I am quite pleased with this new article in Leadership Journal: http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2014/april-online-only/biodiversity-of-kingdom.html
On our walk, we were joined by Jamie, one of the vineyard’s staff. She was a splendid companion. At carefully chosen moments, she gave details of the vineyard’s history and philosophy of winemaking. She seemed particularly happy to tell us about the estate’s organic growing practices.
I was introduced to a new concept. The term she used was “biodynamics.” My household dabbles in urban homesteading. We try to grow organically. We just finished a greenhouse on our small inner-city lot in the hope of expanding our growing prowess. We have numerous books on gardening. We farm worms and raise chickens to increase the quality of our soil. And yet the hobby nature of our practices became obvious on that country hilltop. “Biodynamics” was a completely new term.
She explained that when it comes to agriculture, mono-cultures (planting large swaths of a single crop) can be very challenging to the plants. Their vineyard instead practices a philosophy that is a reversal of some long-held agricultural beliefs. Instead of planting grape vines surrounded by only grape vines and distanced from all other species, their philosophy of growing strives for just the opposite. “We use a variety of ground cover to interact directly, root against root, with the wine-producing plants. We also plant other crops adjacent to the vineyards, and then we bring in domestic herds to graze in the offseason, adding their diversity to the nurturing culture.”
Now, here was the moment that got stuck in my soul. Jamie said something like this: “We find that when grape vines are surrounded by only other grape vines (a homogenous culture), they become weaker, less productive, even anemic. You could even say they become less ‘grape.’ On the other hand, when those same vines are surrounded by diverse influences, they actually become more grape, much more than if they were left surrounded by only their own kind.”