BIODYNAMIC vs. ORGANIC
Following Rudolf Steiner’s agricultural lectures of 1924, Biodynamic farming took hold in Europe.
In the 1940’s, English Baron Lord Northbourne, agricultural professor at Oxford and Biodynamic farmer at his family’s estate in Kent, coined the term “organic” from Steiner’s view of “the farm as organism.” In the 1950’s, influenced by the rise of Biodynamic farming in Europe, the American J.I Rodale popularized the term organic in his publication “Organic Gardening.”Because of their allied history, both methods shared a focus on soil health, condemned the use of synthetic chemicals, and encouraged the use of compost, cover crops, and holistic pest and weed management.
CERTIFICATION SYSTEM VERSUS REGULATORY PROGRAM
Demeter was formed in Europe soon after Steiner’s lectures to promote Biodynamic agriculture in Europe through education and certification. In the US Demeter was founded in 1985 as a nonprofit, and obtained the certification mark “Biodynamic®” soon after. In order for a farm or agriculturally based product to refer to itself as “Biodynamic” it must have obtained certification through Demeter. This certification system has maintained, as its underlying philosophy, Steiner’s view of the farm as a living organism.
In 2002, with the growth of organic labeling in products across the country, the USDA ruled that a base market definition was needed, and launched the National Organic Program (NOP) to define organic standards and enforce them through federal law. There are national organic regulatory programs in Europe, Japan, Canada and other countries around the world.
KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NOP ORGANIC* AND DEMETER BIODYNAMIC®
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