Most of the cultivating beauty we do here at Weleda North America is from our desks. We leave the actual digging to the expert gardeners at our Biodynamic® gardens in Germany and on our partner farms around the world.
Recently, however, we got to experience Biodynamic® gardening firsthand at the non-profit Pfeiffer Center in Chestnut Ridge, NY, not far from our headquarters in Palisades. It's thought to be the oldest Biodynamic® garden in the U.S. Armed with shovels, sunscreen and our Weleda-branded water bottles, our team spent a hot day volunteering at the gardens there. After an introduction by Mac Mead, program director at the Pfeiffer Center, it was time to dig in! We harvested chamomile flowers by hand, shoveled compost into a neat pile, and applied life-enhancing preparations, a key component of Biodynamic® farming, onto the compost. Made from dried yarrow blossoms, chamomile flowers, stinging nettle, ground oak bark, dandelion and valerian flowers, the preparations help increase microbial life and nutrients in the soil. After our lunch made with Biodynamic® and organic ingredients fresh from the gardens, we were able to check out the honeybee hives, which help to strengthen the healthy balance of animals, plants and minerals that is so important to any Biodynamic® garden.
Weleda founder Dr. Rudolf Steiner also created the concept of Biodynamic® agriculture in Austria in 1924. It is, essentially, beyond organic. It views the farm as one, self-sustaining organism, and each part—from the animals to the compost to the soil to the stars—plays a vital role in the farm’s health, balance and vitality. Steiner saw biodynamics® as a means to restore the health of the soil and animals that had been degraded by the introduction of chemical fertilizers. Mead explains, “Nature was in a downward spiral, especially agriculturally. Just organic, Steiner felt, was not enough to heal nature and to repair the damage. Extra energy was needed to actually heal and bring it forward into the future. Ideally, Biodynamic® farming does more than just sustain. It is actually future-driven.”
It was great to be able to learn more about biodynamics in the company of my colleagues. It is, after all, at the heart of Weleda. It allows us to cultivate the healthiest, most effective skin and body care products for you. When plants are grown biodynamically, they are free of chemicals and full of potent nutrients that can be smelled, felt and tasted—and that can nurture your body’s own natural vitality and ability to heal. If we treat the soil and our earth in a balanced way then the resulting products will help keep our bodies (inside and out!) balanced and healthy. It’s like Mac said, “Plants have a special healing power, and that is so important for the world today.”
To view more pictures from our Biodynamic® dig day, visit our Facebook page here. And tell us, what are your impressions of Biodynamics? We'd love to hear from you!