Eat them pure: delicious tasty bananas with a holistic touch
People all over the world are becoming increasingly aware that we need to take care of our natural resources, including those used for food production. Most people today are familiar with organic farming, the production of food without the use of pesticides, herbicides or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Biodynamic farming, which is considered the most sustainable form of agriculture, is less well known to the general public. It stands for consistently organically grown food produced in harmony with nature, following a holistic, ecological and ethical approach to agriculture.
We take you to Finca Laguna Salada, one of the first biodynamic Demeter-certified banana plantations in the Dominican Republic, and tell you how biodynamic farming has positively influenced the company ecologically, socially and economically.
Positive ecological and social impact
Demeter is the standard when it comes to biodynamic agriculture. Certification makes visible, tangible and measurable that a company works according to the standard. Licence holders can be found in all corners of the world; for example chocolate producers in Ecuador, tea plantations in India, producers of medicinal herbs in Egypt or meat and wool producers in New Zealand.
Finca Laguna Salada in the Dominican Republic has an area of 81.25 ha, of which 70.56 are in production. Since 2008, the company has been practising biodynamic agriculture and exporting to international markets. According to Jose Joaquín de Jesús Almonte Bueno, agronomist and owner of Finca Laguna Salada, the Demeter standard is "An important guideline for the development of an agriculture aimed at the enrichment of the soil and the natural vitality of crops and farms. But it also takes care of people and other living things. The regulations have undergone a series of changes which have enabled us to work with better and clearer guidelines on biodynamic agriculture, the use of biodynamic preparations and what the current international market demands."
Jose continues: "The benefits of applying the Demeter standard is the development of sustainable, environmentally friendly and self-sufficient crops. This is very clear in the definition of each criterion used and an ideal guide for us to develop and obtain bananas of the highest standard and quality. Our bananas represent a segment of premium fruit that is part of a market with high demand."
In addition to the ecological aspects, Demeter certification also has a positive social impact. Juan says: "Finca Laguna Salada has developed into a harmonious company, with very committed employees and the will to overcome challenges. We create jobs that contribute to the progress of the region and the country."
Besides Demeter certification, the company has also obtained FairTrade and GLOBALG.A.P. certification — both organic labels that are much sought after by countries in Europe, Asia and the US.
Biodynamic agriculture: a way of life
Quality organic products from biodynamic agriculture certified to the Demeter standard are labelled with the Demeter logo. However, Demeter is not just a brand: it is a worldwide movement of farmers, manufacturers and researchers who apply and value biodynamic farming methods according to a holistic, ecological and ethical approach. As a community, together they have developed common standards.
Jose advises companies interested in Demeter certification to do so out of conviction and not just for purely economic reasons. He concludes: "Becoming a biodynamic farmer or processor requires not only compliance with standards, but also a change in approach and understanding. Biodynamic agriculture is more than a sustainable, environmentally friendly production system with special attention to the care and preservation of the soil. It is a way of life!"
Plants, animals and soil are one
Demeter stands for consistent organic food produced in harmony with nature. Agriculture, man, plant, animal and soil are seen as a whole. Farmers shape the landscape in a conscious, liveable and sustainable way. That is why Demeter farmers keep exactly as many animals as they can feed on their land. The animals’ manure in turn creates a living soil in which the best food for humans thrives. Because of its living cycle economy, Demeter agriculture is considered the most sustainable form of land management and goes beyond the requirements of the EU Organic Regulation.
Demeter certified companies do not use genetic manipulation, synthetic chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. They treat their land and animals with care. The earth is seen as a living organism and the farm itself is seen as a living organism. This contributes to more diversity and a high quality of food.
Demeter inspection by Kiwa
The internationally recognized Demeter label is represented on every continent. Demeter is open to all farmers and food producers who wish to enter a larger organic market and at the same time want to have an anthroposophical and scientific understanding of humans and nature.
Demeter certification consists of a regular inspection and review process according to the International Demeter Biodynamic Standard, which is carried out by different organisations throughout the world, including Kiwa. We perform Demeter certification audits as part of official EU organic audits; this allows access to a larger organic market. The actual certification process is carried out exclusively by Demeter Union.
For more information about our Demeter inspection service, have a look at this page and contact us!
Becoming a biodynamic farmer or processor not only requires compliance with standards, it also involves a change in approach and understanding.Jose Joaquín de Jesús Almonte Bueno