What is Biodynamic Farming?


That’s the question driving one of the biggest breakthrough ideas to move into the mainstream in 2017: Biodynamic Farming

If you haven’t yet brushed up against biodynamics at the grocery store, in your meal-delivery kit or during a recent restaurant outing, expect to soon.

Why? I tackle that question in my latest column with Clean Eating Magazine: Is Biodynamic the New Organic? But it's part of a broader push by good food innovators to rethink what's possible when it comes to agriculture...how can we go a step beyond organics to farm in a way that's resilient, restorative, and helps regenerate not only the quality of our food, but also the planet?


What is the Difference Between Organic and Biodynamic?

Here's a deeper dive into the differences between the two certifications: Organic vs Biodynamic.

Biodynamics gels around a simple idea: much as functional medicine views a person as a living, holistic system rather than just “a list of symptoms” when treating disease, Biodynamic farming views the farm as a whole, living organism. The goal? To farm in a way that not only produces nourishing foods and healthy farm animals, but maintains a type of biologic balance that makes it self-sustaining.  For instance, on a biodynamic farm inputs like fertilizer, livestock feed or pest control don’t need to be trucked in (as with conventional farming), but are naturally generated on the farm itself.

To put it even more simply...remember Venn Diagrams? In that scenario, USDA Certified Organic would sit neatly within the larger circle of Biodynamic agricultural practices, as biodynamics has a much broader list of requirements.

Eaters, growers, and food companies at the front lines of the New Food Economy are getting behind this new thinking in a major way-such as Back to the Roots, whose biodynamic breakfast cereal recently snared a spot on New York City’s School Menu .  Even for farmers who can’t become 100% certified Biodynamic, it offers a profound and powerful vision for healing the food system. 

So....I still love to stock my pantry with organic options, but now I’m happy to make some more room in my cart for biodynamics, too.