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Ambassador Organics just popped in our inbox to mention a new special,

In celebration of Labor Day and Back-to-School , Ambassador Organics, a fair trade certified company, would like to make a special offer to you! From now until September 15th, receive one Ambassador Organics Tea free when you purchase one.

Hop on by and pick up some tea for autumn!

The Demeter Biodynamic® Trade Association just launched a new site that is gorgeous, helpful, and very noteworthy.  It’s imperative to look for Demeter Certified Biodynamic® certification marks when purchasing products that are crediting themselves with Biodynamic® practices.

One of our biggest hopes here at the Biodynamic Telegraph is to not only educated our readers (which are growing in number everyday), but to also hold the industry accountable so that we don’t encounter the greenwashing that occurs with organic items.  This is imperative not only for educating the consumer, but also to keep integrity in the marketplace.

We here at Biodynamic Telegraph will do our best to highlight certified and non-certified products, but it is most important for you, the reader and consumer, to always look for the above label.  It will guide the future of our passion in Biodynamic® products and encourage commercial enterprises to rigorously follow the high-standards that Demeter maintains.

Slow Food Nation is coming up!  From August 29 – September 1, in San Francisco, thousands of people will come and celebrate the philosophy behind Slow Food USA.  All types of food that is local, fair, clean, and strengthens the economy will be available.  Of course, given that Biodynamic® food and wine are the “cleanest” available, it is terrific to see that on Sunday there will be a session titled “Biodynamics and Wine”.

From the official site,

Wines produced from biodynamically-grown grapes, farmed by gentle methods good for the earth, are a true expression of place. Four wineries will describe their disciplined biodynamic practices and ongoing, intuitive awareness while they present wines for tasting from their certified Biodynamic® properties: Paul Dolan Vineyards, Ceago Vinegarden, Grgich Hills Estate, among others. This workshop holds 45 people.

For the cost of $20, this is sure to be a very popular event with terrific information sharing and delicious tastings.  Buy tickets here.

Elephant Magazine is a hip, quarterly magazine with a stunning amount of content on their website.

Waylon Lewis of Elephant Magazine recently interviewed Paolo Bonetti, of the cool Organic Vinters, about “LOHAS: Why Organic & Biodynamic Wine Matters, with Organic Vintners.”  For those who do not know, LOHAS means “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability”.

An interesting question that Lewis asks is (paraphrased), “People started using chemicals to get rid of pests, correct?”  Paolo hedges for a bit, before nailing the issue directly on Monsanto’s (the multinational agricultural company’s) back.

Around minute 4:30, Paolo discusses Biodynamic® wines, which he calls “Organic Plus” and “organic farming with a sustainable practice”.  What a terrific, holistic explanation from one of the great minds and advocates in the Biodynamic® world.

Soda Rock Ranch is part of a new trend in ownership called fractional ownership. Fractional ownership has been known to vacationers for a long time as timeshares, but there is now fractional ownership in cars, women’s handbags, and even pets.

It comes as no surprise that, eventually, fractional ownership would enter the Biodynamic® world.

According to their press release,

“In the Northern California wine country, there is a new kind of fractional property for those who have always wanted to be a winemaker and own a vineyard of their very own. The Ranch on Soda Rock is a biodynamic-farmed vineyard and organic winery in the prized Alexander Valley region of Sonoma. This hobby winery single-home fractional located in Healdsburg, CA represents the future of investing in real estate.”

After completing construction/renovations last month, it will be exciting to watch Soda Rock Ranch’s progression.  Located just an hour north of San Francisco, it has terrific views that are sure to entice people away from the city.  Coupled with it’s emphasis on Biodynamic and organic agricultural and winemaking practices, we smell the hint of a grand success.

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.”

Standards Australia “coordinates standardisation activities, develops internationally aligned Australian Standards® of public benefit and national interest and facilitates the accreditation of other Standards Development Organisations.” According to FarmOnline, Standards Australia will be releasing next week a draft “Australian Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Products [which] will establish one uniform Standard to address industry needs, government needs and consumer uncertainty around marketing and labelling claims on organic products.”

The standards appear to be the required minimum for organic or Biodynamic certification. We’ll keep an eye out for the publication as it will be interesting to see how they view Biodynamic products and what standards they develop. Certainly, the committee is stacked with representatives from industry, including:

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Australian Food and Grocery Council
Australian National Retailers Association
Bio-Dynamic Research Institute
Biodynamic Agriculture Australia
Biological Farmers of Australia
CHOICE
Consumers’ Federation of Australia
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Commonwealth)
Department of Primary Industries and Water Tasmania
Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand
National Association for Sustainable Agriculture
Organic Dairy Farmers Cooperative
Organic Federation of Australia
Organic Growers Association of Western Australia
Organic Industry Export Consultative Committee
Organic Traders and Consumers Network
Safe Food Queensland

It will definitely be interesting to see what they come up with and how it conflicts or coincides with Demeter’s certification process.

Ten years later, married, with two girls, and a decade’s experience of running a mixed smallholding, I signed up for an organic beekeeping course and, to my dismay, discovered on arrival that the venue was biodynamic.

My negative attitude was soon challenged however, on completing a tour of the farm. It was a working demonstration of the organic ideal, a holistically complex chain of plants and animals, where each link benefited the others.

The vegetable garden oozed fertility, beds bursting with immaculate greens. Interspersed amongst them cornflowers, marigolds and thyme buzzed with hoverflies and bees.

Over the fence, cattle cudded in contentment, the herbs in their pasture suiting them well. And lunch, home-produced, was exquisite; each mouthful tangibly nutritious, so packed with flavour and freshness, I could not fail to be impressed.

The above quote is from Patti O’Brien’s article in the Telegraph.  Try as one might to disagree with Biodynamic® growing, the proof is in the product.  Patti also discusses how Biodynamic products currently mimic organic skepticism of years ago.  I guess we have to be patient, but here’s hoping the acceleration of acceptance for Biodynamic wines and agriculture goes faster!

Note:  Daylesford Organic is positively mentioned in the article (hence the logo).

From around the pond, here’s a roundup on Biodynamic® news.

Bonny Doon Vineyards sent out a press release that they are moving their tasting room to Santa Cruz.

Biodynamic wines get a bit of coverage in the Wall St. Journal’s “Boston’s Green Dining Scene“.

For those in Kauai (and we know you wish you were), the Community Center is hosting a viewing of “How to Save the World“, a must watch for fans of Biodynamic agriculture.

We’ve been waiting a long time to link to this article. Now that it’s beyond Ode’s subscription firewall, we present it here.

Jay Walljasper wanted to be skeptical about Biodynamic growing, but he didn’t have a choice:

I reconsider my own leeriness about the magical, mystical elements of biodynamics when picking a big red apple from a tree in Warmonderhof’s orchard and taking a bite.

Now I know a thing or two about organic apples straight from the tree, having gobbled many in my father-in-law’s backyard orchard. And this apple is different from any I’ve eaten before, I exclaim to Saal—it has a more intense, complex taste, which seems to offer many flavours at once. “That’s what we say about biodynamics,” he answers, chomping his own apple.

Greedily, I take another bite, and decide I have no problem with cows’ horns, quartz rock, stags’ bladders, chamomile blossoms, stinging nettles, intricate manure recipes, the full moon, or any other spiritual dimension of farming. Anything that produces an apple this good makes perfect sense to me.

This is one of the best articles to date on biodynamics. Please take the time to read it!

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."