The gardens at Terra Flora, in Nevada City, California, headquarters of Flower Essence Services, received official Biodynamic® certification effective October, 1997, by the Demeter Association, the international accreditation agency for Biodynamic® Agriculture.
Biodynamic® is a term that actually predates “organic” by several decades. While it encompasses many of the principles of organic farming, such as the elimination of all chemicals, Biodynamic® agriculture fosters the individuality of the entire garden and farm organism, so that each part creates a greater whole. Each farm or garden is in turn connected to the Earth as a living being, and the cosmic rhythms of Moon, Sun, planets and stars that support the Earth’s true identity.
Highlights of Biodynamic® Agriculture
- Promotes the individuality of each farm or garden by minimizing outside inputs and “digesting” as many aspects of the land’s operation as possible back into the living organism.
- Operates on the fundamental insight that the soil is as important to the earth as blood is to the human being. The health of the soil is paramount to all Biodynamic® practices. Emphasis is on the living vitality of the soil through the creation of humus and related beneficial biological activity. This approach differs from simply adding corrective supplements to crops or land, whether or not these supplements are considered organic or chemical.
- Uses no chemically synthesized fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fumigants, hormones, antibiotics, growth regulators or
- GMOs. Reliance on these synthetics reduces the ability of plants to absorb nutrients from the soil, leaving them susceptible to disease. Over time, these chemicals kill the soil and the environment.
- Employs a series of eight herbal-based preparations applied to the soil in order to promote soil vitality through increased microbiologic activity and diversity.
- Uses cover crops and companion plants to maximize the health of the farm or garden.
- Promotes pest control through soil management, Biodynamic® sprays and teas, crop rotations and diversification, and the encouragement of diverse animal, bird and insect populations that lead to self-regulating predator and prey relationships.
- Aligns garden and farming practices (planting, pruning, etc.) with the Earth’s natural cycles (lunar, seasonal) for maximum health and development of plants.
The Farm and Garden as Living Organisms
Biodynamic® Agriculture is based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, who first developed its principles in 1924. Since then it has been developed further by thousands of practitioners throughout the world. In its principles and practice, Biodynamic® Agriculture regards the earth as a living organism. Holistic procedures that take into account the life forces of the earth and the cosmos are employed to enhance the fertility of the soil.
For example, potentized medicines from animal, plant and mineral sources are regularly applied to the soil, plants and compost. Careful consideration of environmental and cosmological influences, such as the waxing and waning moon, are important aspects of the Biodynamic® approach. Most importantly, the Biodynamic® path demands that its practitioners work with inner methods of observing, understanding and healing all life forms that comprise the garden and farm.
Beyond economic or marketing objectives, the genuine goal of Biodynamic® agriculture is that each farm or garden become a living organism which breathes between Earth and Cosmos.
In summary, Biodynamic® agriculture is not simply about consuming the resources of the earth, but about healing and protecting the very life forces that sustain the Earth.
There are more than 30,000 acres under Biodynamic® management in the U.S. The Demeter Association is an independent agency that certifies Biodynamic® farms in the U.S. and abroad. Demeter certification is considered a world-wide gold standard for organic accreditation, respected throughout the world for its high standards of integrity and quality. Its programs are in full compliance with the California Organic Foods Act of 1990. Detailed records and stringent inspection procedures are part of the lengthy certification process, which also requires the maintenance of organic certification status prior to and during the transition.
For a time, the FloraFusions Herbal Flower Oils (formerly the Seasons of the Soul) were certified organic whilst in transition to Biodynamic®, which meant that over 95% of the ingredients were from certified organic sources. As of 2007, the FloraFusions oils are certified Biodynamic® by the Demeter Association.
Our plant materials are grown in the Terra Flora Biodynamic® gardens, or wild-crafted from certified sites free of contamination. FES Quintessentials flower essences are certified Biodynamic® and organic, effective in mid-1999. This certification means that FES flower essences contain more than 95% Biodynamic® ingredients. We use a brandy preservative made from Biodynamic® grapes and our plants are either grown in the Terra Flora Biodynamic® gardens or wild-harvested in small quantities in pristine habitats.