Demeter International

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Demeter International
Demeter International logo.png
Founded1928;92 years ago (1928)
Founder Erhard Bartsch, Franz Dreidax
Type Charity
Focus Organic movement
Originsbased on Rudolf Steiner's theories
1400 (Germany)
4500 (worldwide)

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. Demeter Biodynamic Certification is used in over 50 countries to verify that biodynamic products meet international standards in production and processing. [2] The Demeter certification program was established in 1928, and as such was the first ecological label for organically produced foods. [3]



Certification is difficult to come by and must be renewed annually. [4] 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] [5] 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. [6]


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). [7] [8]

See also

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Organic may refer to:

Organic farming Method of agriculture meant to be environmentally friendly

Organic farming is an alternative agricultural system which originated early in the 20th century in reaction to rapidly changing farming practices. Certified organic agriculture accounts for 70 million hectares globally, with over half of that total in Australia. Organic farming continues to be developed by various organizations today. It is defined by the use of fertilizers of organic origin such as compost manure, green manure, and bone meal and places emphasis on techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting. Biological pest control, mixed cropping and the fostering of insect predators are encouraged. Organic standards are designed to allow the use of naturally occurring substances while prohibiting or strictly limiting synthetic substances. For instance, naturally occurring pesticides such as pyrethrin and rotenone are permitted, while synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are generally prohibited. Synthetic substances that are allowed include, for example, copper sulfate, elemental sulfur and Ivermectin. Genetically modified organisms, nanomaterials, human sewage sludge, plant growth regulators, hormones, and antibiotic use in livestock husbandry are prohibited. Reasons for advocation of organic farming include advantages in sustainability, openness, self-sufficiency, autonomy/independence, health, food security, and food safety.

Outline of organic gardening and farming Overview of and topical guide to organic gardening and farming

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to organic gardening and farming:

Vegan organic gardening and farming is the organic cultivation and production of food crops and other crops with a minimal amount of exploitation or harm to any animal. Vegan gardening and stock-free farming methods use no animal products or by-products, such as bloodmeal, fish products, bone meal, feces, or other animal-origin matter, because the production of these materials is viewed as either harming animals directly, or being associated with the exploitation and consequent suffering of animals. Some of these materials are by-products of animal husbandry, created during the process of cultivating animals for the production of meat, milk, skins, furs, entertainment, labor, or companionship; the sale of by-products decreases expenses and increases profit for those engaged in animal husbandry, and therefore helps support the animal husbandry industry, an outcome most vegans find unacceptable.

Organic movement

The organic movement broadly refers to the organizations and individuals involved worldwide in the promotion of organic farming and other organic products. It started around the first half of the 20th century, when modern large-scale agricultural practices began to appear.

Organic certification certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products

Organic certification is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants. A lesser known counterpart is certification for organic textiles that includes certification of textile products made from organically grown fibres.

The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements is the worldwide umbrella organization for the organic agriculture movement, which represents close to 800 affiliates in 117 countries.

Biodynamic agriculture method of organic farming

Biodynamic agriculture is a form of alternative agriculture very similar to organic farming, but it includes various esoteric concepts drawn from the ideas of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). Initially developed in 1924, it was the first of the organic agriculture movements. It treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated tasks, emphasizing spiritual and mystical perspectives.

Biodynamic wines are wines made employing biodynamic methods both to grow the fruit and during the post-harvest processing. Biodynamic wine production uses organic farming methods while also employing soil supplements prepared according to Rudolf Steiner's formulas, following a planting calendar that depends upon astronomical configurations, and treating the earth as "a living and receptive organism.

Quality Assurance International (QAI) is a U.S.-based international organic certification company that is authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as "a USDA-accredited certifying agent that operates globally to certify organic operations to National Organic Program standards." It is a for-profit corporation, established in 1989, and headquartered in San Diego, California. It is one of the world's largest certifiers, operating in the United States, Canada, Latin America, European Union, and Japan. It is owned by public health and environmental organization NSF International.

History of organic farming

Traditional farming was the original type of agriculture, and has been practiced for thousands of years. All traditional farming is now considered to be "organic farming" although at the time there were no known inorganic methods. For example, forest gardening, a fully organic food production system which dates from prehistoric times, is thought to be the world's oldest and most resilient agroecosystem. After the industrial revolution had introduced inorganic methods, most of which were not well developed and had serious side effects. An organic movement began in the 1940s as a reaction to agriculture's growing reliance on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The history of this modern revival of organic farming dates back to the first half of the 20th century at a time when there was a growing reliance on these new synthetic, non-organic methods.

Ehrenfried Pfeiffer was a German scientist, soil scientist, leading advocate of biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophist and student of Rudolf Steiner.

The North American Biodynamic Association is a United States-based company that promotes Biodynamic agriculture system through educational and research programs and has headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Walter Ernest Christopher James, 4th Baron Northbourne, was an English agriculturalist, author and rower who competed in the 1920 Summer Olympics.

China Green Food Development Center

The China Green Food Development Center is the first agency in the People's Republic of China to oversee organic food standards. The Center was established in November 1992 under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture of the People's Republic of China. The CGFDC joined the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements(IFOAM)in 1993. It is headquartered in Beijing, where its general office and divisions of logo management, authentication, sci-tech and standards, planning and finance, and international cooperation are located. Currently, the CGFDC has set up 42 local food regulatory agencies, commissioned 38 quality inspection agencies, and 71 green food producing environmental monitoring branches. Its basic purpose is to promote the development of food that prioritizes safety, to protect the environment, and to maintain the development of economy and society. Its main responsibilities include:developing Green Food generation policies; regulating organizations that develop green food standards; organizing and guiding the development and management of Green Food; trademark green logo management; review and approval of green flag products; and organizing research, technology promotion, training, advocacy, information services, green building demonstration bases, and foreign economic and technological exchanges and cooperation. The CGFDC's main partners consist of China Organic Food Certification Center, State Food and Nutrition Consultant Committee, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and Development Research Center of the State Council as well as some media networks as supporters. It has published reports including the " Green Food Products Bulletin","Green Fashion", and "Brief Report of the Center."

Organic wine

Organic wine is wine made from grapes grown in accordance with principles of organic farming, which typically excludes the use of artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.

Organic farming by country

Organic farming is practiced around the globe, but the markets for sale are strongest in North America and Europe, while the greatest dedicated area is accounted for by Australia, the greatest number of producers are in India, and the Falkland Islands record the highest share of agricultural land dedicated to organic production.

Organic food foods produced without synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers

Organic food is food produced by methods that comply with the standards of organic farming. Standards vary worldwide, but organic farming features practices that cycle resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Organizations regulating organic products may restrict the use of certain pesticides and fertilizers in the farming methods used to produce such products. Organic foods typically are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or synthetic food additives.

Marin Organic association of organic producers headquartered in Point Reyes Station, California

Marin Organic is a non-profit 501(c)(3) association of organic producers headquartered in Point Reyes Station, California. Founded in 1999 with the goal of creating the first all-organic county, Marin Organic staff and board work with government officials, community groups and organizations, fellow ranchers and farmers to advance the practice of sustainable, organic production. The organization has become an internationally recognized model for building economically viable, community-based local foodsheds.

Organic farming practices in New Zealand date from 1930 but began on a commercial scale in the 1980s and is now an increasing segment of the market with some of the larger companies such as Wattie's becoming involved.


  1. 1 2 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. Demeter certification in New Zealand
  3. Steve Diver, Biodynamic Farming & Compost Preparation, Alternative Farming Systems Guide: ATTRA, February 1999. Document text Archived 2008-05-09 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Biodynamic Berries: Ancient ways are the next step in organic winemaking
  5. Overview of Demeter certification requirements Archived 2007-07-30 at the Wayback Machine
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. John Paull (2017) Australia’s original Demeter Farm (1934-1954), Journal of Biodynamics Tasmania, 123:16-19.