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Green Choices: Produce Buyer's Guide

At the farmers’ market, or the supermarket, what do those labels mean?

Biodynamic

Biodynamic is one of several farming practices that take the basics of organic farming a step further and look at a farm as a self-sustaining organism that thrives on the integration of crops and livestock, recycling of nutrients, maintenance of soil, and the well-being of entire ecosystems and communities. One of the best-known, Biodynamic is one of the few that is labeled and certified.

Health benefits: The same as organic.

Eco-benefits: Everything from water collection and runoff to distribution is done following the best practices for sustainability. A 1993 study of 16 farms in New Zealand showed the Demeter-certified biodynamic farms to be equally productive but to have much higher soil quality than their conventional counterparts.

Is it regulated? Yes, by the independent Demeter Association.

Keep in mind: Biodynamic principles extend to distribution (which is primarily local) so products are usually available only through co-ops, CSAs and farmers’ markets.

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