparation 505- Oak Bark
Preparation 506- Dandelion
Preparation 507-Valerian ( juice is extracted from flowers around mid-summer and stored for later use)
So that’s what we are up to this week! We will also be in London this week selling our produce.
For sale at 55 Stanworth st (9am-2pm) and Borough Market (8.30am-4pm)