*Saturday, September 16, 2023
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, transplanting, raised beds, and planting cover crops.
Saturday, October 7, 2023
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 4, 2023
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 2, 2023
LARGE ANIMALS & THE FARM ORGANISM
The ideal biodynamic farm is a self-contained individuality to which cows contribute milk, meat, and soil fertility. Megan Durney shares about the essential nature of the animal, and Kim Vaughan 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 24, 2024
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 23, 2024
SEEING NATURE WHOLE / LIFE RHYTHMS & PLANTING CALENDAR
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 24, 2024
ENHANCING NUTRITION / GARDEN PLANNING / GREENHOUSE / 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 also shares seeding methods and supportive cultural practices in the greenhouse. In the afternoon, beekeeper Bill Day covers the role of the honeybee in the farm organism and the household of nature.
Saturday, April 13, 2024
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, pest, and fungus control, using biodynamic preparations and peppers, and discusses small animal stewardship (primarily chickens and sheep). An afternoon artistic activity rounds out the day.
*Sunday, April 14, 2024
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 11, 2024
HORN SILICA PREPARATION / BIODYNAMIC TREE PASTE / HONEYBEES
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 12, 2024
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 8 & 9, 2024
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.
Missed Classes: If you miss a class, it can be made up for free in future years.
Repeating the Classes: Also, it is possible to repeat individual classes in the future years with a fee of $125 per class. Please email a request to [email protected].
Taking Individual Classes: You can take certain classes individually–marked with * above–with a fee of $125 per class. Please email a request to [email protected].
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