Demeter certification requirements exceed government mandated regulations for organic agriculture. Not only do they exclude the use of synthetic fertilizers and chemical plant protection agents in agricultural crop production, as well as artificial additives during processing, but their certification also requires very specific measures to strengthen the soil and foodstuffs.
Biodynamic agriculture is a holistic approach which recognizes, restores and supports natural cycles and interrelationships within the biosphere.
The Demeter U.S. Certification
History of the Demeter Certification
The Farm Standard was written in Germany in 1928 following Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture Course. The Farm Standard is historically significant because it dates back to the beginning of the modern sustainable farming movement, and captures key agronomic principles not comprehensively addressed within any other agriculture certification system. Here in the United States, it provides the legal definition of “Biodynamic” through the certification mark.
The Farm Standard instructs that the foundation of the fertility system, and strategies for disease, insect, and weed control, must originate from the farm itself. Fertility is generated via the integration of livestock, compost and green manure, nutrient catch crops, and careful crop rotation. Disease and insect control are addressed through botanical species diversity, predator habitat, balanced crop nutrition, and attention to light penetration and airflow. Weed control emphasizes prevention, including the timing of planting, mulching, and identifying and avoiding the spread of invasive weed species.
Demeter Certification Marks
While all of the organic requirements for certification under the National Organic Program are required for Biodynamic certification, the Demeter standard is much more extensive, with stricter requirements around imported fertility, greater emphasis on on-farm solutions for disease, pest, and weed control, and in-depth specifications around water conservation and biodiversity.
Stellar Is Demeter’s National Organic Program (NOP) organic certification. Although the NOP standard forms the base to the Demeter Biodynamic standard, in order for a Biodynamic member to receive organic certification they must be certified organic through the NOP program. Demeter also has many clients who, while not Biodynamic certified, have chosen Stellar as their NOP organic certifier.
Demeter in Conversion
The Demeter “in conversion” mark specifies that a farm is in the process to converting to the Biodynamic standard. It must be able to qualify within a 3-year time period and is required to five qualification steps within that period. To learn more, visit the Demeter site.