The Pfeiffer Center’s gardens and fields are our classrooms and our laboratories. Located at the site of the first biodynamic farm in North America, the Pfeiffer Center encompasses a variety of spaces that support our teaching and research in biodynamic food production, adult education, children’s programs, and draft horse work.
In 1926, on the site of the present-day Pfeiffer Center garden, the founders of Threefold Farm began growing biodynamic produce for Manhattan's Threefold Vegetarian Restaurant. For decades thereafter, the garden's produce fed attendees of Threefold's popular Summer Conferences, and Ehrenfried Pfeiffer conducted his research here from the 1940s until his death in 1961. Today, the Pfeiffer Center garden comprises 70 beds where we raise vegetables, herbs and flowers with hand tools. In our work and our teaching, we emphasize the value of agricultural handwork, which can serve as an excellent foundation for farming and gardening on any scale.
Also on the property are a small orchard (apples, pears, peaches and quince), berry bushes, a greenhouse, a wood-fired bread oven, the dye garden of the Fiber Craft Studio, compost piles, a self-serve seasonal farm stand, and bees.
Less than half a mile from the garden, we raise field vegetables, hay, grains and bee forage on Molina Field, Pine Field and Horse Field. It is on these four acres of fields that we work with and pasture Captain and Paris, our team of Haflinger draft horses.
Midway between the garden and Molina Field is the Red Barn, site of our CSA pickup, metal shop, hayloft, and storage.
In our field and garden work, we strive to balance the goals of production, enhancing soil fertility, and creating spaces that support our educational work. Along with neighboring Duryea Farm of the Fellowship Community, we use our work with land and animals to create a farm individuality in a suburban setting.
Mac Mead, Program Director
Mac Mead has been Program Director of the Pfeiffer Center since 2007. He was the resident farmer at the Fellowship Community's Duryea Farm from 1997 until 2005.
Mac began farming biodynamically in 1975, when he had the “privilege and good fortune” to learn biodynamic methods directly from former co-workers of Ehrenfried Pfeiffer at the Fellowship Community. Since then he has raised vegetables on every scale, tended an orchard, managed dairy cows, and worked with draft horses. The core instructor in the Pfeiffer Center’s One-Year Training in Biodynamics, Mac regularly speaks at conferences of the Biodynamic Association, the Northeast Organic Farming Association, and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. In 2016, he was an invited speaker at “The Spirit of Sustainable Agriculture,” a conference of the Harvard Divinity School.
Megan Durney, Head Gardener
Megan Durney joined the Pfeiffer Center as an intern in 2006. She takes a leading role in planning and carrying out each season’s production, and manages the Pfeiffer Center’s CSA and farm stand operations. She has conducted workshops on beekeeping, permaculture, canning and preserving, and biodynamic preparation-making, and she directs the Pfeiffer Center’s Neighbor to Neighbor youth gardening program.
Megan has served on the core planning group for the Biodynamic Association’s national conference, has conducted workshops at BDA national conferences, and has hosted many young farmer meet-ups. Her training in biodynamics included a one-year stint at Raphael Garden in Sacramento, CA, where she studied intensive production gardening and biodynamic seed saving under Harald Hoven.
Christine Zinky, Intern
Christine grew up surrounded by Rudolf Steiner’s work, in school and at home, as her mother was a waldorf teacher. Living in suburban Wisconsin, she didn’t get many chances to try farming or gardening — let alone biodynamics — until she took the agriculture course offered at her high school. After graduating from Youth Initiative she did a bit of farming while traveling, while continuing to search for agricultural learning opportunities. Her sister found the Pfeiffer Center's internship page, and so began the adventure that led her here. By the end of her internship, Christine hopes to have learned how to feed herself off the land and heal the earth.
Courtney Ryan, Intern
Originally from Santa Rosa, California, Courtney has always loved the outdoors, and farming and gardening have intrigued her since childhood. After a life-changing event, she applied to apprentice under Harald Hoven at Raphael Garden in Fair Oaks, California, where she completed the first year of the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program (NABDAP). While at Raphael Garden, Courtney also met Megan Durney and learned about the Pfeiffer Center, where she's now continuing her journey to learn about sustainable agriculture and biodynamics. In her spare time, Courtney enjoys reading, ceramics, swimming, and photography.
Kelli Brennan, Intern
A Bay Area native, Kelli first met biodynamics when her Waldorf high school class visited Live Power Community Farm. After getting a degree in Fine Arts with an Education minor, she started Waldorf teacher training while assisting in a Waldorf kindergarten. After a number of years teaching, Kelli’s interest in quality nutritious food and love for the outdoors led her to contemplate transitioning to farming. A six-month stint back at Live Power Farm gave her a taste of farm life and led her to the Pfeiffer Center internship program. Here she hopes to gain a deep understanding of biodynamic agriculture and how the farm organism can not only serve as the centerpiece for community life but also assist in the healing of individuals and our relationship to the earth.