Not many farmers start out with degrees in philosophy, but Mark Santoro, owner of Gaia’s Breath Farm, did. Mark finds that there are several connections between farming and philosophy.
Mark started the farm 10 years ago because he wanted to eat well. Since day one, the farm has been organic. However, Mark is now working on making the farm biodynamic and that’s where philosophy comes in.
Biodynamic farming means creating a whole farm organism that is balanced, with no inputs required. For Mark, this is a spiritual endeavor. Biodynamic farms are wholly sustainable and focus on the triple bottom line. They do not need fertilizer, hay, seeds, or anything else from another farm to continue.
According to biodynamics.com:
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.
We are all connected.
Making a farm biodynamic is expensive. According to Mark, Gaia’s Breath’s prices are a bargain! While I did not look at the farm’s finances, I have never met a farmer who went into farming for the money.
Mark was a vegetarian for 20 years until he started his farm and saw firsthand how well the animals were treated. Since then he says, he doesn’t understand the “I don’t want to kill anything” argument for vegetarianism. According to Mark, you kill every day to live. Your body kills bad cells for you every day. Even veggies die and are reborn on the farm. So, that argument just doesn’t make sense to him.