The story behind Hikiän

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December 17, 2022

What is organic and biodynamic farming?

The difference between biodynamic and organic farming and how it is reflected in beekeeping

The basis for organic farming is the production of food by natural means, using natural substances and with as little burden on the environment as possible. The focus of organic farming is the efficient use of natural resources as well as maintaining biodiversity and ecological balance.

Biodynamic farming on the other hand, refers to the sustainable use of natural resources. Biodynamic farming does not allow for any use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or genetically modified seeds. Soil is fertilized with compost and green manure, and the soil is kept fertile by versatile crop rotation and biodynamic soil pretreatments. In a way, biodynamic farming is organic farming taken to the next level.

The regulation for organic farming is laid out by the European Union, and the regulations affect all union members. In addition to farming, the regulations guide farmers to invest in animal welfare and to consider the stylistic behavior of each species.

Organic products produced within the EU can be labelled with a special packaging label to allow consumers to identify organic products.

The concept of biodynamic farming was introduced by Rudolf Steiner in 1924. Steiner had the idea of reforming agriculture in a comprehensive and appropriate way, concerning both agriculture and horticulture as well as food production. Biodynamic farming is more strictly guided by standards than organic farming. Biodynamics aims to give more back to nature than it takes. Cultivation should not burden the environment by producing harmful substances or waste, because all nutrients are circulated in the soil.

For the Demeter certificate, the farm must be an organic farm. Before receiving the official certification, the farm must go through a transition phase to become a biodynamic farmer or producer.

Demeter is an international certification for biodynamic production.

With organically produced honey, the location of the beehives plays a key role. Hives must be located as far as possible, at least 2-3 kilometers, away from possible sources of pollution, such as landfills. Bee farms are often located near organically cultivated fields or natural areas. In the winter, bees are fed sugar, which must be organically produced. Bees must also not be fed anything other than pollen collected in the hive. The materials used in the hives are mainly natural materials that do not burden nature or pose any danger to the bees or the products.

In biodynamic honey production, only natural materials such as wood, clay and straw are used as building materials for hives. The bees are allowed to build and decorate the hives themselves and produce honey without interference from the beekeeper. Biodynamic production offers the bees the most natural habitat possible. No pesticides or other chemicals are allowed, only certain organic acids may be used for exterminating parasites to protect the bees. When producing biodynamic honey, no processing or heating of the honey is allowed. At Hikiän, the honey is only spun and canned, so the honey is just as the bees intended it to be. In biodynamic beekeeping, the bees are fed with their own honey and organically produced chamomile tea mixed with a small amount of organic sugar and salt.

Written by students from HAMK Biotechnology and Food Engineering

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