Demeter is the only ecological association that has built up a network of individual certification organisations world-wide. In 1997 Demeter-International was founded for closer co-operation in the legal, economic and spiritual spheres. Presently Demeter International has 17 members and 7 guest-members from Europe, America, Africa and New Zealand. Thus Demeter-International represents ca. 5.000 Demeter farms, with nearly 150.000 hectares in more than 45 countries.
Demeter-International e. V. is a non profit organisation and its member organisations work together in the spirit of an international confederation with democratic principles. Membership requires a functioning Demeter certification programme. Associations which support the objectives of Demeter-International can be elected as associated members. Its basis is the Biodynamic agriculture method, originated by Rudolf Steiner in his “Agriculture Course” given in Koberwitz in 1924, and developed further in practice and research.
The main tasks of Demeter-International are
Development and approval of International Demeter Standards for production and processing as minimum requirements for the world-wide trade of Demeter products,
International registration and protection of the Demeter trademark,
Certification of single farms/operations in countries without their own Demeter organisation,
Harmonisation of Demeter certification program: world-wide,
Commitment to advancing the public understanding and acceptance of the Biodynamic method in relevant international institutions,
Support for the establishment of autonomous Biodynamic associations and Demeter organisations where none exist.
The members assembly is the highest body and meets once a year, as a rule in June in various countries. It elects the board of directors and the working groups with people from different countries.
In June 2011 the following board members were approved: Thomas Luethi from Sweden (president), Susanna Kueffer-Heer from Switzerland (treasurer), Christoph Simphendoerfer from Germany (vice-president), Lapo Cianferoni from Italy and Jean-Marie Defrance from France. as well as an associate member from New Zealand, North America and South America. Special items are worked out in working groups:
Working Group for International Production & Processing Standards: International Demeter Standards for production have existed since 1992, and have been developed regularly. In June 1999 the International Processing Standards were first approved by the members’ assembly. They regulate the processing of food, cosmetics, textiles as well as storage, packaging and labelling. Since October 2005 the co-ordination of the working group is done by Ian Henderson from New Zealand.
International Accreditation Council: The council develops procedures to harmonise Demeter certification programs world-wide. It is co-ordinated by Reto Ingold from Switzerland.
International Certification Office: This body organises certification of farms/operations in countries without their own Demeter organisation, and provides information about inspection/certification, market access and advisory for international inquiries. Contact person is Ute Bucholski.
Co-operation on an international level is a challenging but mutually enriching task. The Biodynamic activities on a Dutch market garden are different from those on an orange grove on the edge of the Negev desert in Israel, or arable production on the Argentinean pampas. Marketing in Germany requires a different strategy from that in New Zealand. Demeter international is a contemporary example of co-operation based on commitment, transparency, and regional independence.
A list of Demeter international member organisations can be found here.