Thursday, December 24, 2015

Online Course in Biodynamic Agriculture

Biodynamic Agriculture is an advanced state of organic farming which lays the foundation for a new way of thinking about our relationship to earth and the environment. It was the first ecological farming system to raise a voice against the commercial fertilizers and pesticides during the early years of industrial agriculture. In Biodynamic Agriculture, a farm is considered a self-sufficient organism with interactions with biotic and abiotic factors.

This course will introduce students to biodynamic agriculture: concepts, principles, and practices. Students will understand soil as a living entity, soil formation, and agronomic aspects comprising soil fertility, nutrient cycling, and the importance of organic soil matter. This course will also cover biodynamic preparations, which are vital in this system of farming. The role of planets and constellations on plants and farming to attune the crops to the biorhythms of nature will be discussed.

Course Structure

This course consists of four pre-recorded lessons discussing the benefits of biodynamic farming.
  1. Lesson 1: Introduction to Biodynamic Agriculture
  2. Lesson 2: Biodynamic Principles and Practices
  3. Lesson 3: Biodynamic Preparations
  4. Lesson 4: Biodynamic Preparations and the Lunar Calendar

Sunday, October 11, 2015

This Tiny Country Is Going 100% Organic

A tiny country like Bhutan is going 100% organic to safeguard its citizens from the consumption of toxic residues in food and preventing contamination on natural resources. Organic agriculture not only produces safe food but it helps to support traditional rural life and build communities that respect and revere nature. The industrial agriculture has systematically destroyed the rural communities and the culture associated with it. There is a need to radically redesign the present food system to build local, regional and global food systems that are based on deep agroecological, ethical and spiritual principles for a happy planet. Bhutan's organic story is a reminder for the countries to rethink on their food and agriculture programs and policies.

Interesting article on Bhutan going 100% Organic 

Extension officials learning Organic Agriculture techniques in Bhutan

Friday, September 4, 2015

Wild Edibles

In nature there are about 7000 plants which are edible to human beings. The native tribes knew most of the edible wild plants in their locality and had a knowledge of using these plants. The advent of industrial agriculture with emphasis on hybrid crops focused on  breeding commercially important crops. About 15 crops are bred through different modern breeding techniques which fulfills about 70% of the global calorie requirement. This has resulted in mass monocultures, soil degradation, environmental pollution and systematically uprooted the traditional knowledge systems of communities in food and nutrition. 

Wild edibles are available year around which grow voluntarily and do not require any resources to cultivate and manage them. Unfortunately we have branded such wonderful edibles as weeds. Every attempt is made to destroy these edible plants by using toxic chemicals. If we can be respectful to these plants and use them, humanity will benefit from a lot. It will reduce the pressure on land to cultivate crops and reverse the degradation that is happening today. Wild edibles are rich in nutrients and has medicinal properties. 

Recently I had an opportunity to share my views on wild edibles in a radio show organized by KRUU FM's Great Taste. It was fascinating to cook lamb-squatters (Chenopodium album) a very common weed plant which is invasive in nature. Lamb squatters are rich in nutrients which can be cooked in a variety of ways. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Course on Composting and Biodynamic Agriculture

Date: March 30 to April 23, 2015
Venue: Fairfield, Iowa, US

Biodynamic agriculture is an advanced state of organic agriculture. Every farm is treated as a “living organism” where all farm activities are self-supporting, interrelated and influence each other. Biodynamics is unique in its practices that include following the lunar rhythms  to guide planting and cultivation, using herbal preparations for enhancing the composting  process, spraying  specially aged manure and silica solutions on soil  and plants to aid the growth and development of plants.

Biodynamic farms are characterized by self-sufficiency and biological diversity where crops and livestock are integrated; nutrients are recycled to nurture the health of the soil, crops, animals, and the farmers. Scientific research in the past 2 decades has proved biodynamic agriculture as one of the efficient methods for carbon sequestration and address climate change.

Through the practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM),  a student  can establish a deeper understanding and appreciation of biodynamic agriculture and the nature’s unbound intelligence, the unified field of all the laws of nature. 

Objective of the course
To understand the principles and practice of biodynamic agriculture techniques, gain farming skills and deep understanding of the relationship of earth, life and human beings from a scientific and eco-spiritual perspective.

Course Contents

     Modern agriculture Crisis and Climate Change
     Understanding Dr.Rudolf Steiner’s 8 lectures on Agriculture through modern science.
     Principles and Practices of Biodynamic Agriculture
     Nine Biodynamic Preparations: making and utilization
     Biodynamic Composting
     Liquid Manure, Cow Pat Pit (CPP) and other formulations
     Crop Pest and Disease Management
     Animal Husbandry and Biodynamic Agriculture
     Converting a farm to Biodynamic
     Biodynamic Certification Procedures

“Biodynamics is all about  respecting nature, rebuilding healthy soil, growing healthier food, and building a conscious community of people ,”

Whether you are a student, farmer, amateur gardeners, activists, organic food and agriculture based organizations, if you want to learn about Biodynamics this course is for  You.