Internships

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.

Qualifications

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.

Time Frame

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.

Application Process

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 info@pfeiffercenter.org.

Compensation

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.

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Apply today!
Intern positions become available throughout the year and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Please click on the links to download the Application and the Student Medical Form. Questions? Call 845-352-5020 x120, or e-mail us.

Apprenticeship Credit
The Pfeiffer Center is a Participating Mentor Farm in the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program (NABDAP), a structured training sponsored by the Biodynamic Association. Pfeiffer Center interns fulfill their apprenticeship classroom study requirement by attending the One-Year Part-Time Training, and can complete 12 months of hands-on training in the course of their internship.


Former Interns Say . . .

“Megan and Mac work very hard to create a balance between the practical farm work and the teaching/study component. Throughout the year we were able to learn about growing vegetables, caring for horses, and all that maintaining a small CSA and farm stand entails, as well as studying Steiner’s Agriculture course and attending the Year Long Training, where many aspects of biodynamics are demonstrated and taught. We were able to have a deeper understanding of why as opposed to just what and how. . . .

“On top of this, one of the things I feel the most fortunate to have taken away from this program, is how to live and work in community. . . . So much of farming is about understanding and maintaining an eye towards the social human element, about how to work and live with others and how to create and maintain a hygienic thriving community. This was conveyed and encouraged throughout my time at the Pfeiffer Center.”

— Kelli Brennan, 2016-17

“I most value having had the opportunity to work and learn at the scale of handwork and horse work. This small scale allowed for a more gradual introduction into the garden and gave time and space to ask lots of questions and get instruction. . . . Many farmers who work with helpers are not able to devote much time to training, sharing experience and answering questions. Mac, Megan, and the many teachers who round out the year-long biodynamic training shared so much knowledge and wisdom. . . .

“I’m now tasked with training two 2-year-old Suffolks. Then there’s manuring, composting, making potting soil — I've had the opportunity to bring a lot of that experience to the farm where I live and I've been put in charge of composting here. So I’m still turning piles by hand, as big as I possibly can!”

— Josh Smith, 2011-12

“As time goes by, what resonates with me is the relationships, the connections I made while I was a Pfeiffer Center intern. The soil will never be just a growing medium for me again now that I have an awareness of the cosmic influences and the individuality of the farm. This is true also in regard to my sense of the connection between the spirit in myself, my fellow human beings and the earth. In these difficult times I am thankful for that.

— MaryAnn Martinez,
2011-12