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Hocus pocus? Spirituality and soil care in biodynamic agriculture

Anna Pigott

Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, Volume: 4, Issue: 4, Start page: 251484862097092

Swansea University Author: Anna Pigott

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Abstract

In this article, I participate in efforts to re-imagine soils as lively, complex, more-than-human ecologies, by turning to the largely sidestepped subject of spirituality in agriculture. Spiritual knowledge practices rarely sit comfortably alongside technoscientific, productivist accounts of soil he...

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Published in: Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space
ISSN: 2514-8486 2514-8494
Published: SAGE Publications 2020
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa55541
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spelling 2022-01-04T15:39:15.1763812 v2 55541 2020-10-28 Hocus pocus? Spirituality and soil care in biodynamic agriculture d6ac377df192d14714d20cffcc7f06a0 Anna Pigott Anna Pigott true false 2020-10-28 SGE In this article, I participate in efforts to re-imagine soils as lively, complex, more-than-human ecologies, by turning to the largely sidestepped subject of spirituality in agriculture. Spiritual knowledge practices rarely sit comfortably alongside technoscientific, productivist accounts of soil health, and yet they can re-configure how soils are conceptualised and managed, with implications for relationships of care. Drawing on an extended period of learning with a Community Supported Agriculture project in south Wales, the article explores how care is cultivated through a non-conventional method of farming known as biodynamics, which incorporates astrological and spiritual principles. I suggest that biodynamic narratives and rituals encourage attentiveness to more-than-human agency and energy, to depth (not only underground but also above-ground influences of the air and celestial bodies), and to reciprocity between soil biota and humans. Biodynamic practices also make space for mystery, thereby resisting drives to measure and map, and offering possibilities for disrupting anthropocentric approaches to soil care. However, the example presented here also highlights how, despite biodynamic’s growing popularity, its spiritual elements have a tendency to be kept quiet, their presence sidelined by more familiar, secular, narratives. Nonetheless, I contend that if effective soil care demands more diverse knowledge practices than those that are currently obliterating critical soil communities at an alarming rate, then there can be much to learn from a touch of magic. Journal Article Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space 4 4 251484862097092 SAGE Publications 2514-8486 2514-8494 Soil, care, spirituality, biodynamic agriculture, more-than-human ethics 5 11 2020 2020-11-05 10.1177/2514848620970924 COLLEGE NANME Geography COLLEGE CODE SGE Swansea University UKRI, EP/L504865/1 2022-01-04T15:39:15.1763812 2020-10-28T13:03:23.8605945 College of Science Geography Anna Pigott 1 55541__18820__3b6adf0eaf5446e89fed624127c285a4.pdf 55541.pdf 2020-12-04T13:21:28.3189130 Output 578988 application/pdf Version of Record true ©The Author(s) 2020. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License true eng https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
title Hocus pocus? Spirituality and soil care in biodynamic agriculture
spellingShingle Hocus pocus? Spirituality and soil care in biodynamic agriculture
Anna Pigott
title_short Hocus pocus? Spirituality and soil care in biodynamic agriculture
title_full Hocus pocus? Spirituality and soil care in biodynamic agriculture
title_fullStr Hocus pocus? Spirituality and soil care in biodynamic agriculture
title_full_unstemmed Hocus pocus? Spirituality and soil care in biodynamic agriculture
title_sort Hocus pocus? Spirituality and soil care in biodynamic agriculture
author_id_str_mv d6ac377df192d14714d20cffcc7f06a0
author_id_fullname_str_mv d6ac377df192d14714d20cffcc7f06a0_***_Anna Pigott
author Anna Pigott
author2 Anna Pigott
format Journal article
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container_start_page 251484862097092
publishDate 2020
institution Swansea University
issn 2514-8486
2514-8494
doi_str_mv 10.1177/2514848620970924
publisher SAGE Publications
college_str College of Science
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description In this article, I participate in efforts to re-imagine soils as lively, complex, more-than-human ecologies, by turning to the largely sidestepped subject of spirituality in agriculture. Spiritual knowledge practices rarely sit comfortably alongside technoscientific, productivist accounts of soil health, and yet they can re-configure how soils are conceptualised and managed, with implications for relationships of care. Drawing on an extended period of learning with a Community Supported Agriculture project in south Wales, the article explores how care is cultivated through a non-conventional method of farming known as biodynamics, which incorporates astrological and spiritual principles. I suggest that biodynamic narratives and rituals encourage attentiveness to more-than-human agency and energy, to depth (not only underground but also above-ground influences of the air and celestial bodies), and to reciprocity between soil biota and humans. Biodynamic practices also make space for mystery, thereby resisting drives to measure and map, and offering possibilities for disrupting anthropocentric approaches to soil care. However, the example presented here also highlights how, despite biodynamic’s growing popularity, its spiritual elements have a tendency to be kept quiet, their presence sidelined by more familiar, secular, narratives. Nonetheless, I contend that if effective soil care demands more diverse knowledge practices than those that are currently obliterating critical soil communities at an alarming rate, then there can be much to learn from a touch of magic.
published_date 2020-11-05T04:10:40Z
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