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The Peoria Journal Star caught up with Carol Mosley Braun recently.  As you’ll recall, Mosley Braun was a full-time, high-flying politico over the last 20 years, ranging from a stint as Ambassador to New Zealand and a United States Senator.

Now, she runs Ambassador Organics, which is a Demeter certified company where they “search worldwide for farmers growing the highest quality Biodynamic® and organic foods for a healthier, more robust, and sustainable world for generations to come.”

According to the PJ Star,

Moseley Braun’s issue is biodynamic farming, a sustainable farming technique that stresses the union between food, body, spirit and farming.

Biodynamic farming is sometimes called authentic organic farming. “Everything on the farm is treated as one unit,” she explains, “with particular attention paid to the quality of the soil and the quality of the water. The idea is the whole farm is a complete organism.”

Products the company currently sells are grown on biodynamic farms in Sri Lanka, India and Mexico. Moseley Braun wants to see biodynamic farming expand in the United States and see more locally produced biodynamic products on the market. She knows that’s going to take education and a change in attitude, from the ground up to more government support for sustainable agriculture.

With Ambassador Braun’s connections and intellect, Ambassador Organics is poised to break out to mainstream shelves as she is our first official rock star on the Biodynamic® stage.

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The New York Times included the Community Supported Garden at Genesis Farm in a writeup on New Jersey Farm Shares.  The

The Times stated,

The Community Supported Garden at Genesis Farm, 41B Silver Lake Road; (908) 362-7486; www.csgatgenesisfarm.com. Some of the nearly 300 members of this C.S.A., which began in 1988, help with the work on the 51-acre biodynamic farm; all members share in what’s grown. Year-round (50 weeks; $1,707 for a full share) and summer shares (May 20 to Nov. 25; full shares $1,179), and half-shares, with pickups every other week, are available. Pickup is at the farm or at sites in Teaneck, Morristown, Montclair, Caldwell, Glen Rock and Madison.

The farm’s website, commenting on their Biodynamic farming practices, states,

The gardeners use biodynamic practices based on the spiritual insights of the Austrian scientist-philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) Biodynamics treats the soil as a living organism. It strives to build the soil and correct imbalances through the use of dynamic preparations prescribed by Steiner. They are used directly on the soil, on maturing plants, in the treatment of fungal diseases and insect infestations and in the making of compost. Sound organic practices are also employed using diverse cover crops, calculated crop rotations and careful tillage. Chemical pesticides are not used and we rarely need to implement organic pest control. The care and attention the gardeners bring to their work stimulate the health and energy of the community’s food.

With 300 members, the farm is strongly supported.  Hopefully, many others on the NY Time’s list will begin to adopt similar practices.

The Sonoma Locavore Experience is a three-day tour created by The Grape Leaf Inn, in partnership with Relish Culinary Adventures and Scott Beattie Cocktails, to experience,

Sustainable farms and vineyards in the realms of cooking, mixology and winemaking. Visit organic and biodynamic vineyards and farms, cook and savor meals and cocktails that feature ingredients grown, raised or produced within thirty miles of the charming town of Healdsburg, and meet the people whose dedication to sustainability is a natural part of life in this bountiful and beautiful region.

Part of the trip involves a stop at Quivira Vineyards, where visitors will be exposed to Biodynamic® farming and winemaking.  As this site grows, we receive a lot of traffic from Sonoma.  If anyone takes the trip, please let us know as it sounds wonderful.

College On the Record wrote a brief story on Biodynamic® agriculture.  Their introduction states, “Biodynamic farming may not be all the rage now, but this slightly cult-like agricultural phenomenon may bring salvation to our overly processed and polluted world.” Cult-like?  Nah.  We prefer “passionate”!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Jody Scheckter, the ex-Formula One driver, has purchased a Biodynamic® farm, according to the Birmingham Mail.  That farm is home to the brewery that makes Laverstock Park Farm Organic Ale.  Sounds delicious!

Crushpad is a San Francisco-based company that allows you to become a winemaker.  The customer is intimately involved in the winemaking process and they receive their own designed label and bottles at the conclusion of the customizable process.  The minimum order is 25 cases (1 barrel) and prices range between $5,700 – $10,900. Crushpad recently raised a $9 million round of financing to grow their operations.

Putting a slight Biodynamic twist on the Crushpad idea is Grand Cru Estates.  Grand Cru Estates takes the same model of Crushpad and allows you to make your own wine.  Sadly, their press release doesn’t indicate that they will allow you to make Biodynamic wines.  Fortunately, however, they will feature a “biodynamic kitchen” at their Oregon vineyard for members.  Memberships start at “an initial membership fee of $5,000 for the first 30 founding members, along with a $20,000 fee for each member barrel.”

Seven Stars Yogurt was recently featured in the Philadelphia Weekly.  About Seven Stars, via their website,

Seven Stars Farm is a 350 acre certified Biodynamic dairy farm located in northern Chester County, PA. We use the milk from our Jersey and Jersey crossed herd to produce Seven Stars Organic Yogurt. Our yogurt is sold via natural foods distributors throughout the eastern United States.

New Farm also featured Seven Stars Farm in an April 2004 article.  It’s great to see the growing success of a small farm.

Finally, the Philadephia Weekly article provides interesting insight into the economics behind Biodynamic® agriculture,

Not only are the Griffiths proud of their product, they’re also proud of the small but noticeable impact it allows them to make. While dairy farming on a small scale is notoriously economically unviable, producing yogurt from the milk turns it into a higher-value commodity.

This allows the Griffiths to support 22 full- and part-time employees with a living wage. “I’m very happy about that,” says Edie. “We actually provide a living for quite a few people.”

The Organic Wine Journal has recently created and posted a terrific video as part of their Organic and Biodynamic® Wine Video Series.  The video is of Mike Benziger discussing the often misunderstood cow horn used in Biodynamic growing.  Check it out!

Photo courtesy of www.allergyadvisor.com

The argument for Biodynamic® certification and standards will hopefully avoid the pitfalls of “organic” and “fair trade”. As it stands, Demeter is the only Biodynamic® certifying body. Australia’s Herald Sun points out the battle and confusion surrounding certifying eggs,

We have been lobbying for legally defined terms for the use of terms like free-range, organic and biodynamic for some time,” said Melina Tensen, an RSPCA Australia spokeswoman. “People buy free-range eggs in the assumption the hen has been treated in a certain manner.

This could be a big problem as Biodyamic agriculture grows. Thus, it’s important to check the label and see if the company is only “following” Biodynamic practices or are Demeter certified. There’s a big difference and you may be falling for “greenwashing“.

In any event, if you are looking for poultry, see Eden Valley for Australian Biodynamic eggs. They are Demeter certified.

About Demeter and Biodynamic Certification

Demeter® USA is the non-profit American chapter of Demeter International, the world’s only certifier of Biodynamic® farms, processors and products. From farm to market, Demeter's rigorous standards ensure compliance to the highest agricultural and environmental practices. These practices include organic certification prohibitions against the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and go much further to include a biodiversity set aside of 10% of total land, on-farm fertility and pest control, rigorous processing standards that emphasize minimal product manipulation, and most importantly whole farm certification (versus a particular crop or area allowed in organic certification). It is the highest paradigm of sustainable farming, offering one of the smallest carbon footprints of any agricultural method. Only those companies that meet these standards are permitted to display the Demeter certification mark on their products, or refer to their farms or products as "Biodynamic."