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.
Dripping Springs Gardens
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
We hope that sheds a little bit of light on the subject for you,
us with comments, suggestions and questions.