“People today have less and less conception of reality, the so-called “practical” people least of all, for they are really all theoretical as I showed you in our first lecture, and because they no longer have any idea of reality they look at everything in a disintegrated, isolated way.
Thus it has come about that in many districts during the last fifty or sixty years all agricultural products have become decadent. Not long ago there was a conference on agriculture in central Europe where the agriculturists themselves admitted that crops are now becoming so poor that there is no hope of their being suitable for human consumption in fifty years time.
Why is this so? It is because people do not understand how to make the soil living by means of manure. It is impossible that they should understand it if they have been given conceptions of plants as being something in themselves, apart from the earth. The plant is no more an object in itself than a hair is. For if this were so, you might expect it to grow just as well in a piece of wax or tallow as in the skin of the head. But it is only in the head that it will grow.
In order to understand how the earth is really part of plant life you must find out what kind of soil each plant belongs to; the art of manuring can only be arrived at by considering earth and plant world as a unity, and by looking upon the earth as an organism and the plant as something that grows with this organism.”
– Rudolf Steiner, 1924, The Kingdom Of Childhood, Lecture Three