When we asked David Rowntree, head of ranch operations, where he saw the principles of regenerative sustainability at work on the farm, he pointed to six planter beds built next to the compost heaps. He and our farmer, Lyann Northwood, had just finished building them to house the plants used to create some of the biodynamic preparations.1 When pressed further, David explained that the preparations are used to develop great compost, full of nitrogen and beneficial fungi, that is stable with a diverse microbiology. The idea behind growing and making our own preparations is one that Rudolph Steiner, founder of the biodynamic approach to farming, states very clearly in the second lecture of his agricultural course, “A thoroughly healthy farm should be able to produce within itself all that it needs.” Through these preparations and the compost building, David and the team are doing more than limiting our impact on the environment. They are improving the larger ecology of the ranch.
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