To arrive at spiritual-scientific methods applicable to agriculture, we need to look at nature, and the spirit’s activity in nature, in its entirety, in its most encompassing dimensions. Materialistic scientists, on the other hand, have increasingly tended to narrow their scope and investigate ever more minute entities . . . . But it is impossible to assess the world of human beings and other living things solely from such narrow perspectives. . . . Today there is an absolutely urgent need to counteract this tendency with a genuine science that can encompass the large-scale cosmic interrelationships.
— Rudolf Steiner, Agriculture (1924)
In 1924, responding to farmers concerned about the declining vitality of their crops, plants and animals in the face of modern agricultural techniques, Rudolf Steiner outlined biodynamics: A modern method of organic agriculture in which each farm is a self-contained organism (with an organism’s powers of self-healing), and the farmer works with life-regulating processes and subtle catalysts to build up healthy soil.
Built on a spiritual understanding of nature and humanity’s relationship to the natural world, biodynamics combines proven 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.
Scenes from the Course
Mac Mead, Director of the Pfeiffer Center, is the principal instructor. Mac has worked with biodynamics since 1975, when he first learned about biodynamic methods from former colleagues of Ehrenfried Pfeiffer at the Fellowship Community. He was resident farmer at Duryea Farm of the Fellowship Community until 2005, and has directed the Pfeiffer Center since 2006.
Jairo Gonzalez is a co-worker and farm work leader at the Fellowship Community in Chestnut Ridge, NY.
Jennifer Greene, Executive Director of the Water Research Institute of Blue Hill, Maine, holds degrees in biology, sculpture and education, and trained at the Institute for Flow Sciences in Germany. Since the 1980’s she has been a pioneer of flow forms in the United States, and continues the pioneering work of Theodor Schwenk in documenting water quality through the “drop picture” method.
Craig Holdrege is a biologist, an educator, and Director of The Nature Institute in Ghent, NY, a research and education organization that pioneers a unique qualitative approach to science. The author of Genetics and the Manipulation of Life: The Forgotten Factor of Context and the editor of The Dynamic Heart and Circulation, Craig has written many articles on genetic engineering, genetics, and a holistic, Goethean approach to science.
Steffen Schneider is Director of Farm Operations at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent, New York, where he is an active participant in the farm’s operations, as well as educational and outreach programs, including the Institute for Mindful Agriculture. He currently serves as president of the board of the Biodynamic Association.
Sherry Wildfeuer is the editor of the Stella Natura Biodynamic Planting Calendar, a co-worker at Camphill Village in Kimberton Hills, PA, and a long-time active member of the Anthroposophical Society and its Agriculture Section.
Hugh Williams is the owner of Threshold Farm in Philmont, NY. He has been growing fruit using biodynamic methods on a commercial scale for 30 years.
Certificate and Credit Information
Participants in the full course will receive a certificate of completion.
Participants in this course are eligible for classroom study credit in the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program (NABDAP) of the Biodynamic Association. To learn more, click here.
The Pfeiffer Center cooperates with colleges and universities offering credit for internship programs or work on special projects. It is the responsibility of the student to secure credit from the college.
Registration for the 2015-16 training has closed. Join our email list and be the first to know about the 2016-17 course.