The Pfeiffer Center internship, a full-time, one-year program that combines academic work with hands-on field experience, is intended for individuals who want to broaden and deepen their understanding of organic sustainable agriculture and the biodynamic approach.
A strong emphasis is placed on the study and practice of biodynamic principles and techniques, including agricultural handwork, plant care, pest management, making and using compost, bed preparation, crop rotation, succession and companion planting, greenhouse work, beekeeping, orchard management, and more. Those with the interest and ability can also work with our team of draft horses, both in animal care and fieldwork.
Working alongside Pfeiffer Center Program Director Mac Mead and Head Gardener Megan Durney, Pfeiffer Center interns participate in planning, growing, and harvesting vegetables and herbs; making and marketing teas, salves, and herb salts; and working with the business and social aspects of bringing crops to market through our CSA and farm stand.
Interns attend all courses and workshops of the Pfeiffer Center, including the One-Year Part-Time Training in Biodynamics. A weekly seminar on Rudolf Steiner’s agriculture lectures anchors the academic work. Interns may also work with school and camp groups attending our children’s programs.
The internship’s focus on agricultural handwork and working with draft horses develops skills that are invaluable when applied to larger-scale agriculture. The academic opportunities that are integral to the internship afford our interns an unusually balanced life of work and study. The focus on biodynamics leads to a heightened understanding of issues of quality which are generally not given sufficient attention in today’s agriculture.
About the Pfeiffer Center
Located 30 miles northwest of New York City, the Pfeiffer Center teaches and spreads awareness of biodynamics, a method of agriculture and land care that goes beyond conventional notions of “sustainability” to demonstrate actual improvements in soil vitality and in the taste and nutritional quality of produce.
Following indications given by Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925), biodynamics combines insightful techniques for building up healthy soil with a renewed awareness of all the forces at work in the farm organism: among and between the soil, plants, animals, and humans, as well as the cosmos itself. Steiner taught that how we work the land and obtain our food must be both thoroughly practical and grounded in an awareness of the unseen forces that act upon the material environment around us.
Working with a land base of 9 acres (3 acres in cultivation), Pfeiffer Center staff and interns run a small-scale biodynamic farm. Our work includes raising and marketing produce, herbs and flowers; operating a small CSA; seed saving; making and working with compost according to biodynamic principles; and caring for and working with our draft horses and honeybees. The ongoing work of developing a biodynamic farm individuality is the basis for all our educational work.
Our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) connects us to a movement, rooted in biodynamics, that fosters strong connections between farms and the communities they serve. We also serve our neighbors through our weekly farm stand and annual plant sale, and we regularly donate produce to our local food pantry.
The Pfeiffer Center is located in the Threefold community, which is home to programs and institutions inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner that teach and promote forward-thinking practices in education, agriculture, the arts, spirituality, and social life, including Green Meadow Waldorf School, Eurythmy Spring Valley, Sunbridge Institute, the Fellowship Community, Duryea Farm and the Hungry Hollow Co-op.
Interns work and interact with many people every day; the internship is a social rather than a solitary experience. Candidates must be physically fit, and willing and able to do a wide variety of tasks. Some gardening experience and familiarity with biodynamics is helpful but not necessary. Most helpful are an open mind and a positive disposition. Students in education, agriculture, environmental sciences, and related fields are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be US citizens or legal residents.
Internships last twelve months. Interns typically work 40 to 50 hours per week, with four weeks of vacation in December and early January. Most workshops take place on Saturdays, and there are also farm tasks on weekends. Interns are expected to attend and support all offered workshops. Summer-only internships are not usually available.
An application form, medical form, and personal interview are required. A work-along of one or two days is often part of application process. There is a $10 application fee. Follow these links to download the Application and medical form (PDF). Applications are accepted year-round. Starting dates are flexible.
For more information about the internship or the application process, please call 845-352-5020 x120, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Qualified interns are provided with a room in Holder House, a 40-room student dormitory on campus, and produce in season. Some part-time work in the Threefold community may be available. No stipend is provided.
The Pfeiffer Center is a Participating Mentor Farm and a Participating Classroom Study Program within the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program. Click here for more information.