Q&A

DEAR NEW FARM:

I understand that J.I. Rodale broke with the biodynamic movement at some point in his career. Is there a public record of his reasoning for this? Thanks for any light you might shed on this.

Mark Cain
Dripping Springs Gardens
Arkansas

 

DEAR MARK:

We posed your question to New Farm erstwhile editor, organic farmer and overall great source of all truth and knowledge George Devault. Here's what George dug up on the subject:

From J.I. Rodale, apostle of nonconformity (Pyramid Communications, 1974) by Carlton Jackson, Page 102:

"Obviously, the first consideration was preparation of the soil, and here humus was the most significant ally. There were two ways of preparing humus: the first was called 'biodynamic', and the second was the 'Indore' method. Biodynamic humus, developed by Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, consisted of two kinds of compost heaps, one made exclusively from vegetable matter and one exclusively from manures. The Indore method , Sir Albert Howard's creation, featured vegetables and other plant materials in combination (3:1) with manure. J.I. favored the latter method because it provided a sounder 'return to the land' of those things taken from it than the biodynamic' system. Soil treated with humus, said J.I., became porous, with ample aeration, and gave the billions of microbial agencies a chance to do their work, in league with the indispensable earthworm. This kind of soil had moisture-retaining capabilities that reduced excessive rain runoff with its attendant erosion."

George adds: “The Soil and Health Foundation (The Rodale Institute today) did give a grant or two to Dr. Pfeiffer in the 1940s.”

We hope that sheds a little bit of light on the subject for you, Mark.

NF

 

 

 

Contact us with comments, suggestions and questions.