After a short, serious illness Thomas Schmid passed away on 13th April 2022. The Demeter community mourns the loss of its friend, long-time chairman of the Demeter e.V. supervisory board, architect of the Biodynamic Federation Demeter International, a fighter for the biodynamic and mediator for the social, but above all a wonderful human being.
Engaged from the beginning
After studying agriculture, Thomas Schmid, born in 1956, founded the Heggelbach farm community with his then wife Ulrike and two other families. The intensive community culture enabled continuous farm development, with Thomas frequently contributing new ideas and innovative projects. The land was transferred to a non-profit organisation, Mercurialis e.V.. The farm’s growth required new marketing channels and so Thomas was one of the pioneers who developed sustainable relationships even with conventional supermarket structures. He also did pioneering work in the energy sector. A prototype wood gasifier for electricity-heat coupling based on wood chips and an agro-photovoltaic system were tested in Heggelbach.
At an early stage, he wanted to introduce the next generation to the responsibility of the growing community business. In doing so, it was essential for him to create pioneering situations for the “newcomers”. He was able to pass on the experience he gained in this way – also from 30 years of community experience – in his advisory role, which he took up after the handover of responsibility of the farm. Thomas was active from the end of 2012 until 2019 in the Advisory Service for Organic Agriculture Ulm and then in the Demeter Advisory Association as an impulse-giving advisor for farm development and social processes. With humour, appreciation and a sense of proportion, he accompanied people on farm and individual development paths.
His moderation skills and his attention to process shaped his work. For example, he was involved in the Workshop for Enterprise Development, in “wir kooperieren” (we cooperate) and, together with friends, founded the Kulturland-Genossenschaft (cultural land cooperative), an alternative land trust, in order to secure land for ecological farms in a way that is oriented towards the common good.
He also contributed to the founding of the Lake Constance Alliance, which is an expression of the increased self-confidence of Demeter farmers there. Within this framework, he was intensively involved in the development of the farm talks. In the Bauerngemeinschaft Bodensee (Lake Constance Farmers’ Association), he was largely responsible for new regional marketing channels.
Involvement in the Demeter Community
Thomas Schmid became involved in the Demeter national association as a delegate for the Baden-Württemberg region and as a treasurer. From 2014, he was a valued member of the association’s supervisory board and its chairman for six years. Persistent in the cause and with great empathy, he accompanied the federal boards. Thomas Schmid also volunteered as a member of the supervisory board of the Forschungsring.
At the international level he was a member of the board of the IBDA, the International Biodynamic Association. Within this framework he was one of the architects of the new international umbrella organisation that brought together Demeter International and the IBDA in the new Biodynamic Federation Demeter International. He was particularly committed to overcoming the Eurocentric perspective in the biodynamic movement and to creating a federation based on solidarity and subsidiarity, in which all biodynamic impulses are understood and promoted worldwide. He was able to bring this vision to life as chair of the Federation’s Membership Committee working with many new member organisations. In particular, as project leader of the KVP project in Columbia he and his wife Petra Derkzen, were able to set social and biodynamic impulses for the whole Latin American continent.
The guiding principle for him was the attitude of encouraging other people to recognise and train their abilities and to become active themselves through questions and moderation. Last but not least, Thomas was characterised by his sense of humour and his impatience. In addition to the many operational innovations that Thomas brought forward, his central question in life was ultimately that of social interaction.
The Demeter community will keep him as a shining example in its hearts and actions and will honour his memory!
Contact: Secretariat, Biodynamic Federation Demeter International