Like organic farming, biodynamic farming uses no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, and emphasizes building soil with compost and manures, controlling pests naturally, and rotating and diversifying crops and livestock. However, the most fundamental aspect of the biodynamic approach is its emphasis on the self-contained farm, capable of meeting its own nutrient needs without off-site inputs thus helping keep costs down.
On Saturday, June 13, Washington State University Extension will present a Biodynamic Field Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Jubilee Biodynamic Farm in Carnation to discuss the principles and practicalities of developing a profitable biodynamic farm. Jubilee Farm is located at 229 W. Snoqualmie River Road N.E. in Carnation. Specific directions are available at www.jubileefarm.org/directions.html. WSU Snohomish, King and Pierce County Extension programs are sponsoring the event.
One WSU study has found that biodynamic farming systems generally have better soil quality and equal or higher net returns per acre than their conventional counterparts. Another WSU study found that biodynamically treated composts produced higher temperatures, matured faster, and had higher nitrate content than control compost piles inoculated with field soil.
The field day will help participants gain an overall understanding of biodynamics and how to apply basic biodynamic practices. Addressed from a bottom-line perspective, areas covered will include the core principles of biodynamic farming and land stewardship coupled with some hands-on creation and application of biodynamic preparations while learning the fundamentals of how they work in soil development and composting. Attendees also will take home a small bag of preparation 500, a biodynamic humus-building field spray concentrate.
Participants should be prepared for all weather and field conditions and should wear farm/garden clothes and footwear. Bring hat, rain gear, and a dish to share for a potluck lunch.
Barry Lia and Erick Haakensen are the instructors for the workshop.
Lia is education director with the S&S Center for Sustainable Agriculture and has been practicing biodynamic husbandry for over 15 years. He has led workshops introducing biodynamics in many venues. He coordinates the Washington Biodynamic Group, is regional coordinator for the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program, works on local biodynamic farms, and consults in biodynamic farming and gardening.
Haakensen started farming in 1989. Jubilee Farm was certified organic in 2002 and has been transitioning into biodynamic farming for the last four years. He believes that education is one of the primary missions of the diverse 400-member community supported agriculture farm that he owns and manages with wife, Wendy.
Cost for the workshop is $45 per farm or couple with early bird registration until June 5, and $55 after that date. To register, download the form at www.snohomish.wsu.edu/ag/workshops/biodynamic.pdf and mail with your check, or contact Karie Christensen at 425/357-6039 or by e-mail at email@example.com.