On Boundaries

Dasher walking the eastern boundary.

On Boundaries

Each year this time when we receive our certification renewal papers, we are asked to describe what is happening along each section of the boundary of our property. There are two reasons for this. In Demeter Biodynamic/ Stellar Certification Services organic farming we are required to have buffer zones along stretches where a neighbor uses non-organic fungicides, pesticides, and herbicides. This helps insure the integrity of our certified Biodynamic organic products.

But in Biodynamics there is an added importance to these boundaries. The core principle of Biodynamic farming (see link to radio interview for a wonderful explanation of this) considers the ranch a living organism. Defining the boundary encircles its wholeness, that area on which we live and farm. A guiding star in Biodynamics is bringing balance in our farming through a diversity of plants and animals suited to the individuality of this encircled whole. At the same time, we are to remain sensitive to the ecosystem of which we are a part. In this way, we make a promise of stewardship to the land.

In turn, the land offers a us its gift of a sense of dwelling:

Man dwells when he can orient himself within and identify himself with an environment, or, in short, when he experiences the environment as meaningful. …A place is a space that has a distinct character. Since ancient times the genius loci, or “spirit of place,” has been recognized as the concrete reality man has to face and come to terms with within his daily life. (Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture, by Christian Norberg-Schultz.)

So much of what we do on our ranch puts us in touch with its own unique “spirit of place,” which, of course, exacts its price (see Farming Soul: A Tale of Initiation). C.G. Jung inscribed a phrase in Latin on the entry to his home, which translates: “Called or not called, God is present.” As with God, so it is with the spirit of our lands. In defining boundaries we bring a consciousness to that energy, bringing us in contact with the unique spirit of our dwelling places.