We use no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers at Riverglen Farm. All seed is certified organic, as well as chicken feed. Soil is cared for by gentle tilling practices and by adding as much organic matter as possible, usually our compost prepared with manure from our own animals and garden scraps.
Living organisms in soil possess a remarkable intelligence. They are able to transform organic waste into minerals and humus. Humus particles are very stable and their loose, crumbly nature allows soil to store large amounts of air, water and soluble nutrients which plants need to survive. The plants, in turn, feed the soil organisms with sweet root exudates. The relationship is just like the one we share with bacteria in our guts. Enhancing this system allows plants to thrive and develop to their full potential.
Vigorous, healthy plants are able not only better able to overcome pest and disease pressure; they are delicious, nutritious to feast upon. Industrial food lacks flavour and nutrition because the chemicals commonly used destroys soil organisms, preventing the soil/plant relationship to develop.
Biodynamic farmers set out to maximize the soil-plant relationship by using aforementioned organic practices, but also by preparing compost in such a way that encourages a variety of healthy soil organisms. Manure is mixed with other plant matter and inoculated by herbal fermentations, infusing the heap with specific types of soil organisms. When applied to the garden, this compost will strengthen the populations of desirable soil organisms, overtime changing native soil into rich, black earth. One more preparation, made of aged manure, is applied directly to the soil, again with the goal of enhancing soil life.
Living soil is healthy soil.
The living farm organism – The ‘whole’ (or holistic) farm
Animals that eat healthy plants have a much better chance of being healthy themselves. And of course, that means that they in turn produce healthier, and more delicious, food. When we apply healthy manure from healthy animals to our fields, the soil becomes even healthier. This produces healthier plants, which produces healthy animals and… Get the picture? It’s a circular process. One that enhances and supports itself, always improving, and providing us with remarkably high quality products. This is the ‘whole’ farm.
Unlike many other organic (certified or not) operations, we do not use processed poultry litter or any other manure obtained from animals raised in confinement, fed GMOs, antibiotics and other unpleasant chemicals. We raise our own happy, healthy animals and enjoy the benefits of preparing their manure into compost according to our own specifications.
In addition to crops and animals which produce an income, we feel that supporting a variety of living creatures, including insects, birds, wildlife, shrubs and trees, is the key to creating a healthy space. This semi-artificial ecosystem can interact with the natural ecosystem in a mutually beneficial manner and the result is a farm that can buffer and overcome such destructive forces as floods, droughts, pathogens, pests, electro-magnetic radiation, and chemical contamination of our environment.
Our holistic farm is adaptable and responsive. It buzzes with life all year round.
You can find out more about biodynamics at:
- The Society for Biodynamic Farming and Gardening in Ontario
- The North American Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association
- Demeter International
One principle we must grasp,
Otherwise no development will be possible in our crucial time.
Seek the truly practical life
but seek it in a way
that does not numb you towards the Spirit that is working in it.
Seek the Spirit,
but do no seek it out of greed for the supersensible,
from supersensible egoism;
but seek it, because you want to apply it
unselfishly in practical life, in the material world.
Make use of the ancient principle:
“Spirit is never without matter, matter never without Spirit.”
So that you say:
We intend to handle all material matters in the light of the Spirit,
And we shall seek the light of the Spirit in such a way
That it will kindle in us a warmth for our practical deeds.
Spirit that is led into matter by us;
Matter that is shaped by us until it reveals the Spirit it contains;
Matter that receives through us the Spirit revealed;
The Spirit that is brought by us to and into matter;
All this will build that active and vivid substance
Which can take humanity into real development;
Into that kind of progress that the people of today
In the deepest and most worthy longings of their souls
Can only but yearn for.
– Rudolf Steiner