NABDAP's two years of on-farm training are complemented by classroom study courses that cover the fundamental principles and philosophy of biodynamic farming. NABDAP classroom study courses are offered in several regions, and are taught by experts in the theory and practice of biodynamic agriculture.
Each course is organized either as a series of weekend workshops or longer intensives for a total of at least 13 days or 78 hours of instruction. All of the sessions in a given region are designed to be taken together to cover the full NABDAP curriculum. Tuition assistance for classroom study is available to apprentices with financial need through the Biodynamic Scholarship Fund.
The Biodynamic Winter Intensives are two week-long courses held each February for farmers, gardeners, and those seeking a working relationship with the living land. The first week takes place at the Nature Institute and the second takes place at Hawthorne Valley Farm Learning Center, both in in Ghent, NY. Each features renowned biodynamic educators in a dynamic learning environment, including lectures, hands-on experience, inner work, and social activities. These two powerful weeks are designed to build on one another, but may also be taken independently, and are open to all.
The theme of the intensives alternates between Animals, Humanity and Evolution in one year and Plants, Earth and Cosmos in the next year. Students may start in any year, and return the next year for the complementary curriculum.
2017 Winter Intensives
Developing a Qualitative Understanding of Nature: Animals, Humanity and Evolution, February 12-17 at The Nature Institute in Ghent, NY
Attending to Animals in a Caring Economy: Working in Agriculture, with Each Other, and Our Inner Selves, February 19-24 at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent, NY
Course in process. Registration now closed.
Are you a farmer or gardener interested in exploring the deeper aspects of the work you are doing? Biodynamics offers a unique way to live positively on the earth with our fellow soil, plant, and animal companions. In this six-month interactive course, we will develop a deeper understanding of biodynamics through intensive study of Rudolf Steiner's Agriculture, the 1924 series of lectures that founded the worldwide biodynamic movement.
Led by renowned biodynamic farmer and educator Cory Eichman of Saugeen River CSA, this is a unique opportunity to deeply explore biodynamics in a distance learning format. This is the second year the course is being offered through the Biodynamic Association after many years as an on-farm course in Ontario.
Biodynamics is the only method of caring for the land, plants and animals that aims to raise the vitality of soil, healing and enlivening the earth even as we draw from it for our sustenance.
The Pfeiffer Center's One-Year Part-Time Practical Training in Biodynamics uses classroom sessions and hands-on workshops to provide a thorough grounding in every aspect of biodynamics, from its underlying principles to techniques in the field.
Thirteen full-day workshops from September to June cover it all: Compost and soil building, farm animal husbandry, care of fruit trees, seed saving, weed and pest control, bees, and much more.
Principal instructor Mac Mead, director of the Pfeiffer Center, has farmed and gardened biodynamically for more than 35 years. Expert guest faculty include Hugh Williams (orchard management and seed saving), Steffen Schneider (farm animal husbandry), Craig Holdrege (Goethean observation), and Sherry Wildfeuer (working with the rhythms of nature).
Advanced Course, Part I - The Individuality of the Farm:
This is an 8 month course, meeting one full Sunday each month starting in September and ending in April.
The central image in Biodynamics is that a farm is healthiest if it can be organized as an independent Individuality. This means having the right kinds and number of animals to provide fertility to the land; having different environments (wetlands, meadows, forests, cultivated soil, flowering trees) to allow the farm to express different forms of life; balancing the crops you grow, with the soil, the climate, and the wildlife. We will explore how this can be a meaningful conversation with the land.
This is not a “how to farm Biodynamically” course, but rather a course designed to deepen and enhance the regular work you are already doing on your farm and in your garden. It is recommended that you have some practical experience in farming or gardening before taking this course.
Required texts: Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture lectures, and his book Theosophy.
Advanced course, Part II - Occult Science for Farmers:
This is a 5 month course, meeting one full Sunday a month from November to March. Part I is a prerequisite.
When Rudolf Steiner gave his lectures on Agriculture in 1924, he suggested it would be helpful to know his two works: Theosophy and Occult Science – an Outline. Getting to know these works gives a firm foundation in Steiner’s scientific research, and helps clarify what initially seem like strange concepts in Biodynamics.
We will focus on the chapter covering the evolution of the solar system, the kingdoms of nature and humanity and explore how this relates to the elemental nature spirits that work behind the scenes of our every day work on the land.
Required Text: Rudolf Steiner’s Occult Science: an Outline (also translated as Outline of Esoteric Science)