ANDREAS WELTE was born in 1956 in Stuttgart in his native Germany and is now based in New Zealand. Despite not coming from an agricultural family Andreas became NZ’s first biodynamic farm consultant, specialising in certified organic and biodynamic viticulture, horticulture and animal husbandry. His company Sustain-Ability Ltd is located in Nelson, at the top of New Zealand’s south island (contact details below).
BACKGROUND Andreas Welte’s father was a doctor and his mother a professional opera singer. Andreas attended a Steiner (Waldorf) kindergarten in his native Germany but told me in 2011 that “this was not what made me interested in biodynamics.” In his summer holidays aged 16-18 he worked night shifts on the assembly lines of Mercedes Benz and Porsche to earn extra money. Then he did farm jobs looking after horses, orchards and two rows of vines, enough to make 2 barrels of wine. He decided to study agricultural science. Before embarking on his study he worked one year on Pete Bläser’s Demeter certified biodynamic educational training farm in Emmenthal, Switzerland (13 members of staff from all over the world), milking and making cheese, butter, quark, and tending vegetables. Andreas then worked on an organic (bison) farm in Canada, followed by a stint with a producer of conventional (agricultual) seed in Rottweil, Germany. Having set out to see how the three farming systems compared (organic, Biodynamic, conventional) Andreas concluded he did not want to grow food using “poison”.
Andreas graduated from Nürtingen University in 1981 with a degree in agricultural science after having also attended Göttingen and Stuttgart-Hohenheim Universities. He worked as a consultant for organics and Biodynamics for Germany’s ministry of agriculture between 1984-1987. In 1988 Andreas left Germany and moved to New Zealand “for the better opportunities to practice the theory of ecologically, economically and socially sustainable farming.” He began managing his own farm/orchard near Motueka called Marahau Fruit Garden. This has been Demeter certified (registration #78) since 1992 and produces apples, pears, apricots, table grapes and breeding cattle.
SUSTAIN-ABILITY LTD CONSULT Welte founded his consultancy Sustain-Ability Consult in 1999. “I am running the consultancy as an advisory and input supply for management methods which use renewable inputs for the benefit of the health of soil, plant, animal and human user/consumer. I am working in the field of animal husbandry by using veterinary homoeopathy and advising on management plans where the natural habitat functions of the ecological needs of the animals are taken care for. I apply quality research with fruit, juice and wine by using crystallization and gravity picture methods which visualize the formative forces in the tested substance and indicate health quality and shelf life. I am working with the NZ biodynamic consultancy group, with COWNZ and with IFC (International Federation of Organic Farming Consultants) as a NZ delegate,” he says.
CONTACT Sustain-Ability Ltd Consult, Ecogrape service, PO Box 64, Motueka 7161, New Zealand / Tel+64 03.527.8095 Email awelte [at] clear.net.nz / www.EcoGrape.com