Updated: Dec 12, 2019
Agriculture is what makes us human. The moment that first farmer planted a seed with intention everything changed, we began to move from hunter gatherers and put down roots and specialize into the modern civilization we have today.
The conventional agriculture that accounts for over 99% of the farmland in the United States is a backwards broken system that incentives the wrong things and built to value profit over people, and it is literally breaking humanity.
The good news is that we can fix it. Regenerative methods of agriculture have been established and the science needed to muster the public awareness to force necessary changes is now known. The solutions will not come from our politicians, they will come from an awakened and empowered populous that is expressing our buying power, eating our ideals, and growing as much of our own food as we can.
It is time that we take our righteous place within the food system and put agriculture into action. The bottom line — we fix the soil, we fix ourselves.
Agriculture is many things, but most importantly it is the source of our nourishment. Food is our fuel, but it is no longer our medicine. Study after study tells us that what we eat no longer contains the nourishment required for human health.
Collectively we are malnourished and for the most part we don’t even know it.
Literally and figuratively we are further from our food than we have ever been. Estimates tell us the average meal travels over 1500 miles to our plates and the number of children that don’t know french fries and ketchup come from potatoes and tomatoes is appalling.
Let’s face it, most people eat food for convenience rather than nourishment. Estimates say up to 70% of the average American diet is processed food, and according to the CDC only 1 in 10 people eat enough fruits and vegetables. Food science and fast food have done a wonderful job of making it easy to eat, but we have sold ourselves short in the process. In other words, we eat dangerously.
Taken to its core - from health care to hunger or climate change to the economy - the adulteration of agriculture and our food system explains essentially every issue facing modern humanity. And the source of this adulteration is very simple — we have been growing plants at the expense of soil.
Soil is ubiquitous, but upon focused investigation elusive and not very well understood. It is beyond us, so to speak, the further we look, the more there is to discover. Leonardo da Vinci stated, “We know more about the movement of celestial bodies than we do about the soil underfoot.” In many ways this remains true today.
One of the major missing pieces in our pursuit of healthy agriculture is a reverence and imagination for how soil works. In truth, because it is capable of existing and performing in so many different ways, soil is an indefinable substance. Some may recall the uproar created in 2015 when the paper “The contentious nature of soil organic matter” was published in the journal Nature calling many to say “humus does not exist”!
Soil is a dynamic piece of the overall ecosystem that operates in almost magical ways to deliver the vitality capable in the human body. One of the major hurdles we face in correcting the course of our agriculture is that we lack a framework and collective perspective towards what nourishes us. What we think, we grow.
Many identify with life and the world as a purely physical experience. After all, this is what we find in school textbooks and in the scientific methods we have employed to explain the natural world. But there is more to life than what is physically here, we are more than the sum of our parts. Life has a force, an energy that ties us together and connects us all. This life force is difficult to quantify, which leaves it lost on the average modern scientist and citizen, but respect for this concept has the power to revolutionize agriculture.
The most recognized method of involving life force in agriculture was introduced by Rudolf Steiner in lectures that have come to be known as The Agriculture Course (BUY the Book). Steiner delivered the lectures in 1924 in response to farmers interested in regenerating the life force of their farms due to the negative influences they were experiencing in their crops and animals from the artificial fertilizers and biocides introduced during the Industrial Revolution and proliferated during the World Wars. The methods Steiner developed have come to be known collectively as “biodynamics” and represent the very first reaction to chemical farming, even before the “organic movement”.
For me, biodynamics was revelation. Out of college I found the book Secrets of the Soil (or should I say it found me! BUY the BOOK) and it literally turned my recognition of how the world works on its head. Coming out of school with degrees in biology and religion I was completely uninspired, I didn’t even know what I wanted to know. I had been trained analytically and challenged academically, but rarely invited to use my intuition and imagination, and here was this book asking me to consider the concept of life force, ponder the power of implosion in water, and discover the vital importance of the soil food web.
As I continued my research I came across a passage in the preface to The Agriculture Course lectures between Steiner and one of his students Ehrenfried Pfeiffer that stood me up straight, and that to this day I find to be the most potent synopsis of the modern issues we face with agriculture and food:
Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer: “How can it happen that the spiritual impulse, and especially the inner schooling, for which you are constantly providing stimulus and guidance bear so little fruit? Why do the people concerned give so little evidence of spiritual experience, in spite of all their efforts? Why, worst of all, is the will for action, for the carrying out of these spiritual impulses, so weak?”
Dr. Rudolf Steiner: “This is a problem of nutrition. Nutrition as it is to-day does not supply the strength necessary for manifesting the spirit in physical life. A bridge can no longer be built from thinking to will and action. Food plants no longer contain the forces people need for this.”
Steiner’s answer here is profound. In his articulation of life force in food I see the solution to what is ailing modern agriculture and humanity. Simply put, we are growing food for the wrong reasons. And this was in 1924.
This period of inspiration moved me to found and operate a retail garden center for over fifteen years where I worked to introduce these concepts to the general public. I also founded a wholesale company developing biodynamic farming products, and operated a market vegetable farm utilizing the methods. This was my boot camp.
I now operate this consulting platform called Be Agriculture that seeks to provide education and coaching towards taking our righteous part within agriculture. Whether we like it or not, all of us are a part of agriculture. Even if we don’t grow our own food, eating and our buying power literally deliver and define the food system on a daily basis.
In my first attempts to implement biodynamic methods I quickly recognized that it was not a complete farming system. It did not address mineral balance, cover cropping, microbial diversity, and many other facets of farming that are vital for the results we seek in regenerating soil and growing nutrient dense crops.
So my efforts broadened to try and bring all of the facets of agriculture into one place for consideration and action. I called it “BioEnergetic Agriculture”.
It is quite an unoriginal name and the content I was bringing together is standing on the backs of giants like Steiner, William Albrecht, Viktor Schauberger, Wilhelm Reich, Nikola Tesla, and others; but my intentions were not to be an inventor. The important part is the information, and sharing it with as many people as possible.
BioEnergetic Agriculture operates off of the principle that a wholistic living system can only thrive when all required physical, mineral, biological, and energetic components are present and working together in synergy.
These four pillars — physical, mineral, biological, and energetic — work as four legs of a chair. The logic fits if you follow it — conventional agriculture is physical and mineral, the farmer plows and fertilizes (then uses rescue chemistry in an attempt to deal with all of the problems created!). Organic growing incorporates the biological realm. But both conventional and organic growing fail to recognize life force.
To put it another way, if conventional agriculture is like drowning, and organic agriculture is treading water, BioEnergetic Agriculture is swimming where you want to go.
BioEnergetic Agriculture seeks to combine and implement the geology, chemistry, hydrology, biology, and energetic sciences of living systems.
Let’s take a look at each component individually:
The physical aspect of BioEnergetic Agriculture primarily involves soil structure and the plants themselves. In a discussion of healthy soil it is important to keep focus on plants directly as they are the best metric of the progress we are making.
Conventional agricultural practice abuses and takes advantage of soil. Soil is so much more than a sponge or medium used to prop up plants, which is how it is treated in conventional methods.
Much of conventional agriculture leaves the soil bare and uncovered. It is critical to keep the soil covered to minimize erosion. WATCH this NRCS Rainfall Simulator presentation to get an idea of the importance of covering soil.
In many ways proper soil structure is created as a result of proper mineral balance and microbial diversity. Plowing and fertilizing are actually compensations for the inability of the soil to fend for itself. So if proper agronomic practice is approached there is very little growers need to do to correct and maintain healthy soil structure.
The mineral component of BioEnergetic Agriculture involves an articulation of elemental diversity and balance.
Minerals are naturally occurring inorganic compounds with a characteristic structure and composition. They are unrefined and provide a repository of diverse elements that can be used directly and over time by growing plants.
The mineral realm is the source of soil fertility. Plants cannot “eat” minerals, they uptake the elements they use for growth in an ionic elemental form that are primarily delivered through the activity of micro-organisms, or microbes.
The ionic ingestion of plants is the basis of hydroponic growing that feeds plants directly using salt-based and sometimes organic forms of nutrition. However, there is a growing consensus that the true potential of plant growth can only be achieved by ions created through the activity of soil microbes.
So much of modern conventional agriculture is focused on NPK and only a fraction of the overall elemental diversity available to living systems. At best, modern agronomy focuses on macro- and micro-nutrients considered essential for plant growth. Very little attention is given to the role of trace elements in agriculture, however, there is also a growing consensus on the important role that trace elements play in agriculture. If it is not it in the soil it is not in the plant, and if it is not in the plant it is not in the people.
It is so important to minimize disturbances in agriculture. One of the primary disturbances is harsh acidic chemicals from fertilizers and biocides, or pesticides , herbicides, etc. We must recognize that trying to grow living plants with artificial inputs is a losing battle.
Proper elemental balance in soil was first researched and documented by Dr. William Albrecht in the 1940’s. Through methodical research he found a sweet spot in what is called the “cation exchange capacity” that provides ideal ratios of the essential elements where plants thrive. For more on this refer to the article “Soil Testing Demystified”.
Collectively, life in the soil is called the “soil food web”. The importance of the role microbes play in soil fertility cannot be overstated.
In general, the health of the soil food web is contingent upon the diversity of organisms present and the health of the ecosystem they are operating in. Soil microbes include bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes, which act much like the web of life in the ocean. Think of bacteria like plankton and nematodes like sharks.
Beneficial soil microbes manufacture soil and make perfect plant food. Microbes, including bacteria and fungi, make soil by breaking down rocks, minerals, and organic material into bio-available forms. The greater the diversity of microbes in the soil food web the more dynamic and productive the soil.
The most important component of growing healthy soil is a living root. Over 50% of photosynthetic energy is pushed through roots to attract microbes, its called an "exudate". The only way soil can develop and mature is when plants are growing there. It is a true systems approach.
This explains the value of composting and brewing compost tea. Whatever you can do to facilitate the activity of soil microbes will facilitate better results in the garden or farm.
The expression of life is “motion in resonance”, a rhythm and pulse of energy that radiates and forms living currents which trend toward chaos and, at the same time, towards balance and harmony.
Energetically speaking, chaos brings the friction of energy that allows the order of life to organize, and around and around we go. Life is energy. Energy is life.
There is a statement that says, “Energy precedes matter”, which means, before you experience something in the physical it will be present in an energy state. Another way of saying this is — everything in existence is permeated with vibrations that communicate frequency.
These vibrational frequencies can be projected and are, simultaneously, “everywhere all the time”, which is the basis of radionics technology. Life as we know it is the integration and physical precipitation of the harmony or disharmony of these vibrations and frequencies working together in potential and enlivened resonance. In simple terms, harmony is health and disharmony is dis-ease.
The description and language around these collective forces has taken on different names over time depending on who is describing them and what level of energy is being discussed. The term “life force” is a good general descriptor when working with and discussing the radiant energies of living substance.
If you have trouble engaging the concept of energy, simplify it. Ask yourself, why does a plant grow up against gravity?
The great Viktor Schauberger noted that we spend so much time focusing on how the apple hit Newton in the head in his articulation of gravity that we never ask how the apple got up there to begin with!
From seed to harvest, plants use and respond to energy to grow and regulate their metabolic processes. The subtle energies that work to communicate life force are harnessed and travel through water. Water can actually be worked with to enhance the communication of subtle energies through what we call “Activated Water”.
There are many methods for increasing the life force of an ecosystem without the use of physical substance — homeopathy, implosion, magnetism, electricity, field broadcasters, biodynamic preparations, etc. These methods work to tie the ecosystem together like a grand symphony seeking crescendo.
A good term for describing the act and effects of this resonance and up-building process is “potentization”. Potentization is the process of bringing higher order, or synergy, to the ingredients of a solution, a living system or a farm. To be clear, the justification for these practices does not discount the material realm, they seek to enhance and integrate with them.
These concepts are culminated in community. The vibrational resonance of a community working together is the pinnacle of human creation and potential. There is strength in diversity.
BioEnergetic Agriculture is more of a thought-form than it is a list of instructions. It integrates proven and controversial techniques into an agronomic system that can be used to organize experiment in pursuit of the best possible results.
The best results are not always generated by the highest yield. The intoxication and incentive created by the modern food system towards yield is central to the problems we are experiencing in our agricultural and health care systems.
The degeneration in health we are experiencing in the modern world is what happens when we grow food for profit instead of people. It will not be long until technology will be available where consumers can read the nutritional and contamination profile of the food they are buying at the point of sale. This will turn agriculture on its head and create healthy incentive for farmers to grow food for the right reasons. The Bionutrient Food Association is working on a handheld spectrometer than can do just that. Talk about vibrations!
When the platform of BioEnergetic Agriculture is recognized and fully implemented all of the components of a healthy living system work together in a balance that results in maximum plant yields, superior nutrient density in crops, thriving humans, a substantial increase in agricultural profits, and significant ecological benefits.
Research is important, but results win the day. My experience, and the results generated for countless growers I have worked with over the years, is that deploying BioEnergetic methods in agriculture can generate solutions for just about anything a gardener or farmer might want to accomplish.
In order to achieve optimal results chasing symptoms is not sufficient, we must be willing to determine the cause, behind the cause, that is behind the cause, causing the effect.
Here’s to relentless experimentation and maximum results…so the Earth may be healed.