The following passage is a great example of how difficult it is to track and understand Steiner, and just how nutty Steiner is.  He cannot keep on topic, he refers to unnamed authorities, he makes grand unsupported  pronouncements, he speaks of tomatoes as if they had souls, emotion and independent thought, and that they (the tomatoes) are willing to confide their innermost secrets to Steiner.  Because of the tomatoes’ independent nature, people with cancer should not eat tomatoes.  Frankly, Steiner’s writing is so nonsensical that if he told a mental health worker in New York City on a Friday night the following quote, I think he would have ended up in the Bellevue psych ward.   

 Demeter completely believes in Steiner and his writings.  It’s clear from reading Demeter that there is no such thing as “Biodynamic light.” To be a certified Biodynamic farmer you must follow Steiner’s teachings and use all of the nine preparations.   There is no way that a certified Biodynamic farmer gets to pick and choose what they are willing to use with a saying like “well, yes, Steiner is a little weird, but I just use what I think works.”   

I have underlined and bolded the text that I think is the nuttiest.    If you are a Biodynamic farmer or a supporter and think that the following quote makes any kind of sense, challenge me, take me on, tell me why I’m wrong and how Steiner is right.  

 From Agriculture by Rudolf Steiner, LECTURE EIGHT, Page 167, 168:

         “Now, there is still one especially important subject I want to mention. I would like to ask you to carry out very precise experiments in this area, experiments which can also be extended to include human beings, if they happen to like this food. You know that tomatoes were introduced as a food only relatively recently. Many people are very fond of them, but they are also an extraordinarily important thing to study.  You can learn an extraordinary amount by studying tomato production and consumption.  People who have given the matter a bit of thought – and there certainly are such people nowadays – believe that tomato consumption is highly significant for human beings.  This is true, and it could also be said for animals, for it would be quite possible for animals to get used to eating tomatoes.

        “Tomatoes have a significant effect on everything that tends to separate itself from the organism and develop an independent organization within the body.  Two things follow from this.  On the one hand, it confirms the statement of an American researcher, namely, that under certain circumstances, adding tomatoes to the diet can have a beneficial effect on an unhealthy human liver.  Because the liver is the organ that works most independently in the human body, when the liver is diseased, especially in animals, it could also be treated in general with tomatoes.  Here we gain insight into the relationship between plants and animals.  On the other hand, therefore – let me say this in parentheses – people diagnosed as having cancer should immediately be forbidden to eat tomatoes, because cancer from its very inception makes a certain part of the human or animal body independent of the rest of the organism.” 

        “But now we need to ask ourselves, why do tomatoes in particular have such a strong effect on everything that tends to be independent, on everything that specializes and separates itself off from the rest of the organism?  This tendency is directly related to what tomatoes prefer and require for their own growthTomatoes feel most at home when they are given manure or compost that is as close as possible to the form in which it comes from the animal or other source.  They prefer raw compost that hasn’t had much chance to be transformed through natural processes.  If you just throw all kinds of scraps together onto an untidy heap, and give the heap no further treatment or preparation, you’ll find that the most beautiful tomatoes will grow there.  And if you were to use compost made from tomato plants, that is, if you were to let the tomatoes grow in their own compost, they would grow even better.   Tomatoes have no desire to step outside of themselves, no desire to step outside the realm of strong vitality.  That’s where they want to stayThey are the least social beings in the entire plant kingdom.  They do not want anything from strangers, and above all, they do not want any fertilizer that has gone through a composting process; they reject all that.  This is the reason that they can influence what works independently within the human or animal organism.”

         “And in this respect, potatoes are somewhat similar to tomatoes.  They too act extremely independently, that is to say, they tend to pass very easily through the whole digestive process and then enter the brain and make it independent; they make it independent even of the influences of the other organs in the human body.  From the time potatoes were first grown in Europe, excessive potato consumption has contributed toward making human beings and animals materialistic.  We should only eat only enough potatoes so that our brain and our head in general are stimulated.  Potato consumption in particular should not be overdone.  Knowing these things brings agriculture into intimate relationship with society in an objective way.  And this is what is so important, that agriculture be related to the whole of social life.”

 This is a typical passage from Steiner’s lectures;  and is not taken out of context.  I simply cannot understand how any rational thinking person can read this fantasy and believe that Biodynamics is anything but a hoax!   The silence from Demeter is deafening!

Stuart Smith



  1. St. Vini says:

    I think it is of interest to note that according to Ehrenfried Pfeiffer in his preface to the Agriculture Course (pg. 15), states that….

    “Rudolf Steiner pointed out that many plants which had been “violated”, in the sense of having been estranged from their cosmic origin, were already so far gone in degeneration that by the end of the century their propagation would be unreliable. Wheat and potatoes were among the plant types mentioned, but other such grains as oats, barley and lucerne belong to the same picture. Ways were sketched whereby new strains with strong seed-forces could be bred from “unexhausted” relatives of the cultivated plants.”

    By the way, the “end of the century” Steiner is worried about is the 20th. (Yes, the year 2000. In fact, if anything is true about Steiner, it is that he was one of the earliest fathers of the Y2K-hysteria.)

    Strange, isn’t it? Here we are in 2010, and the humble potato, oat, wheat, barley and lucerne have survived without Steiner’s help.

    Even MORE revealing about the BioD movement is the passage two paragraphs preceding that last quote, which I will add here in full (pgs. 14~15):

    “In an earlier view of nature, based partly on old mystery-tradition and partly on instinctive clairvoyance – a view originating in the times of Aristotle and his pupil Theophrastus, and continuing on to the days of Albertus Magnus and the late mediaeval “doctrine of signatures” – it was recognised that relationships exist between certain cosmic constellations and the various plant species. These constellations are creative moments under whose influence species became differentiated and the various plant forms came into being. When one realises that cosmic rhythms have such a significant influence on the physiology of metabolism, of glandular functions, of the rise of sap and o fsap pressure (turgor), only a small step remains to be taken by conscious future research to the next realisation, which will achieve an experimental grasp of these creative constellations. Many of Rudolf Steiner’s have already demonstrated the decisive effects of formative forces in such experiments as the capillary tests on filter paper of L. Kolisko and the plant and crystallisation tests of Pfeiffer, Krüger, Bessenich, Selawry and others.”

    Also of note is the circular nature of the argument, in that “because people before us have accepted this as true, we should therefore also accept this as true”….which is a thinly veiled use of the fallacy of “argument of/from authority”. Basically, this is the true nature of what biodynamics is…an acceptance that constellations control all things (live and non-living) on the Earth.
    It is dogma, without any attempt to use logic to defend it.


    • St. Vini says:

      “o fsap pressure” should read “of sap pressure”…
      “Many of Rudolf Steiner’s _ have already demonstrated…” should read “Many of Rudolf Steiner’s collaborator’s have already demonstrated…”

  2. Nick Nakorn says:

    One can not examine BD without offering a critique of Steiner’s Anthroposophy any more than one can examine Creationism and ID without examining religious fundermentalism; both BD (as a practice and a philosophy)and ID have in common the desire to politically control the political agenda along religious lines.

    The Organic food market is worth in excess of £50 billions worldwide and who controls our food supply is one of the most important political issues of our time. It’s all about power being in the hands of the few. From that perspective, Demeter et al are not interested in whether or not BD farmers stick to the BD ‘rules’: they are happy to expand their power base regardless – every BD adverisement being free publicity for the wider Anthroposophical movement including Camphill Communities, Waldorf/Steiner Schools, the Steiner Christian Community, the Triodos Bank and many other organisations.

  3. Steve Boyer says:

    I have enjoyed several of the posts and subsequent comment trails to this point. While I understand that Steiner is the basis for bio-dynamic farming, I wonder how many current bio-d followers care about Steiners’ agricultural meanderings enough to even be aware of them. I applaud the idea of examining the validity of bio-d, but think this blog is turning into a soapbox about Steiner, rather than an examination of current bio-d as seen in vineyards. Efficacy under controlled conditions of the nine preparations( well aware that they originate with Steiner), efficacy of pest control through bio-d methods, how many bio-d practitioners use organic methodology whenever possible (especially the organic approved practices that would have been shunned by Steiner)and how often…

    While Steiner may have been a colossal cow horn full of manure, the name of the blog is bio-dynamics is a hoax.

    • biodynamicshoax says:

      My emphasis on Steiner is because Biodynamics has such a clear and defined origin, and because Steiner’s lectures are so completely nutty. If you are a Biodynamic farmer it means you must be certified and pay fees to Demeter USA. As I’ve said before, there is no Biodynamic light. Demeter is all Steiner, all the time. I’m trying to find inconsistencies between Demeter/Steiner and the actual practices that go on in the field. Unfortunately, Demeter is not forth coming in that department and as of yet no current Biodynamic farming has been willing to engage other than to say “it works”.

      I”m trying to hone in on what chemicals a Biodynamic grower can use. It appears (but not certain) that Biodynamic growers can use any chemical that the organic growers can use. If that is the case, then it is another huge admission that Biodynamics doesn’t work.
      Thanks foe the interest and comment.

  4. Hans N. Poket says:

    “A farm is true to its essential nature, in the best sense of the word, if it is conceived as a kind of individual entity in itself — a self-contained individuality. Every farm should approximate to this condition. This ideal cannot be absolutely attained, but it should be observed as far as possible. Whatever you need for agricultural production, you should try to posses it within the farm itself (including in the “farm,” needless to say, the due amount of cattle). Properly speaking, any manures or the like which you bring into the farm from outside should be regarded rather as a remedy for a sick farm. That is the ideal. A thoroughly healthy farm should be able to produce within itself all that it needs.”

    Are there any healthy biodynamic farms? None live up to Steiner’s healthy farm. Biodynamic farming, as envisioned by Steiner, does not seem to exist as all biodynamic farms constantly import materials onto the farm, and from my partial list od approved organic materials posted above, you can see that some of the materials are poison and synthetic, and even include pesticides that kill all beneficial insects indiscriminately.

    • St. Vini says:

      Doesn’t this statement question whether BioD is even possible, or more to the point, how does one come to the conclusion that BioD is even needed?

  5. Well, that explains my tomatoes this year. No, it wasn’t the cool weather, the most obvious factor. They were mad we gave them composted compost instead of raw plant material. Indeed, quite an anti-social plant to be so petty as to make less delicious fruit over this!

    At least I now know why my girlfriend goes shopping when she gets her paycheck–potatoes!

    Hans, are you suggesting that if Steiner’s preparations are used, all plant diseases and pests will simply vanish? Is Bordeaux mixture one of them? Because this seems to be allowed by Demeter.

    • Hans N. Poket says:

      What I am trying to bring to everyone’s attention is this: Steiner’s idea is to maintain the uniqueness of the farm. Do not bring onto the farm compost from outside the farm. Make the compost on site from animals you keep on your farm.

      Organic farmers do not honor this. Organic farmers bring onto the farm fish products from factory ships and manure from feed lots, mined materials from across the country and petrochemicals synthesized from crude oil in the case of sulfur, which is used in high quantities on organic farms, and mineral oils likewise derived.

      The partial list of materials that I have provided comes from the list the USDA has approved for organic farming. Some of these materials even contain poisons such as arsenic, cadmium and lead.

      The entire point of Steiner was to not use such materials. Read the agricultural lectures.

      Therefore, biodynamic farming, as envisioned by Steiner,is incompatible with organic farming.


  6. Hans N. Poket says:

    Stu, we have been mislead my Demeter.  Biodynamic is NOT compatible with organic farming.

    Why would i say that?  Well, to start with,  Steiner was absolutely against bringing outside material onto the farm.  He felt this adulterated the farm’s production.  He believed it killed what we now call “terroir”.  Steiner was even against using cow horns that were not from local cattle in his preparations.

    Here’s the issue:  read the USDA organic material list (OMRI).  This list is anathema to Steiner’s prime directive:  don’t bring outside material onto the farm because it destroys the uniqueness of the farm’s produce.

    Just look at these materials used by certified organic.  Steiner would have forbid them all.  Steiner had specific preparations for farmers, and those are spelled out in the lectures. The preparation 500 through 508.  They include a cure for mildew and plant diseases, gophers and all pests both mammal and insect, and potions to provide fertilizer for crops. 

     Any farmer who uses the Organic Materials list is not a biodynamic farmer, but a fraud paying lip service to Steiner while violating Steiner’s specific remedies spelled out in the lectures.

    The list below is taken some of the OMRI Product List.  Steiner would roll over in his grave if he thought these would be used on the farm he envisioned in the Agriculture lectures: 

    Synthetically extracted aquatic plant products
    Synthetic boron- if you can document boron deficiency
    Synthetic Calcium Chloride as a foliar spray to treat a physiological disorder
    Composts that contain lead levels that exceed 90ppm
    Compost that contain arsenic levels that exceed 10 ppm
    Fertilizers manufactured such as BioFlora Chicken nuggets, 
    Fertilizers blended with micro nutrients if you can document plant nutrient deficiency for the synthetic micronutrients being applied is documented by testing
    Fretilizers blended with sodium nitrate but not to provide more than 20% of the crop’s total nitrogen requirement
    Fertilizers blended with synthetic magnesium sulfate only if soil deficiency for magnesium is documented
    Fish meal, powder, products
    Fulvic acids
    Bat guano – (mined in awful conditions)
    Gypsum mined manufactured by Western Mining and Minerals, Inc.
    Hoof and horn meal  manufactured by APELSA Guadalajara SA de CV
    Humic Acids-alkali extracted with arsenic levels exceeding 20 ppm manufactured by 3 Tier Technologies
    Iron products
    Magnesium sulfate-synthetic if you can document soil deficiency for magnesium
    Meat By-products and waste
    Micronutrients -synthetic where soil nutrient deficiency is documented manufactured by JH Biotech Inc.
    Phosphate rock where the cadmium level exceeds 40 ppm 
    And which risks arsenic contamination of crops, soils and water
    Potassium Chloride 
    Sodium Nitrate (Chilean Nitrate) but no more than 20% of the crops total nitrogen requirement
    Sulfur  manufactured by Montana Sulfur and Chemical Co.
    Zinc  manufactured by JH Biotech Inc.
    bacillus  thuringiensis  manufactured by Valent BioSciences Corp
    Neem Extract and Derivatives
    Petroleum based oils manufactured by Petro Canada
    Peracetic Acid
    Sodium Carbonate Peroxyhydrate

    • St. Vini says:

      My question is “why do we protest?”…
      “Bat Guano” is apparently objected to because it is “mined in awful conditions”….?

      “Synthetic Calcium Chloride as a foliar spray to treat a physiological disorder”…but what about using it to combat a psychological disorder? Or is “naturally occurring” Calcium Chloride permisible? 🙂

      Are ALL iron products then prohibited? Why?
      And WHY did Steiner suggest spreading finely divided LEAD (Pb) on a rose garden to combat mildew if nothing was to be brought into the farm?

      Bentonite? Really….why?

      And I am left wondering, respectfully, how can anyone possibly devoted to biodynamics conceivably object to someone applying meat by-products to the soil when they do the same thing via their “preparations” fermented in stag’s bladders, or skulls, cow’s horns or the fact they symbolically sacrifice animals for their ag system, period?
      I just don’t see how that can be reconciled with the objection.

      I think the underlying question is more to the nature of whether a system where everything is “self-enclosed” so to speak is all that superior to one which is not. This is the tenet of Steiner’s belief system, but is projected upon the world in an anecdotal way without benefit of having tested it beforehand.

      It also begs the question that, if human nature is to move things around to and reorganize them so that agriculture can happen in the first place (witness aqueducts built as far back as Mesopotamian times & further), are we not going against human nature by disregarding this fact in favor of Steiner’s artifice?


    • biodynamicshoax says:

      Great comments and thank you. Steiners concept of the enclosed system is very suductive to most of us, but, as you noted, it simply will not work, it is not practical and never was, no matter how many centuries someone wants to go back in time. In the three months that I’ve been doing this blog, not one supporter of Biodynamics has engaged in a meaningful defense. Demeter’s silence and failure to engage is clear evidence that they cannot and will not openly defend the crackpot ideas of Steiner and Biodynamics.

      If I believed in Rudolf Steiner and Biodynamics and some guy was calling me a nut case or a fraud I’d defend my beliefs with every thing I knew and had. I know that Demeter knows about this blog and yet they cower in the dark shadows of silence! Their silence is deafening!

    • Bcone says:

      I think that the reason that no one has stepped forward to defend BD practices is that quite frankly no one cares if you support BD practices.

      For those who grow BD it is a religion, not science. They believe in it and if you don’t don’t do it. They are not in the business of defense.

      With that said the BD farm at my kids school has the best produce in the area hands down. They don’t bring anything onto the farm from outside.

      Admittedly talking about the soul life of the plant is pretty nutty, but so is attributing the creation of the universe to an all knowing all powerful diety.

    • Bcone says:

      Sorry I meant to say PHILOSOPHY not a religion.

    • biodynamicshoax says:

      I think you had it right the first time; religion, not philosophy is the proper word. Clearly I’m not privileged to know Demeter’s thinking or strategy, but based on heated comments by some of their supporters I believe they do care, yet they’ve been able to successfully ignore the occasional critical article or post in the past. I hope that sooner or later they will step up and begin defending their claims.

    • Bcone says:

      No, it might seem like religion but it is a philosphy. They are very clear about this.

      Beyond that,
      Just because someone refuses to debate your criticsm, does not make you right. I wouldn’t mind seeing some research on this but until there is there is little point in debate. It’s just comes down to preference.
      Why does it matter? If people are more connected to their food. So what if it’s a new age solution? People are trying to grow nice crops without a ton of chemicals. So they dance naked in the moonlight, or talk about the spirit life of plants, what does this have to do with you? I don’t see why you would give a rats ass.

      BTW Biodynamic IS what people think of when they think of Organic, not the label marketing in the stores that passes for organic. It’s become a marketing tool and a set of standards that are better than “big ag” but certainly not 100% chemical free. I’ve seen railroad tie raised beds on “organic farms” Hydracloric Acid and arsenic are organic too, but I wouldn’t want them on my food. LOL

      I wish you the best of luck in growing whatever, however you do. It’s nice to see you trying to get more information and understanding but, still, I give this whole blog a “Whatever” I actually just came back to fan the flames.

      Good luck tiltling at windmills.

    • biodynamicshoax says:

      We disagree. The Biodynamic supporters want us to believe that it is a philosophy, when in fact it is a belief system and thus a religion. If the Biodynamics crowd wants to compete in the real world by claiming superiority, then they should welcome criticism and meet that challenge head-on with hard facts, peer reviewed experiments and scientific results that are replicable. Demeter has been around for over 80 years and they haven’t funded one credible, un-biased major university study on the efficacy of Biodynamics.
      Why does it matter you ask? It matters to me that my children, my friends and my society can tell the difference between fantasy and reality. I fervently believe that all people should have the opportunity to be exposed to another view, and in this case, I believe that the other view is the more honest and truthful one.
      We agree that Biodynamics is a marketing tool. Biodynamics is making serious in-roads only in the wine world because there is such a potential increase in profits and such is not the case with fresh fruits and vegetables. I don’t agree that Biodynamics is better than “big ag.” I am absolutely certain that if Biodynamics replaced “big ag” in total farmed acres that our world would have many more hungry and mal-nourished people.

  7. Nick Nakorn says:


    I couldn’t agree more. I recently happened upon this website that encapsulates all that is damaging about New-Age solutions to health problems and, yes, she is a Steiner advocate too.



  8. Diego says:

    Thanks for this post, Stu. I will immediately strike potatoes from the diet of my wife in hope that this will curb her rampant, materialistic spending sprees at the mall!

    Or maybe Steiner was using the “materialistic” as defined by the theory of materialism: “the theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter” (Websters)

    In that case, he would have benefited greatly by a heavy dose of Austrian potato dumplings to encourage a little more materialism and a little less mysticism.

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