It’s a fun word: Biodynamic. Break it down and it seems to mean life force or life energy, and in a way it definitely does. Biodynamic is a word that’s been popping up a lot lately around those in the know (people who recognize the importance of eating organically), and some are calling biodynamic “beyond organic” when it comes to how our food, or in this case tea, is grown.
It all goes back to this fellow named Rudolf Steiner, who in 1924, gave a series of lectures to local farmers in Poland who were frustrated that their soil quality was declining along with the health of their crops and livestock. Steiner recognized the interrelated nature of a farm. There is a fundamental link between soil, plants and livestock and when in balance, this closed circuit does not need the aid of fertilizers and chemicals. Sounds like organic right? No pesticides, no chemical fertilizers, none of that bad stuff that’s been proven to harm us at the end of the food chain.
This is where Steiner took the ideas a step further. His practice of biodynamic agriculture includes a certain degree of spirituality and mysticism. Seeds are planted at certain lunar phases, for example, because not only is the cycle between soil, plant and animal important, so too is the link between growth and the life force of the moon and sun. Biodynamic is a sort of stepping back to see the whole forest, rather than felling the whole forest to save a tree (which is kind of what contemporary standard agricultural practices look like from that distance).
On a biodynamic farm or estate, all of the fertilizer is made organically on the farm itself. Old bullhorns and vermiculite are added to the compost in a series of recipes cooked up by Steiner. One way to describe it is as a closed circuit of input and output. Sustainable, is another, perhaps more trendy, way to put it. Either way, it’s good for the land and good for the crops.
Biodynamic agriculture is about healing the earth. And healing is the one thing this planet and its inhabitants are in desperate need of. We at Art of Tea like to think that we’re saving the planet, one cup of Biodynamic Bai Mu Dan, First Flush Darjeeling and Biodynamic Breakfast Tea at a time.