Deprecated instance! Use the new indico2
27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
Home > Timetable > Session details > Contribution details

Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.20

Biodynamic composting: linking humans and earth beings through the ritualization of a peasant practice


  • Bertrande GALFRÉ

Primary authors


This study takes place in the Comminges region in the South of France and focuses on a peasant network involved in Biodynamic Agriculture. Composting is a main practice for this alternative way of farming and echoes Donna Haraway’s sentence: “We are all compost” (Haraway, 2015). In 1924 Rudolf Steiner founded the Biodynamic Agriculture at the very beginning of the organic movement in Europe and inspired by his esoteric current called Anthroposophy. The Biodynamic Agriculture’s spiritual origins have practical consequences for it is nether simply about improving the productivity of the farm but is rather an agriculture of care, aiming to reach a symbiotic welfare for the individual and his environment through a process of ritualization of practices. The biodynamic compost is paradigmatic of this process. The biodynamic farming is related to an ideal: the agricultural organism. In hence, the farm is conceived as a “whole” with each element specifically considered. The ethnography of composting enlightens the biodynamic holistic approach and its analogical way of thinking, at the heart of the biodynamic practices. The ritualization of this common peasant practice engages the actors in a whole network of relationships which involves humans as much as other earth beings. Using a relational approach to ritual (Houseman, 2012), following each step leading to the biodynamic compost, we will see how links are built and maintained between the actors engaged in the welfare of the agricultural organism. Finally, this compost becomes itself a new earth being condensing all links conjured during its manufacture.