2023 - today

Member Certification Committee Stichting Demeter
Besides my work as an entrepreneur, I would like to use my knowledge and experience as a volunteer. To this end, I have joined the DemeterCertification Committee. Here I can contribute from my practical and theoretical knowledge as an auditor, certifier and accreditor in the Demeter world. In the past, I learned a lot from colleagues, committee members and licencees and now I can give some of that back to the organisation and to the Demeter licensees. Here too, the search for an appropriate balance between maintaining Demeter standards and connecting to the underlying Biodynamic principles continues. This is how we work on supported decisions with a human dimension.

2022 - today

Set-up sales procedure
A former colleague has asked me to help streamline the administrative procedure for sales of agricultutral machines. Together with involved staff, we have set-up a lean and simple system, so data entry is minimised and data can be used later.
Article data from the accounting system is loaded into the quotation, so that, at the touch of a button, a quotation can be converted into a sale. The whole process is simple and data is verified at various points.
All clear.

2019 - today

Projects for Biodynamic Federation Demeter International
Demeter International is the umbrella organisation of national Demeter certifiers and Biodynamic organisations. This worldwide network focusses on mutual cooperation in relation to principles, standards and procedures. I am involved in several projects concerning inspection and certification.
Those projects are all related. Inspector training, formatting of inspection forms, assessment of those forms and issuing certificates. In a database all information and all procedures come together. Because of my helicopter view and broad experience, I am capable of providing tools to bring the different projects together. Leading principle is an improvement of the efficiency and effectivity in certification, so that Demeter consumers get what they expect. Thus, Biodynamic farmers are supported in their important work.

2014 - today

Variety of inspections and audits
For Stichting Demeter in the Netherlands I carry out Demeter audits of farmers and processors. In the United Kingdom I have been employed as an inspector.
My capability to carry out inspections in both agriculture and processing makes it interesting. This way, I get a good picture of the cooperation in the production chain. Through knowledge of practice, I am able to carry out inspections in an appropriate way.
Licensees understand the relevance when there are deviations. If requirements are out of proportion for certain licensees, I record this with the certifier. That interaction is essential for me.
In addition, I have extensive experience with the implementation of multiple-day audits of certifying organisations, including witnessed inspections.

2018 - today

Further development Demeter certification scheme in Egypt
COAE is the Demeter certifier in Egypt. In collaboration with EBDA, the Biodynamic association, the cooperation between the organizations and the certification procedures are being further developed. They asked for my support in this process. Additional goal is to be accredited for organics again.
In a joined workshop with the certifiers, related biodynamic organisations and licensees we have focussed on challenges and aims. From that starting point we have streamlined procedures and documents. We have set up a database and the team of certifiers has been trained to work with it.
The people involved are now working out their own methods. If necessary, I ask further questions or give practical tips.

A new project has started: Economy of Love. I was asked to give support in formulating standards on the realms of ecology, ecology, society and culture. The next step is to implement these standards in inspection and certification. My approach is to keep things as simple as possible. By working with development, rather than detailed criteria, the system becomes challenging. Both for licensees and for the organisation. Development can also be guaranteed, by leaving it to the individual licensee what to do. The organisation safeguards the development issues remain within the scope, and that they are actually implemented.
This is an approach I really like!

2007 - today

Peer review project
Inspections on minimum standards are important to guarantee the quality of certification marks. For the Demeter label of biodynamic agriculture and processing, further development is essential. I have participated in various projects and initiatives to support this development.
For Stichting Demeter and in a working group of Demeter International I have worked on methods and forms to work on development from based on inspiration. Central to this are discussions with colleagues (peer reviews). For Demeter Germany and for the Dutch Demeter foundation I moderate such meetings between farmers. Recently, I also started with a group of bakers.
It starts with compact and clear, verifiable requirements. This is then continued with the formulation of principles. Let's say: the essentials of biodynamic agriculture and processing. Farmers and processors determine what they really will do at their farm this year, based on these principles. It is precisely through colleagues who know the practice that participants are addressed about the essence of what is going on at each holding.
The Standards for farms could be reduced from 80 to a 10-page concept. Companies can be monitored quickly and effectively, as only the 10 essential aspects are inspected. The other 170 more general aspects have been reduced to principles.
Based on these principles, each licensee formulates 1-2 development points each year.
The challenge is to find a balance between guarantees and dynamic development.
In the meantime, experiments are being conducted with this method in several countries. Participating farmers are very enthusiastic and strongly motivated to make improvements. Instead of "you have to", you work with "I want to".

2000 - today

Variety of workshops and trainings
Bijeenkomst Slovenië
In various settings I organized and carried out workshops, trainings and presentations. From presentations for farmers and processors to conversion training and international certification workshops.
Some presentations or workshops were parts of a larger program. In other cases, I organized an entire meeting of several days, with presentations by various experts.
For me it is very important that participants are actively involved. I like to use surprising instruments to transfer the intention. For example by using music, to hear and feel what it means when a musician gives his own interpretation of a piece of music.
In my experience, it is important to touch people and encourage them to get clear what they want. That works better than trying to convince others. And it is more fun too!

2021 - 2023

Develop a score system for a milk processor
A milk processor in Germany has asked me to develop a score system, to reflect where the dairy farmers stand in relation to the shared principles. Together with the farmers, we have developed a form to carry out a self-evaluation.
Where do I stand as dairy farmer in relation to animal welfare, milk quality, nature conservation, climate and social management? Dairy farmers choose for themselves, which aspects they want to further develop. There are minimal scores on the various areas, and there is an overall minimum score. The own scores are verrified in the course of the year, as are the intended developments. To test and further improve the system, I will carry out the first audits myself. It is the intention, to come to a differentiated milk price; excelling farmers will receive a higher compensation.

2019 - 2020

Implementation certification EKO quality seal
The EKO seal stands for organic with added value. Farmers, traders, processors, gastronomists and retailers aim for the best and work on deepening and sustainability. I am asked to help organising inspections and certifications.
We started building up an appropriate set of data, so as to get an overview of all companies. Then we will make arrangements with all respective inspection bodies, in order to enable a lean and efficient verification of the added values.
Main target is development that is fully supported by the participants. That means a "bottom-up" approach. Concrete implementation will then be safeguarded!
The procedures are documented, and the organisation continues on her own.

2018 - 2019

Cooperation between farmers
Cooperation between arable farmers and livestock farmers by exchanging manure and fodder is an opportunity to close loops and strengthen both holdings. For a group of Demeter poultry farmers I have supported in finding suitable partner farms for the production of fodder.
We have found suitable arable farms in the Netherlands and in Germany. We are investigating the possibility to apply for subsidy for this project.
In my approach it is all about long term cooperation, where the fodder production fits into the crop rotation of the arable farmers and suitable fodder is produced for the layer hens. Important is the connection between farms and people.
Connections have been made and the livestock farmers are making concrete agreements bythemselves.

2014 - 2018

Development and implementation of risk based inspections
Many certification systems are based on an annual, physical inspection. This project for Demeter Germany showed that too much time was needed for very simple operations, such as pressing small amounts of apple juice. But there was not enough time for complicated processes, such as the production of baby food.
It was my job to organize inspections and certification more efficiently and effectively.
We started collecting data from the companies involved, so that a better picture emerged of exactly what each company was doing. In addition, we have determined spearheads from the principles. This way it can be estimated where the biggest risks for Demeter lie. We have started inspecting some companies several times a year and other companies only every so many years.
All in all, the quality of the inspections and of the certification has greatly improved. The number of findings increased, with 40% fewer inspections. This way time and money can be used where it makes sense.

2000 - 2018

Database solutions
Data are extremely important. Theoretically everything can be programmed, in practice there are big challenges here. Programmers literally speak a different language than the people who have to work with the data. This may be even stronger for people in idealistic organizations.
In the Netherlands, in Germany and in England I have contributed to better and more efficient use of data in databases. In inspection and certification, the smart use of data is essential for working lean and effectively.
I am not a computer programmer, but I understand how the systems work. By making good use of data, the work becomes effective and efficient. For example, data required for certificates can be used to charge fees and to prepare for the inspections. General data can be pre-printed in linked documents, so those data do not have to be passed on and entered several times. Links to a website can be informative and effective.
By making real choices about what data are needed and how they can be used, the databases have been greatly improved. The same data are used for multiple purposes. Double work is avoided. Insight into the certified companies has improved.

2002 - 2014

Setting up an accreditation system
The Accreditation Council of Demeter International is working on the global coordination and safeguarding of the various national certification systems. Strengthening the quality of work was necessary.
My tasks included analyzing certification data, processing audit reports, but also carrying out multiple-day audits and giving workshops.
As a member of this Council I have set up a database, organized annual certification workshops and participated in the design and implementation of the accreditation system. We have also developed practical template forms and checklists to support national certification organizations.
Here I learned a lot about working in different ways, but based on mutually shared principles. Countries are simply different and that often requires a specific approach. We have changed from a more reactive working group to a proactive Council.

1998 - 2013

Setting up a certification system
Together with the Standards Committee, I set up and maintained the standards for biodynamic agriculture with the Demeter brand for the Netherlands. With the Certification Committee I have set up the inspection schemes, checklists and database.
The aim was always to work in a lean and efficient manner and to guarantee the quality of the brand.
It soon became clear that in addition to standards and inspections in biodynamic agriculture and processing development is essential. Certification is not an end in itself, but a means. A means for the licensees to improve themselves and market products under the Demeter mark. Consumers can purchase those products. Traders and retailers provide the connection.
It is precisely this cohesian that has always made it so interesting for me.


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