What is BioEnergetic Agriculture?
Updated: Feb 17
Farming makes us human.
The moment the first farmer planted a seed on purpose everything changed. We started building society, then civilization, we started to put down roots.
But all farming is not the same.
The conventional farming that accounts for more than 99% of the cropland in the United States is a backwards broken system that uses toxic rescue chemistry, and is built to value profit over people. Conventional agriculture is literally breaking humanity.
The good news is that we can fix it. It is the premise of Be Agriculture that we are all a part of the agricultural system. Agriculture is about more than just growing crops, it also involves what we eat, and the impact this has on health of humans and ecosystems.
Agriculture = Food + Farming + Health
Organic agriculture was a step in the right direction, but we need to go beyond organic. Some say "sustainable agriculture", but, unfortunately, we cannot sustain the current state of agriculture and call it sufficient...regenerative is the new sustainable.
Regenerative Agriculture champions methods that grow soil, not just plants. The result is an increase in farmer profitability, and a decrease in the toxic impact that conventional agriculture has on ecosystems and human health.
Regenerative Agriculture brings a new focus to farming that works with Mother Nature, where the goal is not only to grow nutrient dense crops, but to deliver biodiversity and balance to the ecosystem, to use less to get more, to recognize natural rhythms and develop protocol around them, and, in the process, grow healthy thriving people.
The methods and the science address big global challenges we face with Regenerative Agriculture are at hand, what is missing is public and political will.
The solutions will not come from politicians, they will come from an awakened and empowered populous that is eating our ideals, expressing our creative agency and buying power, and growing as much of our own food as we can.
Eating is an agricultural act. It is time that we all take our rightful seat at the table of agriculture, if we transform the soil, we transform ourselves.
Food is no longer our medicine, study after study tells us that what we eat no longer contains the nourishment required for human health.
Empty and toxic food results in weaker humans. This is very easy to see from the alarming increase in chronic disease that is threatening to overwhelm our health care system. According to Dr. Phil Landrigan and Dr. Zach Bush, in the 1960’s 6% of the population was diagnosed with a chronic disease, in 1986 it was 12.4%, in 2020 that number is 54%.
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 heartbreaking.
Let’s face it, most people eat food for fun or 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 are selling ourselves short in the process. We are eating dangerously.
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 people, plants and planet at the expense of the living soil.
Think about it, how do we grow natural ecosystems with artificial inputs? If we are feeding plants with synthetic fertilizers, we work against the soil process, weakening plants, inviting pests and disease, and, in turn, weakening ecosystems, which weakens humans.
Soil is everywhere under our feet, but we are using it up. THIS study titled, "The extent of soil loss across the US Corn Belt", shows how up to 1/3 of topsoil has been used up in the Midwest. Healthy soil is a finite substance.
Soil is mysterious. 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.
Soil is humble, derived from the root of humus. Humus is produced in the soil by the activity of microbes and earthworms and living plant roots, and more. It is the purest and most generative form of organic chaos, and the lowest decomposed state of organic matter before it returns to help construct life once again.
Many identify with life, and the world, as a purely physical experience. After all, this is what we find in conventional wisdom and school textbooks, and also in the scientific method that 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, and approached consciously, these forces can be leveraged to radically improve the impact of agriculture.
The most recognized method of involving life force in agriculture was introduced by Dr. Rudolf Steiner in lectures given in 1924 that have come to be known as the Agriculture Course. The methods Dr. Steiner developed have come to be known collectively as “biodynamics” and represent the very first reaction to chemical farming, even before the organic movement.
I first learned about biodynamics and Dr. Steiner's work 20+ years ago through the book Secrets of the Soil.
Next, I read his Agriculture Course lectures where he provides this remarkable answer to a question from one of his students Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer that, for me, explains the world that we live in..
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.”
Our food is not fueling our will, what a profound observation. As I see it, in this answer is the solution to what is ailing modern humanity. Simply put, we are growing food for the wrong reasons, and it is anihilating us. We are living to eat, rather than eating to live.
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 growing regenerative nutrient dense crops.
So my efforts broadened to try and bring all of the facets of agriculture I was discovering into one place so they could be put into action that I called "BioEnergetic Agriculture”.
It is quite an unoriginal name, but the purpose was to articulate a platform that would allow me to not shy away from the nuance and depths of spiritual science, and develop a way of addressing the entirety of a living system and meeting people where they are.
BioEnergetic Agriculture operates off of the principle that a wholistic living system thrives when the physical, mineral, biological, and energetic components are present and working together in resonance. It is a pallet of consideration towards what humans can do to nurture the innate regenerative and resonant capacities of living systems.
These four pillars — physical, mineral, biological, and energetic — work as four legs of a chair.
Conventional agriculture is physical and mineral, the farmer plows and fertilizes (then uses toxic rescue chemistry in an attempt to deal with all of the problems created!). Organic agriculture incorporates the biological realm, however, both conventional and organic fail to recognize life force. And Biodynamics addresses the energetic realm, but does not address the rest. The purpose of BioEnergetic Agriculture was to tie it all together.
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 a union of geology, chemistry, hydrology, spirituality, biology, physics, and beyond. When we frame our agronomy from the perspective of physical, mineral, biological, and energetic capacities we expand the potential for healing the Earth and improving our agricultural results.
Let’s take a look at each component individually.
The physical aspect of BioEnergetic Agriculture primarily involves the things we can get our hands on, such as soil structure and the plants themselves.
In many ways proper soil structure is created as a result of proper mineral balance and microbial diversity, so there is not much action in the Physical realm. Plowing and fertilizing are actually compensations for the inability of the soil to fend for itself.
The take away is, if healthy agronomy is practiced there is very little growers need to do to correct and maintain healthy soil structure.
The mineral component of BioEnergetic Agriculture involves attention towards elemental diversity and balance.
The mineral realm is the mechanism of soil fertility. Plants cannot “eat” minerals in the traditional sense, they uptake the elements used for growth in an ionic elemental form that, in a healthy living system, 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, direct supplementation of mineral fertilizers cannot replace the quality of nutrition delivered through a healthy microbial soil food web.
So much of modern conventional agriculture and hobby gardening is based on NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous & potassium), or the three numbers you see on the front of a fertilizer package. This is a very short sighted articulation of plant and soil fertility. Why would Mother Nature make an element not needed in the garden?
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. For more on this concept, read the blog post Sea Energy Agriculture HERE.
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 for mineral balance in soil that we use to generate our Living Landscapes Program protocol.
For more on mineral balance and soil testing read the article “Soil Testing Demystified”.
Soil is never the same twice. It is dynamic, alive with countless organisms and forces.
Collectively, these organisms make up the “soil food web”, which operates much like the microbiome in the human body, or the web of life in the ocean that is supported by tiny microscopic creatures like plankton.
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 within.
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 the nematodes like sharks.
The key is balance, many of the pests and diseases experienced by growers in the garden or farm is a result of a deficiency in the diversity of the soil food web. In other words, the plant disease is a microbe replicating without a predator, there is no healthy check and balance.
Beneficial soil microbes perform miraculous functions for the ecosystem including nutrient cycling, protecting plants from disease, signaling stage-specific growth, and more. Microbes are stimulated by plants to perform many of these functions. Over 50% of photosynthetic energy is pushed through roots to attract microbes with sugar meals called "exudates".
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.
An expression of life is “motion in resonance”, a rhythm and pulse of energy that radiates and forms living currents which trend toward the chaos where creativity and order can take hold.
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.
Everything in existence is permeated with vibrations that communicate specific and respective frequencies.
Life is energy. Energy is life.
These vibrational frequencies can be projected and are, simultaneously, “everywhere all the time”, which is the basis of technologies such as radionics and biodynamic agriculture.
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.