2022-2023 Schedule

Saturday, September 17, 2022

BIODYNAMICS & EARTH EVOLUTION / AUTUMN TASKS

Mac Mead introduces biodynamics in the context of the spiritual-scientific understanding of earth evolution. In the garden, we do hands-on work with the horn manure preparation, and practice making raised beds and planting cover crops.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

INTRODUCING THE BIODYNAMIC PREPARATIONS

The biodynamic preparations harness life-regulating processes and subtle catalysts to help create conditions for healthy growth. In this class, Mac Mead and Megan Durney lead us in making most of the preparations, and discuss their healing effects on soil and plants.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

SOIL BUILDING, COMPOSTING & SEED SAVING BASICS

Biodynamic composting practices bring vitality to the soil. In the classroom, Mac Mead explores the relationship of soil science and spiritual science. In the garden, we handle composts of different materials and maturities, build compost piles, make potting soil mix, and treat compost piles with the biodynamic preparations. Megan Durney presents hands-on seed saving basics, vital knowledge for the future of our food supply and the health of our farms and communities.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

LARGE ANIMALS & THE FARM ORGANISM

The ideal biodynamic farm is a self-contained individuality to which cows contribute milk, meat, and soil fertility. Kim Pace covers the basics of biodynamic dairy herd management, including rotational grazing and pasture management. The day includes a visit to our herd, cow barn, and dairy, the only one in Rockland County.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

THE INDIVIDUALIZED FARMSCAPE & PRUNING FRUIT TREES

Hugh Williams, one of the best orchardists in the East and a biodynamic farmer for over forty five years, brings his perspective on harnessing the local ecology to cultivate the farm individuality. Also covered: the science and art of pruning fruit trees, including a few hours of pruning the Pfeiffer Center’s orchard under Hugh’s expert guidance.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

LIFE RHYTHMS / SEEING NATURE WHOLE

In the morning, Craig Holdrege explores how to work with the living dynamic qualities of plants and animals to better understand the world around us. In the afternoon, Sherry Wildfeuer, a long-time editor of the Stella Natura planting calendar, explains how the calendar is created, what it tells us, and how we can use it to learn to work with, rather than against, nature’s rhythms and forces.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

COSMIC FORCES IN RELATION TO NUTRITIONAL QUALITIES / GREENHOUSE CULTURE & METHODS / THE HONEYBEE

By learning how to strengthen and harmonize the influence of the moon and the planets on plant life, we can enhance the nutritional value of our food, presented by Mac Mead. Mac, together with Megan Durney, also shares greenhouse seeding methods and supportive cultural practices in the Pfeiffer Center greenhouse. In the afternoon, the Pfeiffer Center beekeeper Bill Day covers the role of the honeybee in the farm organism and the household of nature.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

BARREL COMPOST / WEED & PEST CONTROL PREPARATIONS / SMALL ANIMALS

Barrel compost is an efficient way to boost soil fertility, especially when access to cow manure is limited. In the garden, Mac Mead leads the class through every step of making this valuable substance, and how to use it. Mac also covers weed and pest control, using biodynamic preparations, and discusses small animal stewardship (primarily chickens and sheep). An afternoon artistic activity rounds out the day.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

WATER: H2O OR MUCH MORE?

Water is crucial to biodynamics: Not only to water plants, but for the process of stirring, which potentizes the preparations. But do we really know what water is, what tasks it has in life processes, or how it carries them out? Jennifer Greene of the Water Research Institute takes us far beyond what we commonly know, or suppose we know, of this element.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

THE HORN SILICA PREPARATION / BIODYNAMIC TREE PASTE / BEES / ARTISTIC ACTIVITY

The horn silica preparation influences color, flavor, and keeping quality of produce; Mac Mead leads the class in making this preparation in the garden. We also make biodynamic tree paste and apply it to Pfeiffer Center’s fruit trees. Weather permitting, Bill Day leads a visit to the Pfeiffer Center apiary, and the day concludes with an afternoon artistic activity.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

MORE WORK WITH PREPARATIONS / PREParation STORAGE / DRAFT HORSES

The day begins with stirring and spraying the horn silica preparation, then uncovering the preparations that were buried in October’s session. In the afternoon, we cover horsepower on the farm, with a visit to our team of Haflingers: Captain and Paris. We’ll end the day with the fine points of preparation storage.

Saturday & Sunday, June 3 & 4, 2023

BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER

In this final weekend, we tie together the year’s material to draw a comprehensive picture of biodynamic theory and practice. We review—by doing—how to make and use all eight biodynamic preparations, plus the insect “pepper.” In the classroom, Mac Mead wraps up the year with talks on record keeping, field care, crop rotation, elemental beings, the farm individuality, and the biodynamic cycle of the year. Time is also given to project presentations, artistic activities, and a festive potluck dinner on Saturday.

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