By Bailey Hollingsworth
“We are not placed in creation without a purpose… Outside is the world of stars, the clouds, the kingdoms of nature, with all that spiritually belongs thereto, and within there is a world of the soul. These two belong to one another, and only through their mutually reacting on each other does evolution proceed.” – Rudolf Steiner, May 24, 1912
Our natural tendency toward creating systems that produce more food, more efficiently has led to the use of toxic chemical sprays and genetically modified organisms that leave harmful lasting affects on our environment and our bodies. The 'out of sight, out of mind' mentality plaguing our society evades the understanding of the consequences these techniques are having on Mother Nature. Biodynamic farming calls for a direct association with our natural surroundings to create a healthy, thriving environment where we are more aware of our subtle involvement with the cosmic energies of the universe. These interactions are a necessity for nurturing a more sustainable planet.
The Austrian philosopher and scientist, Rudolf Steiner delivered a series of lectures in the 1920’s with indications to better the soil and help balance the energy forces within a farm. His collection of farming techniques became known as biodynamics; the predecessor of modern organic farming. These practices base their techniques from past generations of farming that became lost somewhere in modern culture. Today, the award-winning Tierra Miguel Foundation of Pauma Valley, California, hopes to expand biodynamic farming practices by helping the local community understand the necessity for sustainable agriculture.
The Tierra Miguel Foundation (TMF), founded in 1999, uses biodynamic methods on its 85-acre certified organic farm to demonstrate the remarkable results of these practices. TMF received the first agricultural easement south of Santa Barbara by the state of California ensuring the land will remain forevermore in agricultural production. The Pauma Band of Mission Indians were instrumental in making the farm a permanent establishment by providing the financial assistance needed to purchase the farm. The partnership created between TMF and the Pauma Indians further expanded the presence of sustainable agriculture in the community with programs like Farm to School and Farmer for a Day that bring biodynamically grown food into public schools and allow students to visit the farm and learn what it takes to create nutritious food.
Biodynamics can be a bit mysterious in its methods as it relies mainly on harnessing the subtle shifts in cosmic energies within a farm to produce wholesome results. A biodynamic farm is considered a complete organism and a closed system, where it supplies its fertility needs with composted waste and manure, herbal spray preparations used to enhance life forces, and seed saving practices for next season’s crops. This differs significantly from the industrialized agricultural system that currently aims for the greatest yield with the least amount of effort, and little regard to the affects on the planet. “We reach limits of everything,” Farm Manager, Mil Krecu explains, “We’ve taken our intelligence and our ability to work with nature and we’ve far exceeded what nature intended.”
The Sustainability Project, lead by TMF, brings together farmers, conservationists, government agencies, and public organizations like CALTRANS, to establish healthy communities through training programs in sustainable agricultural systems and resource management. Beth Ann Levendoski explains, “Since 2000 we have had about 30,000 people come through our education program. We are really proud that we have been able to meet the community at that level.” Tierra Miguel Foundation has also been instrumental in the formation of the Grower’s Project, a central market for small farmers to distribute their product at wholesale prices.
Creating harmony between Man and Nature through rediscovered farming techniques will benefit the planet and provide flavorful, nutritionally rich food. Tierra Miguel Foundation strives daily to reestablish this connection within the community through the relationship of the conscious farmer and biodynamics.
To learn more about TMF and all the programs it has established to better the Southern California communities, log onto www.tierramiguelfarm.org.