I’ve sent this letter to the California Department of Food and Agriculture requesting that they consider testing Biodynamic farming methods to combat the very destructive European Grapevine moth.
July 5, 2010Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture Mr. A. G. Kawamura 1220 N Street Sacramento, California 95814 Dear Secretary Kawamura,
First let me thank you for the tremendous effort you and your Department have performed for California farmers in general and specifically for your effort to control and eradicate the European Grapevine moth.
It is to that end that I write you. Biodynamic viticulture is a method—growing in popularity and controversy—used by many wineries here in California such as Grgich Hills, Joseph Phelps, Quintessa, Araujo, Benziger, Quivira, as well as many European wineries such as Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Domaine Leroy, Leflaive, Coulee de Serrant and Zind Humbrecht. I’m writing to ask if your department would consider testing the Biodynamic protocol that was carefully described in Rudolf Steiner’s 1924 lectures upon which Biodynamics is based.
While I’m personally not a fan of Biodynamic farming, I have the utmost respect for the above wineries (and many others) who have wonderful international reputations. While I’m aware that the following protocol will seem strange, all these wineries are run by professionals. It’s in that vein that I urge your consideration in this matter.
I quote from a small section of the Biodynamic protocol for dealing with insects, (he uses nematodes as the example, but the protocol applies to all insects) so that you might have a better understanding of what is expected from the Biodynamic community, from Lecture six, pages 124-125 AGRICULTURE, by Rudolf Steiner:
“With the insect you must not take just part of it, as with the mouse, but rather the whole insect… Here you need to burn the whole insect. Burning it is the best and fastest way to go. You could also let it decay, but it is difficult to collect the end products of decomposition, although in some ways they might be better. In any event, you will certainly accomplish your objective by burning the whole insect. You may need to dry and store the insects, however, since the burning must be done when the Sun is in the sign of the Bull, which is exactly opposite the position Venus must be in when you make the mouse-skin pepper. The whole insect world is related to the forces that develop as the Sun moves through the Waterman, Fishes, Ram [Bull], Twines, and on into the Crab, although by the time its gets to the Crab, these forces are quite weak, as they also are when it is passing in front of the Waterman. While the Sun is moving through this part of the heavens, it is radiating forces that have to do with the insect world….”
“So if you go through with this and make this insect pepper, you can then scatter it over your fields of root crops and the nematodes will gradually become powerless. After the fourth year you will certainly find that they have become quite powerless. They cannot survive; they shy away from life if they have to live in soil that has been peppered in this fashion.”
While this protocol seems unorthodox, in 2008 it was reported that there are over 3,500 biodynamic producers in over 40 countries and I believe it would be interesting to a large segment of the farming community to ascertain its efficacy.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter and I look forward to your response.Stuart Smith Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery