Permaculture Vs. Biodynamic: How Do These Two Differ?


Permaculture Vs Biodynamics

As more and more people wish to eat healthier, they get their green thumb dirty and try different gardening techniques. As you explore this field, you start researching and notice many farming practices you’ve never heard of before and don’t know how they interlink.

Biodynamic farmers rely on astrological indicators for farming practices. In contrast, Permaculture farmers use an ecological and science-based approach to replicate the patterns seen in nature. They both follow a philosophy and strive for sustainability, but Biodynamic farmers use spiritual belief to farm.

Suppose you have a small idea of Biodynamic or Permaculture farming. In that case, it’s probably a bit confusing since they seem so similar on paper. However, there are some pretty crucial differences between these farming practices. Well, let’s find, out shall we?

What Type Of Farming Are Biodynamic And Permaculture?

Since we know that Permaculture and Biodynamics are farming practices, let’s see what these practices entail.

Biodynamic Farming Practice

Like organic farming, biodynamic farming emphasizes using organic manure and compost with no exception to chemicals or pesticides. Developing in 1924 from philosopher and esoteric Dr. Rudolf Steiner, Biodynamic farming is considered the first organic movement to commence, focusing on mystical and western esoteric belief.

Some farmers follow the seasons when to plant their crops, but not the average Biodynamic farmer, for they use astrological indicators. For example, they plant and harvest crops based on the lunar calendar.

Biodynamic farmers also use various mineral- and herbal-based practices to aid their soil and crops. For example, it would be common to find these farms placing a cow horn that has been filled with types of quartz in the soil by the crops to channel the cosmic forces into the soil.

The Advantages Of Biodynamic Farming

It is greatly emphasized in the Biodynamic farming style that ecological factors like sustainability and the input of its surrounding society are of great importance. This practice helps restore soil quality and provides organic products to the community.

Unfortunately, due to the diverse and integrated factors that influence the Biodynamic farm condition, there isn’t substantial evidence to support such a practice’s efficiency.

However, research has shown that even though Biodynamic farming doesn’t have the highest yield rate, their energy expenditure and environmental impact are impressively low.

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The Disadvantages Of Biodynamic Farming

Since Biodynamic farming relies greatly on astrological indicators to determine its agricultural techniques, it has been challenging to prove this relationship in a scientific manner. 

What Is Biodynamics?: A Way to Heal and Revitalize the Earth
  • Steiner Books
  • Steiner, Rudolf (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 200 Pages - 11/01/2004 (Publication Date) - SteinerBooks (Publisher)

Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Permaculture Farming Practice

Permaculture is a portmanteau of ‘agriculture’ and the word ‘permanent,’ which creates ‘Permaculture.’ Australian researchers and farmers Bill Morrison, alongside David Holmgren, are responsible for collating the ideas around living and farming around the Permaculture principles.

According to this philosophy, everything is designed to be part of a more extensive system that requires minimal human input. The more effective your Permaculture design is, the more free-farming it becomes with an abundant yield that requires a low degree of human contact.

These energy-efficient designs are reiterations of the patterns found within nature. The purpose is to make all farming processes as natural and sustainable as possible since nothing is wasted until it is wasted. 

The Advantages Of Permaculture Farming

A Permaculture farm, like any other farm, requires a lot of energy in the starting stages. However, compared to monoculture farms, the input requirements are drastically reduced once applied. They’re made to look like natural systems, so a Permaculture farm with the correct companion plants may survive on its own, just like nature intended.

The Disadvantages Of Permaculture Farming

Since this is a multifaceted farming style, many farmers are unprepared to adopt or spend significantly on implementation. It takes a bit of time for the turnaround from implementation to experiencing a diverse and abundant yield.

Introduction to Permaculture
  • Bill Mollison and Reny Mia Slay (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 12/06/2021 (Publication Date) - Tagari Publications (Publisher)

Last update on 2021-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How Biodynamic And Permaculture Farm Looks Differ

Different farms can look very similar if you don’t know what to look for. Once you adjust those lenses of perception, you’ll be able to notice that these farms differ greatly. Let’s have a look!

Biodynamic Farm

Biodynamic farms treat soil, livestock, and crops as one system from start to finish. These farms don’t allow any chemicals and pesticides and any commercial and intensive farming practices. These farms are designed according to the lay of the land, with some mystical and religious items found across the farm.

Permaculture Farm

Since this farm style requires vigorous planning, the layout of Permaculture farms is very intentional. These farms utilize all the space they possibly can. When designing these farms, farmers take the capabilities and capacities of the farm and its workers into account.

Ways Biodynamic And Permaculture Farms Are Similar

Both Biodynamic and Permaculture farming is significantly focused on the element of culture in their practices. Both of these philosophies come with a huge dedicated following. Many people have implemented either Permaculture or Biodynamic practices in their everyday life.

They are both highly committed to implementing a sustainable way of life and means of farming. These philosophies carry an ethical code that guides people on engaging with the land and with each other.

It isn’t mutually exclusive to be a Permaculturist that implements Biodynamics into their farming style. To a point, these styles can complement each other. The spiritual and esoteric parts of the human-land interaction are unique to the farmer. Bill Morrison once explained Biodynamic farming is like a hanger in the wardrobe that is Permaculture.

Qualifications To Implement Biodynamic Or Permaculture Farming

Biodynamic

Demeter International oversees the certification of biodynamic farms and gardens, and the guidelines were created in 1928. The certification ensures that the integrated crops and cattle are handled humanely, that imported breeding stock is, and that biodynamic procedures are applied on time.

This certificate also demands that half of the animal feed be grown on the farm and that at least a 10th of the entire farm is set aside to promote biodiversity. Biodynamic farms are also expected to adhere to social responsibility requirements.

Since this practice is greatly orientated around culture, it is commonly found that businesses, schools, and plenty of communities are involved in the Biodynamic culture or movement.

Permaculture

This farming practice offers a Permaculture Design Course (PDC). There are specific requirements that must be taken before one can teach Permaculture principles.

Not only do these classes offer academic support in learning and implementing this philosophy into everyday life, but they adjust your attitude and perception of certain things. For instance, you’ll develop the critical skill of seeing a resource having more than a singular purpose. It’s to challenge oneself to see things not always as what they are.

Other Sources On Permaculture And Biodynamic Farming

If you would like to read up a bit more on the practices of Western Esoterism, here are some recommended readings:

If you would like to start implementing Permaculture into your garden and everyday life, here are some introductory books, as well as some books to help kickstart your gardening career.

A Summary Of How Biodynamic And Permaculture Farming Differ

BiodynamicVSPermaculture
Structure influenced by religious and mystical factorsFarm StructureEvery inch of the space is utilized and well-thought-out.
Astrological and Mystical influence in design and practicePhilosophyDesign is based on ecology and science to replicate the patterns found in nature
Demeter International ensures principles and practices are ethical and follow protocolQualificationWith the proper qualification in PDC, one can begin teaching practices and implementing them.

Conclusion

Biodynamic farming is when agriculture and human philosophy, and mythological practices come together. These practices are driven by a deeper connection to the local ecology and the relationship between nature and humankind.

On the other hand, Permaculture requires rigorous planning as it is more based on science and ecological principles. These design techniques aim to recreate the natural processes and patterns found in nature to ensure natural co-dependence, which reduces human intervention.

Biodynamic farmers use ecological techniques while implementing mystical and religious practices. Permaculture farms can exist without Biodynamic farming, but Biodynamic farmers can not survive as efficiently without Permaculture.

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Harold Thornbro

Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Public Speaker, Teacher, Homesteading and Permaculture Enthusiast. If You're Looking For Me, You'll Find Me In The Garden.

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