Lesson 93 – On The Farm

Level C2 – Lesson 93

 On The Farm


IN YOUR LANGUAGE (Top right > Select language > Click on the flags).

In this free English lesson you will access:

      1. Dialogue in English (video format)
      2. Transcript of the Video in English
      3. List of Vocabulary
      4. Downloadable PDF of the lesson
      5. Comprehension Quizzes (3 to complete):
        I) Interactive Video Comprehension Quiz
        II) Summary Statements
        III) Drag and Drop Quiz
      6. Grammar Practice: video tutorial(s) + interactive quizzes
      7. Pronunciation Practice: video tutorial(s) + interactive quizzes


 1/ Dialogue in English (video format)

 2/ Transcript in English



Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming originally developed in 1924 after a series of lectures on an ecological and sustainable approach to agriculture, by Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. At the request for help from a group of farmers, many of them concerned about the future of agriculture, Steiner put forward the approach that would help increase soil fertility without the use of any chemical fertilizers and pesticides. So successful was its implementation that biodynamic agriculture is now practised in Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia. Although there are no differences in beneficial outcomes that have been scientifically established between certified biodynamic agricultural techniques and similar organic and integrated farming practices, many farmers utilise this system.

The central aspect of biodynamics is that the farm as a whole is seen as an organism, a largely self-sustaining system, producing its own manure and animal feed as well as sowing, weeding, and harvesting to utilise the influences on plant growth of the moon and planets. Choosing to plant, cultivate or harvest various crops based on both the phase of the moon and the zodiacal constellation the moon is passing through, and also depending on whether the crop is the root, leaf, flower, or fruit of the plant. It uses management practices that are intended to restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony. An important feature of this is the health and well being of crops and animals and include such practises as the recycling of nutrients by using livestock manure to sustain plant growth and improve soil quality. Biodynamic practitioners seek to understand and work with the life processes as well as increase their understanding of the mineral processes used in conventional agriculture. Healthy soil is the essential basis for healthy plants, animals and people.

Another feature is the application of prepared substances that are used for preparing fields and compost. The use of which, when compared with organic and conventional farming systems, has resulted in enhanced soil properties, also found in organic farming but lower yields than that of conventional farming. Reviews, in comparison with conventional farming systems, have revealed that biodynamically cultivated fields have a lower absolute yield but achieve better efficiency of production relative to the amount of energy used and possess a higher earthworm population and biomass.

These prepared substances are numbered 500 to 508 with the first two being used to prepare fields. 501 involves filling a cows horn with cow manure and planting it in the ground in the autumn and 502 is prepared by filling a cows horn with quartz and planting it in spring. The aim of these preparations is to stimulate humus formation, soil organic matter that is amorphous and significantly influences the bulk density of soil and contributes to moisture and nutrient retention. The remainder employ herbs which are frequently used in medicinal remedies. The overall purposes of the preparations are considered as so:

  • Horn Manure Preparation (500) is used to enliven the soil, increasing the microflora and availability of nutrients and trace elements. Through it, the root growth in particular is strengthened in a balanced way, especially the fine root hairs. Horn Manure 500 helps in developing humus formation, soil structure and water holding capacity.
  • Horn Silica Preparation (501) enhances the light and warmth assimilation of the plant, leading to better fruit and seed development with improved flavour, aroma, colour and nutritional quality.
  • Compost Preparations (502 to 508), known collectively as the compost preparations, help the dynamic cycles of the macro- and micro-nutrients, via biological processes in the soil and in plant material breakdown.

Of course, there are many people who not only doubt the effectiveness of the biodynamic system of practice but also ridicule it. It has been considered a pseudoscience and compared to the practice of alchemy or magic akin to geomancy, a form of divination that was otherwise popular with people from all social classes up to the 17th century. Some claim that it is occult and dogmatic, that its lack of scientifically clear hypotheses make the process unconvincing and viewed as nothing more than a magic spell formulated solely by Steiner. However it is perceived it cannot be denied that the land and vegetation produced by a biodynamic techniques is more desirable than consuming foods that have been sprayed with fertilisers and insecticides that can be harmful.

Those who utilise biodynamic agriculture, including, vineyard owners and livestock farmers are convinced enough to continue its application and its community continues to grow, indeed, biodynamic farms often have a cultural component and encourage local community, both through developing local sales and through on-farm community building activities. Hokum or not, the idea of a farm as a living unit extends to the people who prepare it, work it, seed it, harvest it and eat from it.

 3/ List of Vocabulary of the Lesson

  • Biodynamic agriculture
  • Organic farming
  • Originally developed
  • A series of lectures
  • An ecological and sustainable approach
  • Philosopher
  • Social reformer
  • Architect
  • Esotericist
  • Soil fertility
  • Chemical fertilizers / chemical fertilisers
  • Pesticides
  • Its implementation
  • Beneficial outcomes
  • Integrated farming practices
  • Self-sustaining system
  • Producing its own manure
  • Sowing
  • Weeding
  • Influences on plant growth
  • The phase of the moon
  • Zodiacal constellation
  • Root
  • Leaf
  • Management practises
  • To restore
  • To enhance ecological harmony
  • Health and well being
  • Nutrients
  • Sustain plant growth
  • To improve soil quality
  • Biodynamic practitioners
  • Compost
  • To Enhance soil properties
  • A lower absolute yield
  • A higher earthworm population
  • Biomass
  • Cows horn
  • Cow manure
  • Quartz
  • To stimulate humus formation
  • Organic matter
  • Amorphous
  • Nutrient retention
  • Medicinal remedies
  • Microflora
  • Trace elements
  • Root growth
  • In a balanced way
  • They doubt the effectiveness of
  • They ridicule it
  • Pseudoscience
  • Alchemy
  • Geomancy
  • A magic spell
  • It cannot be denied
  • Sprayed with fertilisers
  • They can be harmful
  • Vineyard owners
  • Livestock farmers
  • Hokum

 4/ Downloadable PDF of the Lesson

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5/ Comprehension Quizzes (3 to complete)

Interactive Video Comprehension Quiz 1

Summary Statements Comprehension Quiz 2

Drag and Drop Quiz 3: 

6/ Grammar Practice (video tutorial(s) and interactive quizzes)

  • Related Grammar Video Lesson and interactive exercise(s): Quantifiers (any, some, a lot of…)

7/ Pronunciation Practice (video tutorial(s) and interactive quizzes)

  • Related Pronunciation Video Lesson and interactive exercise(s):


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