- Biodynamic agriculture is based on a specific conception of knowledge, based on the creativity, intuition and experience of farmers.
- Biodynamic agriculture is compatible with holistic and pragmatic research approaches aimed at obtaining "applicable knowledge".
- The spirituality, beliefs, and mysteries that surround biodynamic practices foster a unique attitude of care between humans and nature.
- Academic research could benefit from further study of biodynamic agriculture, and biodynamic agriculture could benefit more from academic research.
- The main challenges are the study of innovation processes and transformation pathways, improved dialogue, evaluation and funding.
Biodynamic agriculture is becoming increasingly popular among farmers and consumers, but is still considered a pseudo-science by some in the scientific community. In this article, we first present an overview of biodynamic agriculture, its current development, its foundations and its three specific principles: 1) the farm as a living organism; 2) preparations; 3) cosmic rhythms. Then we show that pragmatic scientific approaches are compatible with biodynamic agriculture, and suggest an interesting potential for sustainability. In particular, anthropological studies show that the beliefs and spirituality of biodynamic agriculture contribute to a unique caring relationship between farmers and nature. Contrary to popular belief, biodynamic farmers are open to scientific knowledge, which they are able to creatively combine with experiential and spiritual knowledge. At the farm level, although still rare, holistic multi-criteria studies suggest quite satisfactory overall sustainability performance. Biodynamic agriculture has already proven its usefulness in transdisciplinary action research projects with diverse stakeholders to produce "mobilizable knowledge" for sustainability. Overall, we conclude that biodynamic agriculture can be a valuable resource for "re-enchanting" agriculture complementary to indigenous knowledge. However, it should not be seen as a panacea, and its organization and the major role of beliefs in particular raise legitimate concerns. Further research is needed to better understand the specific benefits and challenges of biodynamic agriculture. Three key research perspectives are identified: 1) farmer decision-making; 2) farming system design and evaluation; and 3) transformation pathways.
Authors: Rigolot C., Quantin M.
Journal: Agricultural Systems, 200, June 2022
Title: Biodynamic Farming as a Ressource for sustainability Transformations: Potentials and Challenges
Link to the original: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X22000609?dgcid=coauthor