Although I am not an expert (or a farmer) I share Dick's interest
and willingness to explore the full range of ideas behind this
unconventional approach to agriculture. I have read Rudolf Steiner's
agriculture course, a series of lectures that were the foundation of
biodynamics. What chiefly impressed me was Steiner's depiction of the farm
as a living system, embodied in particular in the life of the soil. Steiner
especially stressed the importance of humus as the foundation of soil
health. This was in 1924, at a time when Liebig's ideas on the chemical
basis of plant growth were taking soil science by storm. Steiner also
understood, long before most agricultural scientists, that yield was only
one aspect of the health of a crop. Human beings get much more than
calories and fiber from the food they eat -- or at least they should.
Also, I would second Dick's recommendation of contacting Will
Brinton of Wood's End Laboratory in Maine on biodynamics. I know Will to be
a scientific, meticulous and articulate expert on composting, both
biodynamically and using other approaches.
Finally, I can't resist quoting two sentences from my own
organization's recent publication on agriculture, Conserving Land:
Population and Sustainable Food Production. It seems appropriate to this
discussion, although we didn't bring up biodynamics.
"Despite the monumental achievements of agricultural science, it
remains mysterious and wondrous that food emerges from seeds, sunlight,
soil and water. It may be that we need a bit more humility about this
life-sustaining miracle, and, as Robert W. Kates has suggested, 'the wisdom
to expect surprises.'"