Towards ANF – JP021
In today’s episode I take a critical position towards Biodynamic Farming, one that I had had long suspicions of, despite it’s results. By sharing this critique, we have developed our own goal, we share that goal, and we look forward to your contributions to that goal.
- Works Referenced:
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Thank you for listening to
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Peace. I am Mason Olonade and this is Jìgìjìgì Africulture podcast. Here we believe building a healthy soil builds a healthy soul. So we share strategies for how to do both. To do both, we asked two questions. How do you grow while you grow kale, collards, tomatoes and melons? And why do you think the healthiest soils are black?
I’ve been sitting on this information we will discuss today for a while because it’s deeply personal and political nature. It forced me many times to look in the mirror and ask myself Are these my thoughts, my practices? By what standards? Have I determined if these thoughts have originated with me? What does it mean to agree with offshoots of poisonous thought roots?
I’ll be discussing an article published in the Journal of environmental health History titled, Organic Farming in Nazi Germany, the biology, the Politics, the Politics of Biodynamic Agriculture in 1933 to 1945 by Peter Staudenmeier. I had created a word A while ago, when I was experiencing this phenomenon a lot more “avindication” when you’re upset that your suspicions were correct.
From the introduction to biodynamic gardening by Monty Walden, he writes, biodynamics offers a simple way to nurture the soil beneath your feet, and reconnect with seasonal cycles and natural rhythms. Initially, some of the methods may seem a little strange, but overall bio dynamics has an unbeatable logic based on old fashioned farming values, familiar to many who are already gardening organically. healthy soil self sufficiency, putting more back into the soil that you take out and working with nature rather than against it. The difference lies in the use of biodynamic preparations, nine remedies based on plants and minerals that bring vitality to your soil and garden. These are unique to biodynamics. Best of all, connecting the natural cycles of the sky above your head with the natural cycles beneath your feet, costs nothing and makes for better gardening. This book is an excellent introduction into biodynamic principles and his easily digestible information on the astrological and lunar influences on plant growth and how to get aligned.
They also have a small introduction to the philosophy of the biodynamic movement. They continue in the origins of biodynamic chapter. “Biodynamics is the oldest green natural green farming movement. emerged during the early 1920s, just after the end of the First World War. In 1924, a group of leading leading Central European farmers asked Rudolf Steiner to give them an alternative vision of farming. Steiner had already developed an alternative form of schooling Steiner or Waldorf education. But agriculture was his defining passion and spring in 1924, Steiner outlined his alternative to modern farming in a series of lectures called agriculture. And it is these ideas that have become known as biodynamics. He warned that some of his suggestions would seem rather odd. Steiner even predicted that the world’s bees would face population collapse around the year 2000. Thanks to modern practices. Steiner said healthy humans need healthy food from healthy farms, but healthy Steiner was clear that by healthy, Steiner was clear that food must feed the physical body, but must also have the power to nourish our will. Standard then added a new element to the self sufficiency idea by suggesting the best way of healing damaged soil was via normal compost prepared in a special way, using six preparations. These were made from six medicinal herbs commonly used to treat ailments in humans. Animals are both Yarrow, Chamomile, Dandelion and Valerian flowers, stinging nettles and crushed oak bark. Steiner said “while plant roots often make the best remedies for humans, it would be the best to use the flowers when healing the earth. Steiner also suggested four of these compost preparations be sheathed in the sense organs of either a cow or male deer. What Steiner was suggesting was to make sausages from camomile flowers and feed them to the garden via the compost pile.
I won’t go into a full exploration of biodynamic or vegan biodynamic preparations that is beyond the scope of this episode. I will summarize just for the sake of this episode, the preparation of horn manure 501 of the preparations, one stuffed a cow’s horn with fresh manure around the fall Equinox tightly packet to dig a 30 inch deep hole and tightly packed the horns in make sure no water gets in. Three, cover it for after the spring equinox. Use it.
So, Mason, why are you telling me about this? Well, I can’t remember any longer when I first heard about anaemic gardening, but I do remember that as I revisited this school of thought by discovering this book Feeling overwhelming? I didn’t trust it. But why didn’t I trust it?
And now I can’t fully say that my distrust in it is warranted mostly because my it wasn’t well defined. I since refined that it to be more towards white didn’t I trust this. We wanted an alternative to modern farming practices. I could feel that I wasn’t getting the whole story. The whole story this distrust is rooted in is a completely different concept that I call the falsification of Eastern consciousness. But that is also outside the scope of this episode, if not this podcast. There are a lot of books that have really excellent information in them for us farmers and gardeners who wish to help nature do her thing. What I’ve been finding is that on that side of the game, these books are rooted in that side of the game. The biodynamics side.
And I bring you this information so that we understand what the context was that informs the practices of the game we joyfully play. In the article Staudenmeier writes, “I trace several important bases bases of institutional support for biodynamic agriculture, spanning much of the Nazi period. This complicated chapter in in the history of alternative agriculture raises challenging questions about the extent to which ecologically oriented narratives gravitated towards Nazi ism as a potential ally. And it opens up a new perspective on the tactics adopted by allegedly non political environmentalist networks attempting to accommodate themselves into a totalitarian state. Developed by his followers after Steiner’s death biodynamic methods have become one of the chief components of the organic milieu. The biodynamic emphasis on spiritual influences rather than materialist techniques, aims to maintain a healthier soil, produce higher quality food and promote harmonious interaction with the natural environment.
In July of 1933 biodynamic growers founded the Reich League. Reich League for biodynamic agriculture under the leadership of Anthroposophist, Erhard Bartsch. Anthroposophy was the school of thought that Steiner created that biodynamics had been born from. Depicting the farm as a unified organism Bartsch disdained the Americanization and mechanization of agriculture as hazardous to German peasant life, and its connection to the living soil. According to Bartsch, love of nature was anchored in the German essence biodynamic farming was the natural method most suitable for preserving the German landscape. The biodynamic approach he declared, “awakens a genuine love for Mother Earth.” Such arguments reflected a vision of alternative agriculture as a path to preserving and improving both soil and spirit.
Writing in Demeter, the biodynamic journal, and the Pacific author’s emphasized Nazi Nazi attempts to attain agricultural autarky. for Germany, where autarky is economic independence or self sufficiency. The front cover of the main 1939 issue featuring a bucolic picture of Adolf Hitler in an Alpine landscape, surrounded by children in honor of the fuhrer’s 50th birthday. A further area in which proponents of biodynamic cultivation influenced Nazi policies was the enforcement of environmental standards in building projects, most famously in the construction of the autobahn system from 1934 onward.
The leading articles in the September 1940 issue of Demeter declared that the task of the biodynamic movement was to awaken love for the soil and love for the homeland. This must be our goal and lofty mission to fight together with our fear Adolf Hitler for the liberation of our beloved German fatherland.
By this point of the article the avindication weighs on me heavy, I can easily replace Germany with Africa,and what would change? Is there a right and wrong that aligns with being logically correct or incorrect?
If so where does it any of these combinations of these four possibilities line up to what I think? In short, I felt. Yes, exactly. This is exactly what I’m looking for! Wait, this is exactly what I would say??
Okay, well, let me keep reading in the eyes of Reinhardt, Reinhard heydrich, who oversaw the SD and Gestapo. Biodynamic farming was of minimal agricultural interest, but was instead of pretense for promoting the treacherous tenants of anthroposophy in organic guise. He found its ostentatiously, ostentatiously German character, particularly suspect. It is a part of the entire attitude of anthroposophy to present itself as very nationalist and German centered and to give the external impression of political irreproachability. But in its fundamental essence, it represents a dangerous form of Oriental corruption of our Germanic ethnic group.
And now we make it worse. Now, I agree with the Gestapo. How do I agree with both sides of this argument? How do I, in advocating for Africa sound the same as the Germans? the Gestapo no less? Let’s keep reading I guess. The next section is titled The SS biodynamic plantations.
In January of 1939, Heinrich Himmler created a new SS organization under Oswald Pohl’s supervision, the German research facility for food and nutrition, also known as the DVA, a substantial portion of its operations consisted of agricultural plantations located at concentration camps including Auschwitz, Dachau, and Ravensbruck, as well as estates in occupied Eastern Europe and in Germany. The centerpiece of the DVS biodynamic operation was the sizeable plantation at Dachau, which produced medicinal herbs and other organic goods for the SS. As it Ravensbruck the labor on the Dachau biodynamic operation was performed by camp inmates. One of the tasks of the Dachau plantation was to train settlers for the eastern territories. Part of the SS plans to use the biodynamic cultivation in the environmental and ethnic reordering of the East. The dva was still putting resources into its by biodynamic projects as late as January 1945, and SS sponsorship of biodynamics continued until the camps were liberated.
Staudenmeier brilliantly concludes his extensively sourced article with “this disquieting history need not discredit organic initiatives as a whole. Instead, it poses a legitimate challenge for environmental historians and environmental activists alike. The challenge of coming to terms with an equivocal, and perplexing past.”
When I discovered this information like all information that I have brought forth, it has been in search of a refined and replicable agricultural strategy for us black folks that points towards an African natural farming practice. I knew that the biodynamic practitioners fell into the cosmic side of things. So I wanted to glean what I could from their studies. I was then led to more different ecological, sustainable, biological, regenerative agricultural schools of thought and a lot of that really great information comes out of the ACRES USA publishing house. However, I grew curious seeing the biodynamic term in all of these weirder more esoteric ag books. What is going on?? Especially in the other books that I have enjoyed through perusing the library catalog trying to acquire books for the development of the concept for the practice, I found Staudenmeier’s article.
And we are now looking in the mirror again. Instead of wondering, we are more resolute. I now have a broader perspective about the world. The historical climate that produced some of the techniques I have been using has been elucidated. It may be uncomfortable, but it is what it is. Sure. I may have been standing staring in the bathroom mirror. Did I imbue Nazi ideology in my camera meals should I even use this If I did, should I stuffed them in a sausage and hang them like the yarrow from a tree for six months? My roommate knocks on the bathroom door and tells me she needs to get prepared she needs to go to work. Although I don’t have any answers to these questions, a change of scenery helps I walk through several thresholds and see my monstera and my fiddle leaf smiling at me. They say you’re getting closer.
Share Jìgìjìgì with your family friends and closely related siblings of the soil. Afterwards, write us a five star review and we will save in as we say now. Asante Sana. Medase Pa, Modupe O. Thank you for listening to Jìgìjìgì. Peace.