It is common currently to confuse organic and biodynamic concept. Many people misunderstand the two terms: some of them believe that they are the same thing, while others know that they have different meanings but do not know the difference. Let’s do some clarity to guide you in a more informed choice of the products you use!
Organic and biodynamic
First of all the main difference between organic and biodynamic is that organic farming is a certified and regulated technique by European Union’s laws, while the biodynamic one, that was born in the 1920s on the basis of the anthroposophy spiritual vision of the world elaborated by the German theologian Rudolf Steiner, is regulated only by the Demeter association, the only one able to provide a certification to the products obtained following their guidelines.
The biological way follows cultivation techniques that respect the natural life cycles and minimize the anthropogenic impact. To sum up the rules of organic production, we could identify five more important ones:
- the crops are rotated to alternate the plants that improve the fertility of the soil with others that impoverish it;
- Pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, antibiotics and chemical products are severely restricted;
- GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are prohibited;
- Local resources are greatly increased;
- Only plant species suitable for a certain environment are grown.
In this way the organic farming can combine productivity and environmental protection and the farmers can provides food without toxic residues and rich in flavour. They use techniques called pacciamatura (to cover the ground with hay or fresh grass to protect it from thermal changes and to hinder the weeds’ growth) or sovescio (to seed some herbs such as clover, vetch, cress, valerianella or spinach that fertilize the soil and protect it from erosion).
At the top of the world for the export of organic products we have Italy with a revenue over the one billion euros per year (Ispra’s data). Sicily is the region with the greatest number of organic soil (303,066 hectares), followed by Calabria (176,998) and Puglia (160,194) according to the report drawn up by SiNab. Tuscany (whose flag is held high by Poggio al Bosco too) is just off the podium at the fourth place on equal merit with Emilia Romagna. Worldwide Oceania is the area with the largest organic cultivation (32% of the territory) followed by Europe (30%).
Banned by the Nazism, biodynamic agriculture has been in vogue since the 1940s (and so much earlier than organic farming). The fulcrums of this discipline are the interconnection between heaven and earth and the idea that the farm is a single great organism in which everyone (plants, animals and farmers) has a role and everybody helps for the survival and to control the health of the ecosystem. The main 3 points of this philosophy are:
- biodiversity and crop rotation;
- attention on the lunar phases and planetary cycles at the time of sowing and cultivation;
- self-fertiliser products (chemical products are prohibited).
According to Steiner’s studies, planets affect metals, rocks, plants and animals just as the sun makes plants grow or the moon affects the water. To make an example, the influences of Mars and Jupiter would be channelled through heat and silica and, by penetrating the plant, would contribute to give colour to flowers and fruit. More particular are the biodynamic compost: they are natural preparations assembled with animal and vegetable components. They are about ten in total and they are subdivided into three categories. Among “the most strange”, we can find Il preparato di Achillea, that is a bladder of male deer filled with yarrow flowers buried at the beginning of autumn after a few months of drying in the sun, or Il preparato di Tarassaco, in which flowers are wrapped in the mesentery of a bovine and then buried at the beginning of the autumn season.
Around the world Demeter branded companies cover an area of 180,000 hectares but the movement seems to be growing fast. Biodynamic agriculture has increased, especially in recent years, in every part of the world, particularly in India and Latin America. Now in Italy there are 25 certified farms and the highest presence is recorded in Tuscany and Puglia (6 for each) and Trentino-Alto-Adige (5).
Poggio al Bosco: organic winery since always
Poggio al Bosco Winery has been certified organic since 2015 but actually it operates in the respect of nature and human health since its first days. For this reason, the vineyards of us are treated only with a bit of copper and sulphur (both allowed by the biological regulation) and they are reinforced with natural methods like the sovescio. This trend also continues in the wine’s production process where chemicals (e.g. sulphites) are reduced to the minimum. The genuineness and naturalness of our wines and our oil are the trademark that make us recognizable to the palate of many people.
P.S. Visit our online shop to buy some organic wines 🙂