Friday, January 11, 2013

Farming Friday- What is Biodynamics?

 "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted..." Ecclesiastes, ch 3, vs i-iii

One of our goals on the Viking Homestead is using historical techniques in a modern age. As we have found there is precious little in a way of written documentation on how Viking Age or Medieval farmers farmed the land. 

What we do know:
1. Seasonal foods-

  • Food was available due to the seasons and location. During the Viking Age and Medieval times technology like refrigeration and mass transportation was not available. Food preparation and preservation had to be done so that food would be available during the winter. 

2. Farm tools

  • Check out Medieval Farming Methods here

3. Farm Animals

  • Check out Medieval Ridge and Furrow here

4. Planting Seasons are different in England/Northern Europe then in San Diego County

  • Check out The Medieval Farming Calendars here

We do have archaeological evidence of tools and even what breed of animals were on the farms. 
The information and theories are available on how the farms grew their foods but what about the applied practices?  The closes theories we have discovered is biodynamic farming/gardening. 

What is biodynamic farming?

Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised. Biodynamic practitioners also recognize and strive to work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant and animal health.  Most biodynamic initiatives seek to embody triple bottom line approaches (ecological, social and economic sustainability), taking inspiration from Steiner’s insights into social and economic life as well as agriculture.

Biodynamic Calendar
Is it the same as the Medieval calendars?

Rudolf Steiner was approached by farmers in the 1920's asking for help regarding rehabilitating the land on their farms. They had discovered that the land was dying from poor land management. In a series of lectures in 1920, Rudolf Steiner developed biodynamic agriculture based on his anthroposphical beliefs

To learn more about Biodynamic Farming in the United States check this link out here.

On the Viking Homestead

We discovered a few things about our Humble Homestead. 
1. It was rather abused and was dying. So, we are slowly bringing it back to life.
2. Southern California climate and temperate zones do not always jive with Midwestern United States or European climate and temperate zones. So, we have had to be uber creative and flexible regarding planting times.
3. Water management. We live in a semi- arid desert area. Water is a precious commodity. One of our goals is to build and sustain a water recycling/reclamation system based on the biodynamic methods.

For the last two years I have been posting my findings on historical peer review blog sites. This year I will share our findings with you. 

Bless Bless
Viking Mom

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