What is Demeter?

Demeter is a world wide certification system used to verify to the consumer that food or product has been produced by biodynamic methods. Biodynamic New Zealand is the certifier in New Zealand and registered Demeter as a certification trademark in 1984. Information is collected annually from the operators (farmers and processors) which a committee of assessors then reviews to decide whether to grant certification. The Demeter Standards are a published statement of the allowed and the required practices for certified biodynamic operators. A copy can be purchased here or downloaded from the link here.

Demeter products

The Biodynamic Federation Demeter International, the regulator of Demeter certification worldwide, maintains an on-line database of Demeter certified operators and their products. You can access it here. You can see the list of New Zealand operators who have given permission for their details to be published on this website here.

Some requirements of Demeter Certification

The points below are just an outline – refer to standards for exact requirements.

  • Have and maintain an organic certification to a Demeter New Zealand approved certification, currently BioGro or Organic Farm New Zealand.
  • Stopping use of synthetic water soluble fertilisers, and most synthetic pesticides, herbicides and animal remedies.
  • Application of biodynamic preparation 500 – preferably twice annually.
  • Use of the biodynamic compost preparations in all fermented organic manures. including compost and liquid brews.
  • A plan for converting the whole farm within five years.
  • For processing:
    • Raw produce certified Demeter or In Conversion to Demeter
    • Appropriate processing methods to preserve biodynamic quality.
    • Fail safe systems to prevent mixing in of uncertified produce.
  • The International Demeter Biodynamic Standard has information on labelling which particularly governs the use of the Demeter co-brand symbol, the main Demeter logo used internationally.

How to get certification

If you are not already a member you will need to join Biodynamics New Zealand .

  • Learn and practice biodynamic methods on your farm.
  • Read the Guide to Demeter Forms for Demeter Applicants and Licensees.
  • Obtain a copy of the Demeter production standards from the shop or download from the link.
  • Complete the application documents as described in the Guide to Demeter Forms.  Copies and further information is available on the page Applying for Demeter Certification.

What does it cost?

  • Annual inspection and licensing fee is $460 in the first year and $420 after that, including GST.  Applies to both farmers and processors.
  • Levies are paid on all produce sold as Demeter or In Conversion to Demeter.
  • Levies are ½% on sales in first year of certification, 1% after that.
  • Farmer’s levy is based on farm-gate value at time of sale. Processor’s levy is based on value added.
  • Wine grapes are levied in a different manner: There is a levy of $80 per hectare for the first 30 hectares of grapes, and $10 per hectare on areas beyond that. Finished wine labelled Demeter is levied at 1c per litre.
  • Levies for wine and wine grapes are half the above rates in the first year of certification.

For further information please contact:

Joanne Turner, Secretary, Demeter New Zealand, PO Box 356, Martinborough 5741, New Zealand Phone 0-6-306 8582, email: