Healing Soil, Saving Soil

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Back in the 1920’s, a group of German farmers asked the visionary Rudolph Steiner about the falling fertility and productivity of their soil. In response, he laid the foundations for what is now called Biodynamic farming, a method which relies on seeing the whole farm as an organism, which, like our bodies, is largely self-healing, self-regenerating, when treated with loving respect. Rather than importing substances like weed-killers and fertilizers, the farmer helps his plants and soil develop natural immunities, and s/he recycles organic waste and manures from the farm to feed the soil. Homeopathic medicines are ritually made and carefully applied when necessary. In her book How to Move Like a Gardener, Deb Soule of Aveena Botanicals gives us a wonderful, sensual and spiritual description of preparing some of these medicines. Biodynamic farming is an example of “responding to soil’s gifts with our own”(WB Logan).

Two organizations devoted to Biodynamic farming have as their mission, explicitly, Healing the Earth.

Demeter (www.demeter-usa.org) provides frameworks for teaching biodynamic practices, sets standards and certifies farm products as biodynamically grown, helps in developing markets for these products and advocates for environmental and agricultural issues.

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The Josephine Porter Institute (www.jpibiodynamics.org) sells biodynamic preparations, gives educational workshops, supplies books, and backs research to support biodynamic practices. They support a network of farmers teaching and advising other farmers on converting to  biodynamic farming.

An organization with the delightful name of “Kiss the Ground” has as its mission to “inspire and advocate for the restoration of soil worldwide.” It works through public education and advocacy to affect policy and consumer awareness about the vital importance of healthy soil and best practices to achieve this goal. They are the makers of the Soil Story film and originators of a petition to the CA government to include “allocating funds for soil as a means to sequester carbon.” On their website www.thesoilstory.com you can sign this petition (before the end of August) and you can access well organized and accessible information about soil science and many of the practices that we all can take part in to save the soil.