Industrial agriculture focuses on yield and the appearance of food, as a result our food in England today is far less nutritious than in 1940, due to a depletion in the health and structure of our soil. Many of the nutrients that a human needs are not needed to make a crop grow well, and we have no way of telling just by looking at a vegetable what the internal quality of it is.
Biodynamic farming focuses very much on the quality of the farm rather than the quantity, on prioritising the health of the farm as a whole organism, with it’s bacteria, fungi and energy. I was surprised to learn that the method began ninety years ago with the ideas of Rudolf Steiner and was a precursor for our modern organic movement. The Biodynamic Association has its offices in Stroud and I visited the biodynamic farm at Hawkwood College to learn about their work. Walking up the driveway I saw a beautiful carved stone with some sort of geometric symbol on it, next to a crop. Straight away I felt that I was entering a space that was considered to be spiritual, where the land and the food were really focused on in a very conscientious, loving way.
The concept of Community Supported Agriculture has been a great tool for allowing environmentally conscientious farming to be economically viable.