The biodynamic movement, advocating food that is grown and harvested in accordance with lunar cycles, is taking off.
Its fans say you can taste the difference in biodynamic produce.
Organic food has had a terrible recession. Before the crunch, the organic sector had been growing steadily year on year – but sales came to a crashing halt when cost-conscious customers began to look for cheaper alternatives.
Last week, sales of organic vegetables were revealed to be down by a fifth, while demand for organic wine and bread sales has halved in 12 months. On top of the dip in sales, the Food Standards Agency’s Organic Food Report this summer concluded that the nutritional benefits of organic food were negligible.
So you might think that now is no time to get into biodynamic food, a spin-off of the organic revolution.
Biodynamics embraces a holistic view of nature: it is by definition organic but it also involves biodiversity and – strangest of all – astronomy. Food is grown, harvested and sometimes even consumed in accordance with lunar cycles.
Biodynamism is not new: its principles were first outlined by
During an ascending moon, the upper plant is filled with vitality, which, in biodynamic terms, is a perfect time to harvest. For the other two weeks of the lunar cycle, it’s open season on root vegetables. Other more complex issues regarding where the moon falls in relation to the planets, and within the zodiac, can also come in to play.
Even the most discerning foodie might think this a touch faddish. But according to
“Essentially, it’s about working with nature, not against it, and making the most of the land with the minimum cost impact,” says
The results can already be found at many farmers’ markets, though not many stallholders shout about it, preferring to trumpet their organic status (see www.farmersmarkets.net for a nationwide list). But this weekend marks the start of the Biodynamic Food Fortnight, a nationwide push to educate the public about biodynamic farming that chimes in, naturally enough, with the next full moon.
Explaining the lunar connection,
A surprising advocate is a man who is surely paying penance for an outsized carbon footprint: the former Formula 1 champion
Scheckter’s Hampshire farm, Laverstoke Park Farm (www.laverstokepark.co.uk), which is hosting events during the food fortnight, produces award-winning biodynamic meat, as well as biodynamic buffalo milk, which is available at Waitrose supermarkets.
Given that organic food has been rubbished of late, is there any reasonable health imperative to step up a level and choose biodynamic?
This rhythm-of-life approach applies not just to food but to wine production, too. In Germany and France biodynamic wineries have existed widely for some time. German gardener
It might sound bonkers but hard-nosed supermarkets have endorsed the notion: Tesco and Marks & Spencer hold their press wine-tasting days on “fruit” days, the best for wine appreciation; root days are the worst. Atmospheric pressure, which changes with the phases of the moon, can also affect the taste.
Earlier this month, Marks & Spencer held a “fruit vs root” wine tasting – the first retailer to do so – to show the impact the moon can have on taste. At the end of the event, all but one of the critics correctly guessed which day was which.
To introduce some biodynamic principles into your life,
As for howling at the moon, you really don’t need to do that.