|Founder||Erhard Bartsch, Franz Dreidax|
|Origins||based on Rudolf Steiner's theories|
|1400 (Germany) |
Demeter International is the largest certification organization for biodynamic agriculture, and is one of three predominant organic certifiers. Its name is a reference to Demeter, the Greek goddess of grain and fertility. Demeter Biodynamic Certification is used in over 50 countries to verify that biodynamic products meet international standards in production and processing. The Demeter certification program was established in 1928, and as such was the first ecological label for organically produced foods.
Certification is difficult to come by and must be renewed annually. 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”. 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.
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).
Demeter ceased temporarily to exist in 1941 when the Nazi Government dissolved the Union for biodynamic agriculture. It was reestablished in Germany after the Second World War. In 1997 19 independent Demeter organisations came together to establish Demeter International. All continents were represented.
- 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
- Demeter certification in New Zealand
- Steve Diver, Biodynamic Farming & Compost Preparation, Alternative Farming Systems Guide: ATTRA, February 1999. Document text
- Biodynamic Berries: Ancient ways are the next step in organic winemaking
- Overview of Demeter certification requirements Archived 2007-07-30 at the Wayback Machine
- 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
- 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.
- John Paull (2017) Australia’s original Demeter Farm (1934-1954), Journal of Biodynamics Tasmania, 123:16-19.