Workshops & Events

The Agriculture Course:
An Intensive Study of the Origins
and Future of Biodynamics

2018 Focus: White Oak & Chamomile
as Biodynamic Preparations and Healing Plants

With Mac Mead,
Jean-David Derreumaux, Megan Durney,
Harald Hoven, Dr. Steven Johnson,
& Deb Soule

January 12-15, 2018
$375 / $195 Apprentices (includes five meals)

The Pfeiffer Center's 2018 midwinter intensive study of biodynamics offers participants an in-depth examination of two plants used in making biodynamic preparations: white oak and chamomile. Through a combination of lectures, artistic activities, practical experiences, observation exercises, and conversation we will investigate what qualities give these humble plants their powerful medicinal healing powers.

This long weekend is truly a unique educational and social opportunity to broaden and deepen your understanding of the role of biodynamics in the development of humanity and agriculture. Join us!

Schedule

  Friday, 1/12 Saturday, 1/13 Sunday, 1/14 Monday, 1/15
7:30-8:30   Late Registration
Breakfast
(pay as you go)
Breakfast
(pay as you go)
Breakfast
(pay as you go)
8:30-8:45   Singing Singing Singing
8:45-9:00   Introduction
Megan
Introduction
Megan
Introduction
Megan
9:00-10:45   Meet the Chamomile: Small Group Observations
Jean-David & Steven
Deb & Megan
Harald & Mac
Meet the Oak: Small Group Observations
Jean-David & Steven
Deb & Megan
Harald & Mac
Meet the Chamomile and Oak: Small Group Observations
Jean-David & Steven
Deb & Megan
Harald & Mac
10:45-11:15   Break Break Break
11:15-11:30   Large Group Sharing Large Group Sharing  
11:30-12:30   Chamomile and Oak in the Agriculture Course
Mac
The Calcium/Silica Polarity in Nature and Healing
Steven
Closing Gathering
12:30-1:00   Participant Introductions Chamomile & Oak slide show  
1:00-2:30   Lunch at Threefold Café Lunch at Threefold Café Lunch at Threefold Café
2:30-3:30   Chamomile as a Compost Preparation
Harald & Mac
Oak as a Compost Preparation
Harald & Mac
 
3:30-3:45   Break Break  
3:45-4:45   Chamomile as a Healing Plant
Deb, Jean-David & Steve
Oak as a Healing Plant
Deb, Jean-David & Steve
 
4:45-5:45   Artistic Activity Artistic Activity  
6:00-7:30 Registration, Dinner (pay as you go) Dinner at Threefold Café Dinner at Threefold Café  
Evening 7:00
Introducing the Themes of the Conference
All presenters
8:00
Performance by Eurythmy Spring Valley
7:00
Open Space Conversation with
Thea Maria Carlson
 

The schedule is subject to change.

Faculty

Mac Mead has farmed and gardened biodynamically for nearly forty years. As a co-worker at the Fellowship Community beginning in 1975, Mac learned biodynamic methods directly from former co-workers of biodynamic pioneer Ehrenfried Pfeiffer. Mac has gardened and farmed on every scale, from handwork to field-scale vegetables, tended an orchard, and managed dairy cows. Mac was the resident farmer at the Fellowship Community's Duryea Farm from 1997 until 2005, and has been the Pfeiffer Center's Program Director since 2007.

Jean-David Derreumaux has been engaged in agriculture and biodynamics for many years. At Camphill Village Copake, NY (1986-2004) and The Center for Discovery in Harris, NY (2005-16), his work focused on developing healing gardens using medicinal plants. In 2017 he joined Churchtown Dairy in Hudson, NY, where he is developing healing gardens and landscapes as well as growing high-quality biodynamic medicinal plant material for other enterprises to use in making plant-based medicines.

Megan Durney came to the Pfeiffer Center as an intern in 2007, following stints as a WWOOFer and post-Katrina AmeriCorps volunteer. As the Pfeiffer Center's Head Gardener, Megan trains and supervises interns, directs the creation of each year's planting calendar, manages produce sales (including the Pfeiffer Center's CSA and farm stand), and directs production of Pfeiffer Center herb salt, teas and salves. She also conducts the Neighbor to Neighbor afterschool program.

Harald Hoven is the founder (1987) and director of Raphael Garden at the Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, CA, where he teaches many biodynamic farming and gardening classes. He manages Raphael Garden's 70-member, 50-week CSA, as well as its large seed-saving operation. Harald is a founder of the member-run Biodynamic Association Northern California (BDANC).

Steven M. Johnson, DO is a well-known clinician and educator in the fields of anthroposophic, integrative, and osteopathic nedicine. He began working with medicinal plants on a biodynamic farm at the age of 18 and he has been active in the cultivation and pharmacy of medicinal plants for the last twenty years. He completed his medical training as Chief Resident of Internal Medicine at the University of Massachusetts, and is currently President of the Physicians Association for Anthroposophical Medicine.

Deb Soule began organic gardening and studying medicinal herbs at age 16 alongside medical herbalist Mary Bove. She manages Avena Botanicals' Demeter-certified biodynamic gardens and is a frequent guest lecturer at conferences and an instructor for botany students, garden clubs, and medical practitioners. She is the author of The Woman's Handbook of Healing Herbs and How to Move Like a Gardener.

Artistic Activities

Artistic activities are integral to the midwinter intensive experience. This year, participants will choose from watercolor painting with Martha Loving, drawing with Yumiko East, or eurythmy with Brigida Baldszun.

Suggested Reading

Friedrich Benesch and Klaus Wilde, Silica, Calcium, and Clay.

Rudolf Hauschka, The Nature of Substance.

Manfred Klett, Principles of Biodynamic Spray And Compost Preparations.

Karl König, Earth and Man.

Rudolf Steiner, Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture (Gardner/Creeger translation), Lectures 1, 4, and 5.

Meals

The course fee includes five meals provided by Threefold Café: lunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday plus lunch on Monday. In addition, the nearby Hungry Hollow Co-op Natural Foods Market serves organic take-out, and there are many restaurants within driving distance.

Housing

If you need housing, you must make separate arrangements. Rooms are available in our dormitory, Holder House; in homes of community residents; and in nearby hotels. For housing information, please click here.

Registration

Please note: This is not an introductory course. Participants are expected to be familiar with Rudolf Steiner's Agriculture lectures and to have some working knowledge of biodynamics.

Course fee: $375; Farm Apprentices pay just $195. (The course fee includes five meals: Saturday and Sunday lunch and dinner, Monday lunch.) Financial aid: Farmers, apprentices, and BDA members are encouraged to apply to the Biodynamic Association's scholarship fund.

Registration: To register on line, click here. Prefer to pay by check? Click here to download a printable registration form (PDF).


Begin a Vegetable Garden

With Mac Mead
Saturday, April 14, 9:00am-5:00pm
$95

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.


Conscious Beekeeping:
Special Session for Beginners

With Bill Day
Friday, April 27, 2:00-5:30pm
$55

This half-day orientation for beginning beekeepers will cover: Basic biology of the honeybee colony; rhythms of the year and the beekeeper’s role in the life of the hive; a comparison of Langstroth, top bar and Warré hives; siting your hives; and the basics of working with bees.

Weather permitting, we will visit the Pfeiffer Center’s apiary, where we'll open a hive and illuminate topics discussed in the classroom.

Beginning beekeepers who plan to attend the Conscious Beekeeping workshop on Saturday, April 28 (see 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 the Pfeiffer Center’s beekeeper and beekeeping instructor. He also keeps bees at Bluefield Farm in Blauvelt, NY.

Click here to register.


Conscious Beekeeping:
Practical Organic Approaches for
Healthy Bees and Growing Apiaries

With Bill Day
Saturday, April 28, 9:00am-5:00pm
$95

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 Varroa mites, scant forage, and scarce high-quality package bees and nucs.

What can we do to help our bees thrive and flourish? 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;
• Managing Varroa;
• 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 the Pfeiffer Center’s beekeeper and beekeeping instructor. He also keeps bees at Bluefield Farm in Blauvelt, NY.

Click here to register.


How Are My Bees?
Understanding and Meeting
Your Bees’ Midsummer Needs

With Bill Day
Saturday, July 28, 9:00am-5:00pm
$95

The height of summer can be a challenging time of year for the bees. Many locales experience a dearth of forage, the varroa mite is flourishing, and many hives are rebuilding after swarming or natural queen succession. Meantime, winter is approaching — faster than you think.

This workshop will focus on midsummer tasks every beekeeper should have in mind to ensure healthy hives and successful overwintering. Topics covered will include: Assessing hive health; when to super, and when to take off boxes; harvesting honey; assessing honey stores, and knowing when and how to feed; monitoring and managing varroa; management options for weak hives; and more. There will be ample time for questions and discussion.

Weather permitting, much of the day will be spent outside in the Pfeiffer Center’s apiary, where techniques discussed in the classroom will be demonstrated.

Bill Day first learned beekeeping from Gunther Hauk as an intern at the Pfeiffer Center in 2001-02. He is the Pfeiffer Center’s beekeeper and beekeeping instructor. He also keeps bees at Bluefield Farm in Blauvelt, NY.

Click here to register.

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Prefer to pay by check? Click here to download a printable registration form.


Questions? Directions to the Pfeiffer Center, information about housing, and more can be found at this page.

Need more help? Call the Pfeiffer Center (845-352-5020 x120) M-F, 8:30am-4:30pm, or email us at info@pfeiffercenter.org.


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