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Biodynamic agriculture has repeatedly played an important pioneering role in the development of life-oriented farming systems. Within the currently mainly practiced forms of agriculture, biodynamic agriculture consistently pursues the concept of the agricultural farm organism with the living members soil, plant, animal, human in the agroecosystem. In practice, biodynamic agriculture shows "best practice" examples of organic farming in many areas. A high proportion of the winners of the Federal Organic Farming Competition of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the past 20 years have been biodynamic farms in particular (Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture 2020). Biodynamic agriculture is thus a pioneer in, among other things, farm communities including CSAs (community supported agriculture) and social farming, in soil fertility on the topics of composting and active nutrient mobilization and a farm organism that is as closed as possible, in the breeding of own varieties(cereals and vegetables) for organic farming, in the area of animal welfare (mother-bound calf husbandry and brother cocks), the focus on food quality and in the training of young people for the practice.
Long-term experiments show, among other things, the highest biodiversity on biodynamically farmed land (Mäader et al 2002).
Teaching and research on biodynamic agriculture at the Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences came into being through the initiative and requests of many Witzenhausen students and has been represented in various forms at Department 11 of the University of Kassel for more than 20 years now. The working group Biodynamic Agriculture in its current form was founded in 2012
The working group Biodynamic Agriculture offers in different electives in the Msc. and Bsc. Degree program, both an introduction and further in-depth study of topics related to biodynamic agriculture and scientific research. The focus of the two coordinators is different and covers a wide range of biodynamic agriculture: Dr. Jürgen Fritz studies biodynamic preparations, soil, plant and image-creating methods, plant breeding, Dr. Daniel Kusche studies organic milk quality, differentiation of milk from different origins, sensory analysis and compatibility of raw milk. As well as the topics of organic farm effect and one-health. In the research topics and in teaching, the topic of food quality is central for both coordinators and thus connects the areas of soil, crop production and animal husbandry with a focus on human health and resilience also through nutrition and lifestyle.
Since 2020, the group has been supported by Dr. Heberto Rodas with research on composting and the influence of biodynamic preparations on soil properties.
In teaching, it is especially important for us to have an active exchange with students on an equal footing, to discuss current research results, to gain insights into practice, and to critically examine the fundamentals of biodynamic agriculture as well. Project work and final theses can be carried out with us. Please contact us, even if you have your own ideas and impulses for final or project papers and other projects in our subject area or the broader field of biodynamic agriculture.
In the module Cognition Processes and Cultural Landscape Development, in cooperation with Dr. Thomas van Elsen, the basics of cognition processes are developed using texts and practical examples, among other things, and Theory U is presented and applied as a communication tool in various exercises.
An integral part of the teaching are, in particular, excursions of several days to biodynamic practical farms and to processors, breeders and research institutions.
We try to reflect the diversity of biodynamic agriculture that goes beyond this (biodynamic viticulture, cooperative farm communities, etc.) as well as current topics (e.g. CRISPR CAS genetic engineering) through regular guest lectures and small workshops by external experts and integrate them into the teaching.
Mäder P, Fliessbach A, Dubois D, Gunst L, Fried P, Niggli U. Soil fertility and biodiversity in organic farming. Science. 2002;296:1694-7.
Dr. Jürgen Fritz
Dr. Daniel Kusche
Dr. Heberto Rodas
Contact and address:
University of Kassel
Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences
Department of Organic Agriculture and Plant Production
+49 5542 98-1565
+49 5542 98-1568