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. The Biodynamic Federation – Demeter International (BFDI) has 45 member organizations in 36 countries working for the Biodynamic impulse. 19 are certifying organizations. In all other countries, the International Certification Office (ICO) is certifying. Actually there are a 6.400 Demeter farmers with almost 210.000 hectares in 62 countries.
The BFDI 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 the 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 a board of directors and working groups with people from different countries.
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 June 2018 the co-ordination of the working group is done by Sebastian Fuchs from Germany.
- International Accreditation Council: The council develops procedures to harmonise Demeter certification programs world-wide. It is co-ordinated by Sebastian Fuchs from Germany.
- 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.
- International Marketing Committee: contact person is Katja Aßmann from Germany.
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.
The Biodynamic Federation - Demeter International is a contemporary example of co-operation based on commitment, transparency, and regional independence.