This week I ventured out to the biodynamic heart of Geelong - Freshwater Creek. Located 17km south west of Geelong, bustling with the sounds of the vibrant local wildlife, I could soon see why local Mary-Rose Coleman calls this tranquil place home. “It’s my happy place. I feel like I belong out here.” Spanning over 60 acres, Mary-Rose has achieved a great deal here over the years since purchasing the land 22 years ago, planting thousands of trees around the property, successfully lobbying for the Steiner school and creating a vital wetland and a constant evolving biodynamic farmland. As we wandered the property eating the delicious produce along the way, I was exposed to the many elements of what it is to be a biodynamic farmer.
Biodynamics is an advanced organic technique with the exclusion of artificial fertilizers or chemical sprays, with use of bio-activator preparations to powerfully enliven soils and plants¹. This farming method embraces the plants overall context, balancing its free atmosphere, light, warmth, cosmos (sun, moon, stars, planets) for the plant to grow in full potential¹. When artificial, water-soluble fertilizers, raw manures or poor compost are applied to soils; minerals are dissolved into the soil water creating an impractical state for the plant to uptake water and nutrients and as a result the nutritional value, taste and quality are all impaired¹. As soil is vital as the basis of agriculture, in biodynamics the soil is developed into a humus-rich, friable, well-structured, well-drained state¹. Plants can then feed naturally from the soils, not artificially from soil water¹. It is in these practices that Biodynamic farming promotes sustainability, another passion of Mary Rose’s which she gets to educate to younger generations at the local Steiner school. Biodynamics is centered on sustainable practices of recycling organic matter, crop circulation, respect of the ecosystem to promote sustainable biodiversity.
Mary’s vision was to restore the land of our original owners – the Wathaurong people – by bringing restoration and balance to the area. “We are the custodians, but the land belongs to them.” Mary Rose has thus far achieved by learning about and vegetating native plants. Through this, she has developed her sense of connection to the land. “It has been an essential element of my spiritual, mental, and physical health.” With the advent of technology, it is so easy to look at our devices than to look into nature and these barriers in our lives, which keep us away from our nature and culture. “It is our lifeline. We need to reconnect”.
This trip to Freshwater creek was an eye-opener of the satisfaction that can be found by Mary Rose’s attempt in living off the land. It was a refreshing reminder of the joy the simpler things in life can bring, through someone living and breathing a wholesome life. A lifestyle of this nature speaks volumes of resource conservation, ethical consumption, and sustainability, all of which need be considered to sustain recourses for future generations.
John Bradshaw. (June, 2010). Biodynamics – an outline. Biodynamic growing – ultimate organics, volume 14, 3.
Jade is a final year naturopathy Student at Southern School of Natural Therapies. She is currently seeing patients from the student clinic at their Fitzroy campus.