Everything we eat, everything we wear comes from the soil. This simple, but revolutionary realization, triggered Arizona Muse to change her life. The top model, whom Anna Wintour has called the new face of American fashion, has become the champion of biodynamic farming. An unusual change of career for anyone, but even more for an international model. Muse’s goal is to help regenerate the earth with the most sustainable form of agriculture. “Who grew my clothes?” became her mantra as she was modeling around the world and posing on the cover of the most prestigious magazines. That question led her to start her own foundation, DIRT. “We have a crisis on our planet. The current agricultural system is not working. Millions of climate migrants are already seeking refuge outside their homeland due to drought caused by agricultural irrigation. Tons and tons of chemicals are seeping into our water system, about half of them from agricultural chemicals deliberately sprayed on fields,” explains DIRT. “ The carbon dioxide released from soil by poor agricultural practices is causing the ice caps to melt. All of these things are happening in large part because our soils have been degraded by conventional farming techniques. We need a system change in agriculture and DIRT is working toward the adoption of biodynamic farming to grow everything we need, including food for our kitchens, fiber and leather for our fashion, wood for our buildings and herbs for our medicines.” Regenerating soil is one of the most important actions that can be taken in the face of climate change. 

A study just published in September, conducted in 118 points across the globe by the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ), is showing an alarming increase in the temperature of soils across the world. The study shows that, each decade, the soil’s temperature is increasing 0.7 degree Celsius faster than the air. “Soils are accentuating heat waves,” explains one of the researchers. 

That’s why the moment is ripe for biodynamic agriculture. This philosophy of farming is an idea conceived by Rudolph Steiner, the philosopher, founder of Waldorf schools and anthroposophy. Biodynamic farming was the very first of all the organic farming movements. In common with other forms of organic agriculture, biodynamic agriculture uses management practices that are intended to restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.  Central features include crop diversification, the avoidance of chemical soil treatments and off-farm inputs generally, decentralized production and distribution, and the consideration of celestial and terrestrial influences on biological organisms. 

DIRT has an educational fund to provide scholarships to biodynamic colleges globally and supports creating curriculums “about farming fashion’s raw materials biodynamically” and funds the creation of educational films”.  The foundation also functions in a more traditional way. It sheds light on biodynamic projects and funnels funds to them. The projects it supports represent a wide spectrum, some quite out of what one would think as agriculture, but all striving to have a deep impact on their community:  reforesting hillsides in the Philippines, a school farm in Kenya, 20 miles south of Nairobi;  community farming in the Mississippi Delta to help poor Black communities deprived of healthy food sources grow their own food and fiber through a biodynamic farm. But DIRT’s projects roam far and wide. For example, it is supporting the first biodynamic wool supply chain in England to help it grow by inspiring farmers to transition to this way of raising sheep and regenerating soil simultaneously. It is also supporting biodynamic beekeeping in France. In Romania, DIRT is raising money for a women's shelter in the center of Bucharest. The organization will use farming as a way to restore mental health and is looking to buy farmland where it can create a biodynamic farm for the women in rehabilitation to work on therapeutically. 

This is the whole idea behind DIRT and biodynamic farming. By restoring the soil, we also restore ourselves. 

to donate to DIRT via this link: https://www.dirt.charity/donate

October 01, 2023 — Jean Sebastien Stehli