Demeter International

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Biodynamic Federation Demeter International
Founded1928; 94 years ago (1928)
FounderErhard Bartsch, Franz Dreidax
TypeNon-profit umbrella organisation
FocusOrganic movement
Originsbased on Rudolf Steiner's theories
1400 (Germany)
4500 (worldwide)

The Biodynamic Federation Demeter International is the largest certification organization for biodynamic agriculture, and is one of three predominant organic certifiers.[1] Its name is a reference to Demeter, the Greek goddess of grain and fertility. It is a non-profit umbrella organisation with 46 members organisations in 36 countries around the world, representing both the global biodynamic movement and the Demeter certified biodynamic farms. The organization incorporates 19 certifying Demeter organizations, and the rest of the certification is done by the international certification committee. The Demeter Biodynamic Certification is used in over 65 countries to verify that biodynamic products meet international standards in production and processing.[2][3] The Demeter symbol was introduced and registered as a trademark in 1928, and as such was the first ecological label for organically produced foods.[4][5]


Certification is difficult to come by and must be renewed annually.[6] Demeter’s “biodynamic” certification requires biodiversity and ecosystem preservation, soil husbandry, livestock integration, prohibition of genetically engineered organisms and viewing the farm as a living “holistic organism”.[1][7] The certification verifies the fulfillment of the standards on behalf of the farmers, which in turn guarantees high quality food products to the consumers. This is rewarded by receiving a higher price for food certified with the “Demeter” label, ranging from 10-30% on average.[8]


The origin of Demeter is a Cooperative for the processing of products of the biodynamic agriculture created in Berlin, Germany, in 1927. The trademark Demeter was registered in 1928. Demeter was administered by the German agronomist Erhard Bartsch who also directed the Experimental Circle of anthroposophical (biodynamic) farmers, and who had chosen the name Demeter, jointly with the German chemist Franz Dreidax. Dreidax was responsible for the development of the Demeter criteria and the quality control.

The Demeter name was adopted internationally. In Australia, two members of the Experimental Circle, Ernesto Genoni and Ileen Macpherson founded Demeter Biological Farm in Melbourne in 1934 and operated it as a biodynamic farm for two decades (until 1954).[9][10]

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  1. ^ a b Commission for Environmental Cooperation and TerraChoice Environmental Services Inc, Environmental and Other Labelling of Coffee: the role of mutual recognition, supporting cooperative action, May 2004. Document text Archived February 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Organisation". Demeter International. Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  3. ^ Demeter certification in New Zealand
  4. ^ "History". Demeter International. Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  5. ^ Steve Diver, Biodynamic Farming & Compost Preparation, Alternative Farming Systems Guide: ATTRA, February 1999. Document text Archived 2008-05-09 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Biodynamic Berries: Ancient ways are the next step in organic winemaking
  7. ^ Overview of Demeter certification requirements Archived 2007-07-30 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Stephan Rist and Lucas Rist, "Towards a post-materialist understanding of science – lessons learnt form the interface of biodynamic agriculture and research." Presented at conference Bridging Scales and Epistemologies: Linking Local Knowledge with Global Science in Multi-Scale Assessments, March 2004. Document text
  9. ^ John Paull (2017) Ileen Macpherson: Life and tragedy of a pioneer of biodynamic farming at Demeter Farm and a benefactor of Anthroposophy in Australia, Journal of Organics, 4(1):29-56.
  10. ^ John Paull (2017) Australia’s original Demeter Farm (1934-1954), Journal of Biodynamics Tasmania, 123:16-19.

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