Biodynamic Tea at Republic of Tea

I’ve attempted to learn what I can in this full season of life on biodynamic farming.  I truly find that it is the closest thing to “husbandry” we have a modern name for, since it focuses on the entire health of the farm and it’s ability to create a “closed loop” of self reliance.  I find when talking to people that many times when someone mentions the term “organic farm” they are often thinking more along the lines of what a biodynamic farm looks like.  The animals running free in harmony with the farmers, vegetation being grown in a companion style with as little artificial human interaction as needed.

If you are interested in the philosophy of biodynamic farming, you can look into it more here  Biodynamic Association.

From the association’s front page:

Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food and nutrition. Biodynamics was first developed in the early 1920s based on the spiritual insights and practical suggestions of the Austrian writer, educator and social activist Dr. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), whose philosophy is called “anthroposophy(link is external).” Today, the biodynamic movement encompasses thousands of successful gardens, farms, vineyards and agricultural operations of all kinds and sizes on all continents, in a wide variety of ecological and economic settings.

Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised. Biodynamic practitioners also recognize and strive to work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant and animal health.

Most biodynamic initiatives seek to embody triple bottom line approaches (ecological, social and economic sustainability), taking inspiration from Steiner’s insights into social and economic life as well as agriculture. Community supported agriculture (CSA), for example, was pioneered by biodynamic farmers, and many biodynamic practitioners work in creative partnerships with other farms and with schools, medical and wellness facilities, restaurants, hotels, homes for social therapy and other organizations. Biodynamics is thus not just a holistic agricultural system but also a potent movement for new thinking and practices in all aspects of life connected to food and agriculture.”

So I received an email a few days ago from the Republic of Tea, sharing some new type of blend they are bringing on.   I was beyond excited to see that they carried a slim amount of blends grown on biodynamic farms.  How cool!  I know there are a lot of herbs that come from places that take great care in sustainability (Mountain Rose Herbs being one), but to see an actual label mentioning biodynamic was so neat.

Republic of Tea’s Biodynamic Collection

 

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Handling Information & Local Food Enconomy

A worry that many people have when purchasing food that has been packaged and/or processed at a distance is that we do not know who, where, and sometimes how it was done.  In many cases we may not even know if the company handling the food products were using safe practices, or even slave labor.

An example that came up on my Facebook feed recently: Slave-peeled shrimp exported to major U.S. Stores

When faced with the knowledge that cheap food often carries the price tag of cheap or forced labor, what can we do?  Understandably, if the purchaser themselves in a tight bind and can not afford an alternative, what is to be done?  A educated decision must be made for each family personally.

Beyond slave labor there are other issues relating directly with the food.  How many hands touch the food product before it reaches your plate?  How long does it sit waiting to be delivered?  What makes one brand truly different from another?  Ever wonder why when there is a big  E.coli breakout there are many different brands and stores with the same contaminated food product, all under different names?

“Shrimp can mix with different batches of seafood as it is packaged, branded and shipped. At that point, there’s no way to tell where any individual piece was peeled. Once it reaches American restaurants, hospitals, universities and military chow halls, all the shrimp from those four Thai processors is considered associated with slavery, according to United Nations and U.S. standards.

U.S. customs records linked the exported shrimp to more than 40 U.S. brands, including popular names such as Sea Best, Waterfront Bistro and Aqua Star. The AP found shrimp products with the same labels in more than 150 stores across America — from Honolulu to New York City to a tiny West Virginia town of 179 people. The grocery store chains have tens of thousands of U.S. outlets where millions of Americans shop.” – (from the AP article above)

The simple answer to many of these concerns is shopping locally.  If your community has local markets, that is one way to know for sure what, where, and who concerning your food. Of course, the most economical and obvious way to keep track of your food is to grow your own. From a tiny pot on your apartment balcony to a half-acre garden, growing your own food lets you know everything involved with what you are eating… and you will probably find yourself with enough to share.

Easy foods to grow on your own with minimal work:
Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Green Beans
Basil
Cilantro
Kale
Mint