Nestled away in the rollings hills near Aberystwyth, lies the 30 acres of Nantclyd Farm. As with all the farms we work with, it’s organic and a real haven for wildlife. But there’s more to Nantclyd Farm than meets the eye. This isn’t just an organic farm… it’s a biodynamic one too. We recently left our stations at HQ to have a little chat with Liz, the owner, about just what biodynamic farming means.
What is biodynamic farming? We’re glad you asked!
It’s all connected
“A concept that’s linked back to the natural world”, Liz says, putting biodynamic farming in a nutshell. And really, she’s hit the nail on the head. It’s a holistic approach to tending to the land, where all the individual bits and pieces of a farm – the livestock, the soil, the flora and the wildlife – work together in perfect harmony, and are seen as one living entity. Self-sustaining, self-contained, a closed loop. They’re all phrases Liz keeps coming back to while her herd of cows look on curiously.
“Farming is so much more than about bringing inputs onto the farm, you just don’t need to”, she says. If the grass needs cutting, you don’t turn to the mower. You let your sheep out to graze. If you’re looking to give the soil nutrients, you don’t spray fertiliser. Instead, you fill a cow-horn with manure, and bury it in the soil, which then acts as a sort of starter culture for the nutrients (like those that bakers use for their bread). These are regular routines for Liz. And the food for the hens, that lay our brilliant biodynamic eggs? That’s where the home-grown oats, peas and wheat, along with the insects on the thistles and nettles, come in (plus a little bit of food from the surrounding area).
Feel the rhythm
“The whole rhythm of life” is observed in biodynamic farming, including the influence the moon has, and how the constellations are interacting with one another. Simply put, there are good times to sow seeds, and there are good times to harvest. Light, warmth, earth and water are all hugely important too. Those four elements are brought together in biodynamic farming, connecting them to the plants that the animals eat, and to the occurrences in the sky above us.
With everything that biodynamic farming entails, it can be somewhat difficult to wrap your head round the concept. When we ask Liz what it means to her, she muses, “It’s definitely spiritual.” And then she says something that has us all nodding in wholehearted agreement: “Every child, every human person, I think enjoys seeing something grow out of the earth”. Liz is just doing it in a different way; a way in which the connectivity between farmer and land, and farmer and animals, is truly harmonious.