A Beginning Practitioner's Guide
and the dangers of
“Quantitative”
produced and distributed
preparations

The preparations really should be produced on your own farm to protect you and society as a whole. Even Rudolf Steiner would have recognized the dangers of the preparations coming from only a few sources and regions of the world. Even though regional groups were mentioned, he would not have advocated “Quantitative” versus “Qualitative” production of them on any factory farm. After all, the desired goal is for each farm to become sustainable in its own right and not dependent on any outside supplier.

You should be aware of the dangers and pitfalls listed below.

  1. Has my supplier become a dangerous single point of failure for the entire community at large?

    As many practitioners have learned over the years, the spray preparations should be applied in a way that prevents damage to the bacterium native to them. The remaining preparations are usually applied directly into the soil or compost. Both methods allow any harmful pathogens to survive as well. If just one large batch of preparations becomes contaminated, the varied purchasers could easily infect wide areas of numerous locations in a very short time. If that pathogen happens to be Anthrax, all cattle on all infected farms would have to be destroyed. Anthrax is just one of many pathogens that can remain dormant in the soil for extremely long periods of time. This scenario could even result in the lost of human life. Is your supplier insured enough for that kind of wide spread damage? If your purchased preparations have not been publicly tested and certified on a constant and reoccurring basis, you could be putting your farm and others at risk.

  2. Are my preparations of superior quality and pure?

    Like all things quantitatively produced now, shortcuts may have been taken and the purity of content could be questionable. Anything received from outside sources can never be truly guaranteed. Even when you make your own preparations, be careful when ordering the parts you need to make a particular one. Horns from outside slaughter houses may have come from mistreated cows that have been subjected to antibiotics, exposed to heavy metals and fed unnatural things. These can accumulate in all parts of the animal's body. These impurities can later be transferred to you unknowingly without extensive testing on the supplier's part. The same warning holds true for the plant parts you will need to purchase. They could have been sprayed by powerful modern herbicides that have been shown to remain in the surrounding soil for very long periods of time. Once there, they are very difficult to remove. Will your supplier guarantee in writing that you are receiving clean, pure and safe products?

  3. Does my supplier store large quantities of preparations?

    If so, is each batch guaranteed from being blended with the previous seasons? Mixing different batches together from different seasons could be harmful. This practice could be the reason your preparations are not producing as they should. It could even be responsible for the droughts found in certain areas today. Will your order be fresh and correct for the season which it was energized for? Its energies may have produced great potatoes two years ago but this year it might even stunt their growth. When the number of people involved and the volume of materials handled begins to increase so does the risk for contamination.

  4. Is the packaging safe and Eco-friendly?

    Unless the plastics used have been certified Bisphenol A (BPA) free, you may be putting yourself at risk. That risk may be greater than any good intention you had. If any of the packaging itself is not biodegradable and printed with special inks, you are definitely not helping the earth. Also, give a thought to the amount of pollution created in just getting it delivered to you. How much petroleum and energy was used to get everybody where they needed to be, produce the tools, run the equipment and power the facility to process your order?

  5. Do I really need to purchase preparations right away?

    You can but it is of far greater importance that you learn to make your own. Do not let the supplier push you into anything. You will be warned or read that converting may take several years anyway. There are a great number of things that you can do to improve the sustainability of your farm as you wait on your first batch. Learn about your soil's current state and the plants that are already growing there now. There are probably crops that will grow quite well with little effort as you begin to transition.

  6. Should I purchase proprietary preparations?

    The answer to this one should be pretty simple. No, it will not make your farm sustainable. It will only make it dependent on someone else. This practice is the same reason many large commercial agricultural companies are feared and despised today.

  7. What books do I need to begin with?

    Steiner's The Agriculture Course should be first and is available on-line for free at the Rudolf Steiner Archive. You will also find many more there that are both free to read and download to your PC or mobile device. Several sites on the Internet give excellent comment and side notes on each section of this book. Along with other lectures and books from Steiner, it is also available in audio format from the Rudolf Steiner Audio site. The third place to go is the Holistic Agriculture Library section of the Soil And Health Library site where you will find several key books on biodynamic agriculture and a large collection of journals. Please consider giving a donation to each of these sites. If you can not find a particular book or just need to purchase one, search some of the larger used book reseller sites and you could save a great deal of money. Please do not forget your local library. Even if the local library does not have the book on the shelf, they can usually get it for you from another branch. To save one tree, it is not necessary to destroy a forest.

  8. Do I need to purchase special calendars?

    Most farmers almanacs today also list the true astronomical position of the moon daily and only cost a few dollars. Even popular Internet weather services like Weather Underground provide easy to read astronomical charts. Most of the special calendars avoid a few hours before the moon changes sign and no work is done when there are eclipses, occultations and others. There are multiple sites that list perigee, apogee, eclipses, conjunctions, oppositions, trines and retrogrades. Most of these events have been significance to farmers in all cultures throughout history. Other special dates and timings are based on events that have meaning to the Christian religion. In some ways, that means you are either being unfaithful to your own religious beliefs or you are giving credence to theirs. At some point while making the preparations, you will have to come to terms with these beliefs. When you do, you may find their views are not quite the same as what you are familiar with. Any book or calendar system that claims Uranus, Neptune or Pluto to be influential should probably be avoided. Apparently, the authors did not research Steiner's own view of them.

  9. Am I ready to make the preparations?

    You may need to check on National, State and Local laws before you begin. Take your time and plan out everything. Use common sense. Do not do things like placing the oak bark filled skulls in a stream above your animals. You would not only be exposing your own animals to Mad Cow and other diseases but you would also be polluting the water for everyone else below.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. Its aim was to provide you with the knowledge necessary to make your farm or garden as sustainable as you thought it could be. If you do decide to purchase rather than make your preparations, please take the time be to review your supplier's manufacturing practices and their moral, legal and contractual obligations. You are free to re-post or share this article as long as it is reproduced in its entirety and made freely available to everyone.

Until the next time,

Jason Monroe Martin

Image of the Biodynamic Preparation Consultant's Credentials

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