Demeter Training: Pilot Project in Lower Saxony for Accreditation as an alternative School

Biodynamic agriculture is a pioneer of organic farming – as early as 1924, Rudolf Steiner laid the foundation for this new holistically oriented economy with several lectures at farmers’ request. Today, their products marketed under the brand name Demeter are highly reputed by consumers because they meet comprehensive and strict sustainability criteria. There is also great interest among young agricultural workers. Jakob Ganten, Manager of the Netzwerk Biodynamische Bildung (Biodynamic Training Network) founded in 2019, explains: “We have twice as many applicants in some regions throughout Germany than there are training positions.” Since education and further training have always been in the form of independent vocational training offers, it is particularly important to group the various stakeholders. Their goal is close collaboration in designing the content as well as financing the offers.

A pilot project funded by SAGST is now seeking state accreditation of the ‘independent Demeter training’ in Lower Saxony as an alternative school. “Such a step would be a milestone for the biodynamic movement”, says SAGST project manager Christian Wüst. “It promises not only much more solid and reliable financing, but also broader public acceptance.” However, to achieve such accreditation, the existing training must be adapted to the given framework. He explains: “This concerns curriculum, training documents and examination regulations as well as internal processes and the teaching staff qualifications. Another key requirement is the assurance of quality through external certification.” Three Demeter sites in Osnabrück, Hannover and Celle are being considered as possible locations. If state accreditation were to be granted, other biodynamic training centres throughout Germany could build on the experience of the pilot project and also endeavour to do so.