Dear Demeter family and friends,
After eleven years with Demeter, I will be stepping down at the end of this month.
Some goodbye letters reflect the moment, some reflect the life; this is clearly the latter. My heart is full of fond memories of promoting this amazing agricultural method-- the original and still the best form of regenerative farming-- and warmed by the ongoing potential and promise of biodynamic farming-- that it not only cultivates our soil but also enriches our soul. We should all have deep confidence that biodynamic farming itself, when practiced faithfully, leads its practitioners to also realize a more personal and profound relationship to their world and to themselves.
This work has been very fulfilling for me. What a treat: collaborating with some of the best farmers and wineries and food companies, grocers and brokers and supply chain stakeholders, to foster the adoption of Biodynamic® farming and accelerate the development of healthy and delicious Biodynamic products from farm stands to store shelves. That we have been able to educate the marketplace, dramatically increasing our visibility despite limited resources, is something I'm very proud of, and is a testament to the power of our biodynamic mission.
Some of my fondest memories include producing Demeter's Biodynamic Garden & Lounge at the National Heirloom Festival for four years running. For those of you who didn't join the thousands of visitors who strolled through- the Garden & Lounge featured beautiful demonstration gardens, a really groovy haybale lounge filled with furniture borrowed from the Good Will, and lots of classes and activities for farmers, gardeners, children, and guests of all stripes. It represented the very best of our biodynamic community, and it was also so much fun!
Last year, we founded the two-day International Biodynamic Wine Conference to much acclaim, attracting over 800 wine lovers, writers, farmers, and winemakers that culminated in an incredible Grand Tasting of over 130 wines made from Biodynamic grapes from five countries. The conference was a well-earned moment showcasing the U.S. Biodynamic wine industry within the context of the great wine producing regions of the world.
We have rebuilt the certification program, the beating heart of this organization, to deliver the services our clients deserve and to provide a platform from which growth in certification can occur. I am most grateful to Demeter International for their support through this process, resulting in a deeper connection with our Demeter colleagues around the globe.
We have recently launched three trade groups, comprised of more than sixty-five member wineries, farms and brands, (a full quarter of the Demeter membership) whose project-based collaboration aims to increase consumer education. We look forward to seeing demonstrable results because of the participation of this invigorated group of passionate Biodynamic practitioners.
Perhaps most importantly, Demeter now has an incredible team of talented, intelligent, dedicated, and kind-hearted staff who all contribute to an organizational culture that values mutual respect, teamwork, and a can-do attitude. I am very proud of "my" team, whom I love deeply.
So I leave with confidence that Demeter is now poised for success.
Yet this is no time for complacency. After all, Demeter's vision is to heal the planet through agriculture. Does the biodynamic community, and Demeter which is nestled in it, have a greater responsibility for the development of regenerative organic agriculture across this nation, or is it satisfied with serving its own? We have about 150 Biodynamic farms, several hundred more who proudly practice Steiner's teachings on their farms. But there are 20,000 organic farms; 2M conventional farms. What is our responsibility to them? The practice of agriculture is one of the biggest emitters of carbon, yet can be the most potent remedy for climate change. What is the biodynamic community's responsibility in that? Where is our sense of urgency? What is our strategy?
I wish more than anything to leave you not only with an awareness of all the opportunity, but also a keen sense of urgency and grave responsibility to fully realize the potential of this incredible agricultural method, gifted to humanity almost one-hundred years ago. Our children and our grandchildren are depending on us.
In closing, it has been a profound privilege to serve this community. Thank you so much for providing me with the opportunity all these years to feel truly fulfilled in my work.
President, Demeter USA