Begin a Vegetable Garden
With Mac Mead
Saturday, April 1, 9:00am-5:00pm
This workshop is for anyone who wants to start a vegetable garden, incorporating basic skills for new gardeners. Topics covered will include: planning the garden (what goes where and when), preparing the soil, fencing the garden, planting and raising seedlings, companion planting, making and using compost, and weeding and mulching. Participants will walk away with the information and hands-on experience they need to get started this spring in their own garden.
The general context will be that of organic and biodynamic gardening, although details about specific biodynamic practices will not be included. The workshop is highly recommended for those without previous gardening experience who are interested in attending the Pfeiffer Center's One-Year Part-Time Training in Biodynamics.
Mac Mead has farmed and gardened biodynamically for nearly forty years. As a co-worker at the Fellowship Community from 1975 until 2005, Mac learned biodynamic methods directly from former co-workers of Ehrenfried Pfeiffer. Mac was the resident farmer at the Fellowship Community’s Duryea Farm from 1997 until 2005, and has been Program Director of the Pfeiffer Center since 2007.
Click here to register.
“More Than Honey”
Friday, April 7, 7:30-9:30
Markus Imhoof’s film More Than Honey combines dazzling cinematography, a fascinating cast of beekeepers at work in Europe, Asia and the US, and an ultimately hopeful message about how human beings can heal their relationship with this beautiful and essential animal.
Pfeiffer Center beekeeper Bill Day will introduce the film and lead a discussion afterwards.
“The filming of the bees is exquisite . . . . The cameras let us enter the bees’ world on a level that feels almost voyeuristic. . . . Even if you have no interest in bees I would recommend going to see this film. It’s entertaining simply from a character-based perspective, as well as being visually magnificent.” — Felicity Muth, Scientific American
Location: Threefold Main House Living Room, 285 Hungry Hollow Rd., Chestnut Ridge, NY.
Information: Contact Christa Lynch: 845-352-5020 x122 or email@example.com.
Next Volunteer Day: April 21, 9:00am-12:30pm
On select Fridays from April to November, the Pfeiffer Center welcomes volunteers to pitch in and work along with Mac, Megan, and the interns. It's a great opportunity to get your hands dirty, make new friends, and get a taste of life in the garden.
Upcoming volunteer days are: April 21 & 28, May 12 & 26, June 2 & 23, July 7 & 21, and August 4.
Information: For all the details, please visit this page.
Special Session for Beginners
With Bill Day
Friday, April 28, 2:00-5:30pm
This half-day orientation for beginning beekeepers will cover: A comparison of Langstroth, top bar and Warré hives; the parts of the Langstroth hive, and how they work; choosing an appropriate site for your hives; rhythms of life in the honeybee colony; and the basics of working with bees. Weather permitting, we will visit the Pfeiffer Center’s apiary, where we'll open a hive and demonstrate the techniques discussed in the classroom.
Beginning beekeepers who plan to attend the Conscious Beekeeping workshop on Saturday, April 29 (see listing below) are strongly encouraged to register for this session.
Bill Day first learned beekeeping from Gunther Hauk as an intern at the Pfeiffer Center in 2001-02. He is principal beekeeper at the Pfeiffer Center, and also keeps bees at Blue Field Farm in Blauvelt, NY.
Click here to register.
Practical Organic Approaches for
Healthy Bees and Growing Apiaries
With Bill Day
Saturday, April 29, 9:00am-5:00pm
The growing popularity of small-scale beekeeping is good news for the bees, but it also raises its own set of challenges. Rarely does a small-scale beekeeper encounter Colony Collapse — but every beekeeper must contend with rampant Varroa mites, scant forage, and scarce high-quality package bees and nucs.
Conventional approaches focus on beating back or defeating these challenges, but the search for a silver bullet to every problem seems only to unearth new problems. This workshop approaches the problem from the other side: What can we do to help our bees thrive and flourish in the present-day environment? Starting from an understanding of the honeybee colony as an organism unlike any other found in nature, we will consider:
• Swarming as an expression of the bees’ vitality;
• Healthy rhythms of life in the hive, and how to support them;
• When to intervene and when to let your bees manage on their own;
• Increasing your apiary naturally with splits and swarms while breeding better, locally-adapted queens;
• Alternative hive designs;
• Varroa control through acid treatments and brood interruption;
• And more.
Weather permitting, we'll visit the Pfeiffer Center’s apiary, where techniques discussed in the classroom will be demonstrated.
Beginning beekeepers are strongly encouraged to attend the optional Friday afternoon beginners’ session (see listing above).
Bill Day first learned beekeeping from Gunther Hauk as an intern at the Pfeiffer Center in 2001-02. He is principal beekeeper at the Pfeiffer Center, and he also keeps bees at Blue Field Farm in Blauvelt, NY.
Click here to register.
Pfeiffer Center Plant Sale
Friday, May 19, 9:00am-5:00pm
Saturday, May 20, 9:00am-5:00pm
Sunday, May 21, 9:00am-5:00pm
Don't miss this opportunity to buy beautiful, healthy, biodynamically raised bedding plants for your garden. For eating, you will find all your favorite vegetables and many varieties of tomatoes. For seasoning, we offer a huge variety of annual and perennial herbs: Everything from Anise Hyssop and Basil to Thyme and Summer Savory. And then there are the flowers! Perennials like Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Yarrow, and more, and annuals from Alyssum and Asters to Sunflowers and Zinnias.
Also available will be the Pfeiffer Center's own-made teas and salves, Pfeiffer Center Garden Gold Biodynamic Compost, and more!
If you can, time your visit so you don't miss Special Events like guided tours of the garden, a close encounter with our honeybees, craft activities, and more. Stay tuned!
Every plant and product sold at our sale is raised and made by Pfeiffer Center staff and interns using biodynamic methods, and all proceeds from the plant sale benefit the programs of the Pfeiffer Center.
Location: In the Pfeiffer Center garden, opposite 285 Hungry Hollow Road, Chestnut Ridge, NY; click here for directions.
Farm & Garden Days:
A Hands-On Garden, Farm and Forest Experience
August 14-18 and 21-25
Farm and Garden Days is a small (60 participants), specialized, hands-on farm, garden & nature experience for children ages 6-12. Digging potatoes, picking peas, milking cows, visiting horses and honeybees, making pizza in an outdoor clay oven, and more — with plenty of time for swims, exploring nearby woods and streams, art activities, music and games.
Farm and Garden Days is a collaboration between The Nature Place and The Pfeiffer Center. Activities take place in the Pfeiffer Center’s biodynamic gardens and at neighboring Duryea Farm.
When: August 14-18 and August 21-25, 2017. Camp days are Monday-Friday, 9:00am-4:00pm, with before- and after-camp care available, and children are welcome for either or both weeks. Busing is available from Manhattan.
How much: $850 per week ($1,125 for children coming from New York City; includes daily transportation).
Reserve your child's place in Farm and Garden Days 2017: Click here to enroll online. To learn more about The Nature Place, click here, call 845-356-6477 or, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Practical Training in Biodynamics
Mac Mead, Principal Instructor
With Megan Durney, Bill Day, Bruno Follador, Jairo Gonzalez,
Jennifer Greene, Craig Holdrege, Steffen Schneider,
Sherry Wildfeuer, and Hugh Williams
Registration now open!
Course begins Saturday, September 16
The Pfeiffer Center’s One-Year, Part-Time Practical Training in Biodynamics consists of thirteen full-day workshops beginning in September 2017 and ending in June 2018. Workshop days run from 9:00am to 5:00pm, and feature an engaging mix of classroom talks and field activities. Topics covered include: making and working with the biodynamic preparations • making and working with compost • techniques for soil building • understanding the rhythms of nature and planetary influences on earthly life and growth • best practices in agricultural handwork and pruning • farm animal husbandry • seed saving • biodynamic methods of weed and pest control • the honeybee • and much more.
What our students say . . .
“The course was amazing in so many ways. . . . I always felt so nourished after our workshops. . . . I love the practical but I also love the theory and philosophy that goes into all of it. I am now more in touch with myself as a teacher of children because of this course.”
— A teacher from Pennsylvania
“I loved seeing the progression of the garden through the year, learning to use cover crops on vegetable beds, and thinking about the whole year's plan. I was inspired by the ideas about how to integrate animals with the garden and seeing the farm as an organism. I thought it was so important that Mac stressed the importance of respecting and learning from local farmers, whatever their approach.”
— A teacher from New York, NY
Information: Click here for a complete description of the course and schedule for the year, or apply today!