Shabari Bird is a teacher and expert in fermentation with a strong belief in homeopathic methods. She and her husband, Hugh Lovel, founded Quantum Agriculture Consultancy in order to share their natural approaches to healthy living and agriculture. We talked to Shabari about her passion for biodynamic farming and how it’s been a platform for her interest in Agro-homeopathic methods. Bird will be speaking at the 18th Annual Georgia Organics Conference, Recipe for Change: Better Farms, Better Flavors, which will be held on Feb. 20-21, 2015, at the Classic Center in Athens, Ga.
How did you become interested in Agro-homeopathy and how have you developed your knowledge of Agro-homeopathic methods?
I was first introduced to homeopathy when I was 20. I was living in Paris and my hostess took me to a homeopathic pharmacy. I met Dr. Pierre Dassonville who treated me for the flu with Gelsemium. A few years later, I read The Secret Life of Plants which was co-authored by my late husband, Christopher Bird, and Peter Tompkins. After reading about Dr. Edward Bach, a homeopath from London who developed what is now known as Bach Flower Remedies, I ordered a Bach Flower Remedy kit. I then began studying Homeopathic Medicine at the National Center for Homeopathy (NCH) and continued my education through seminars in Classical Homeopathy in New York. I apprenticed in Classical Homeopathy with Alan Sutherland and Christopher Easter in Maryland, and in 1979 I organized the first homeopathic class in Georgia with George Guess.
Can you explain Agro-homeopathy and its benefits?
According to the doctrine of sympathetic resemblances all growing things reveal their particular usefulness through their structure, form, color, and aroma. Good farming begins with observation and through this most farmers can discover the best energetic treatment of their ailing soils and plants. My husband Hugh Lovel and our company Quantum Agriculture work with small and very large scale farms of which many are certified organic. We encourage every possible natural means to increase soil fertility and to deal with inconvenient pests and insects.
Through Biodynamics, we use various herbal remedies which have been dynamized and made more effective through rhythm. Homeopathic remedies are prepared in a similar fashion.
My first experiments with homeopathic treatment for plants was with Bach Rescue Remedy for the treatment of transplant shock. It worked magnificently. Like homeopathy, biodynamic agriculture uses substances in infinitesimal quantities, but these are sprayed on soil and plants or put in compost heaps. A very important contribution of Agro-homeopathy is that it neither attacks nor affects the environment, but instead, lends to the re-establishment of the ecological equilibrium.
The homeopathic potentising of biodynamic preparations such as establishing effective potencies using seed baths on wheat seedlings dates back to the 1920’s. I immediately grasped the possibility of homeopathic treatment of soil and plant fungus imbalances, enhancing growth, as well as fruit flowering and ripening.
How can Agro-homeopathic methods deter pests and keep soil fertile?
Experiments with homeopathically applied herbicides and other artificially synthesized substances have proven that these substances function as promoters of growth when diluted in a classic homeopathic fashion. Agro-homeopathic preparations can be made from synthesized substances, plants, minerals, poisons, and animal residues, but they do not cause anything residual or produce damage to the environment.
Biodynamic “peppering” is a process in which an offending pest, insect, weed seed, or fungus is burned in a small wood fire. Ashes are gathered and diluted and then applied to gardens and farms. We’ve seen that our Quantum Ag farmers have about an 80% success rate using this method. I also use a variety of common homeopathic remedies for most of my garden needs (see below!)
How affordable is Agro-homeopathy?
To use an Australianism: Cheap as Chips! To me, it’s the most affordable of all methods. Most remedies are available in local health food shops and they are non-toxic.
What are some of your favorite remedies or methods?
Hepar sulphuris calcarea (Abies): For use against beetles, caterpillars, cabbage moth, flies, cabbage flies, carrot flies, and white flies.
Hyssopus officinalis (Hyss): For use when there is injury by insect, shriveling from pest activity or bacterial rot. It can be used for damage done by beetles, caterpillars, crickets, flies, moths, thrips, wasps or weevils.
Juglans nigra (Juglans): For use when epidermis is dry, foamy, slimy, patchy, or wet. When fruits are diminished, there is orange, red, or yellow discoloration, excessive leaves, deficient respiration, and an increased or decreased water requirement.
Kali carbonicum (Kali-carb): For use when flowers droop and petals are absent, petals are discolored or malformed, fruit is diminished, there is no pollination or defective pollination, and immature or shriveled stamen.