What is biodynamic farming…and what does it mean for skin care?
If you’re a wine buff, you may have heard of biodynamic farming. Biodynamic vineyards and wineries have popped up all over the world as winemakers take a different approach to wine, often citing this way of farming as producing the best grapes. Just like the craft beer movement, it’s quenching a new thirst for wines that are as natural as possible, and a move away from mass-produced, synthetic options. It’s gaining traction too – walk through some of the most forward-thinking cities in the world and it won’t be long until you stumble across a natural wine bar peddling bottles from biodynamic vineyards.
Biodynamic farming isn’t just a ‘trend’ though, solely reserved for wine and hipsters. Firstly, it’s been around since the early 1920s and secondly, it’s how we’ve always grown the ingredients that make it into our skin care products at Jurlique. When Jurgen and Ulrike Klein chose the Adelaide Hills in South Australia to establish the Jurlique Farm back in the 1980s (thanks to the area’s pure, unpolluted air), they also chose to make that farm biodynamic*. Almost 35 years later and it’s how we continue to operate.
What is biodynamic farming?
Biodynamic principles were first introduced by Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner in 1924, who encouraged farmers to look to the cosmos before planting and harvesting crops. It’s an all-encompassing approach to farming and uses the sun, moon, stars and planets of earth to bring about balance and healing, treating the farm as a living organism – one that’s self-contained and self-sustainable.
Unlike conventional farming, biodynamic farming is guided by a specially-created biodynamic calendar. This calendar is based on the moon/planet positioning and – a bit like your horoscope – indicates what work should be undertaken when. The calendar shows when to plant, cultivate or harvest various crops based on both the phase of the moon and the zodiacal constellation the moon is passing through, and depending on whether the crop is the root, leaf, flower, or fruit (or seed) of the plant.
When the moon passes over Aries, Leo and Sagittarius the days are warm, influencing fruit and seed formation. Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn promote root growth. Gemini, Libra and Aquarius favours development of flowers, substance and colour through its influence over the air, and when the moon passes through Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces, it promotes vegetative growth because of its influence over water.
It’s an age-old, yet pioneering, principle that goes back much further than Steiner’s time. It’s a hark back to centuries gone by, when the only reliable calendar was the moon and stars (see, we told you it’s nothing new).
How does biodynamic differ from organic?
An organic system grows plants that are nutritionally good for your body, but a biodynamic system takes it one step further.
Organic farming is defined by its use of organic fertilisers. Biodynamic also adheres to these principles but while organic permits imported fertilisers and pesticides, biodynamic requires that a farm produce its own fertility as much as possible through the integration of livestock and the rotation of crops. This is done through the use of ‘Biodynamic* preparations’, which are placed in the farm environment to encourage the plants to be spiritually good for the body and have the highest vital life force energy when harvested.
What are biodynamic preparations?
Biodynamic farming is aimed at conserving natural resources for the benefit of all future generations. When Steiner established his biodynamic principles, he came up with nine ‘preparations’, which are made from herbs, mineral sources and animal manures. Turned into field sprays and compost, it is these preparations that aid fertilisation – rather than synthetic, chemical-driven fertilisers you’d typically find in conventional farming. These preparations are used on the farm to activate and enhance the energy of nature into the whole farming system.
The benefits of biodynamic farming
The benefits of biodynamic farming are endless. Firstly, it’s ecologically and environmentally sustainable as essentially, the farm looks after itself in one full circle – and nothing harmful goes into the earth. By ensuring the soil is healthy, we protect the local environment and can produce high-quality crops.
By being guided by the moon, biodynamic farming allows the crops grown to be the best that they can be. Just like the moon has an influence on tides, it also influences moisture in soil. The moon pulls moisture up to the surface of the soil where it can be best utilised by crops. This, in turn, helps seeds germinate, speeds plant growth rates, and produce more abundant harvests.
What does it mean for skin care?
Natural ingredients grown without the use of chemicals are richer in nutrients and antioxidants. At Jurlique we believe biodynamic* practices enable us to grow the best quality herbs, which are hand harvested at ideal maturity, being full of life and vitality. These herbs are then utilised to make extracts that form the basis of the Jurlique products. It means that you’re getting the best from each ingredient we use and nothing harmful goes onto your skin, or into the environment.
And it’s not just your skin. We believe by following biodynamic farming techniques, we’re harnessing all the positive, living energies from nature. The plants and herbs we grow are nutritional for the skin and good for the soul.
You may see our products all over the world, but our biodynamic* farm is our heartland and we’ve stayed true to our artisanal roots. We will always put more back into the earth than we take out of it.