Biodynamic Training Program - Info & Teacher Bios

About the Program

Sept. 28 - Oct. 1, 2017, May 24 - 27, 2018, July 5 - 8, 2018, Sept 27 - 30, 2018
Starting at 4pm on Thursdays, ending at 1pm on Sundays with lunch
$1900-2600 (Sliding scale, payment plans available)
Taught by Herbalist Deb Soule and Guest Speakers

This exciting hands-on training program will meet 4 times over the year from 2017-2018. We will meet for 3 days with different guest teachers each session, sharing their biodynamic expertise and wisdom. During the winter months, a monthly teleconference call will occur with a teacher guiding a discussion on the study material students will be reading.

Topics include: Biodynamic philosophy and the anthroposophical roots of biodynamics, making and using biodynamic preparations, building compost, soil health, medicinal herbs, water research, cows, honeybees, elemental beings, using the BD calendar, Goethe’s plant observation method, and more.

Guests will include Thea Maria Carlson, Laura Riccardi Lyvers, Gunther Hauk, Sherry Wildfeuer, Claudia Ford, Bruno Follador, and more.

Tuition includes nine organic, biodynamic meals per session, campsite with bathroom access, & supplies.

Non-refundable deposit to register is $150. Send your deposit check made out to The Herbal Classroom to The Herbal Classroom at Avena Botanicals, 219 Mill Street, Rockport, ME 04856. Be sure to include your phone number and email address when you register. Full payment or payment plan contract is due by Sept. 1, 2017.

Note that this special program will most likely only be offered in this format once and space is very limited - early registration is encouraged. Keep checking our website for more detailed information about this course.

Guest Teachers

Claudia J. Ford, Ph.D.

Dr. Ford has had a career in international management, development, and women’s health spanning three decades and all continents. Claudia holds a PhD in Environmental Studies and is on the faculty of Rhode Island School of Design. She teaches ethnobotany, indigenous knowledge, global sustainability, global business, environmental justice, and environmental literature in classrooms and workshops. Claudia is a beginning farmer and medicinal plant gardener, and the director of an agroecology program, on 1500 acres of productive farmland in New England, that links ecological and social systems with agriculture for healthy food and farming communities. Claudia serves on the board of The Orion Society, a community that publishes Orion literary magazine - caring for the planet by exploring the connections between nature and culture so that humanity might live on Earth justly, sustainably, and joyously. Claudia is a midwife, a published author and poet, and a visual artist, and she has shared the delights and adventures of her global travel with her four children.


Bruno Rodrigues Follador

Bruno Rodrigues Follador was born in São Paulo, Brazil. From an early age, he felt a deep connection to nature. Having been brought up in one of the largest and most populated cities in the planet — a city with one of the highest income disparities in the world — he developed an acute interest in, and concern for, not only the environment but also social and cultural life. He studied Geography at the University of São Paulo with a special focus on agrarian geography and theory of landscape. His undergraduate dissertation was on “The General Theory of System and Biodynamic Agriculture: New Perspectives for Agriculture.” These questions led him to take a year off from school and to participate in a biodynamic gardening and bee-keeping training at the Pfeiffer Center in New York. While there, he had his first contact with Roland Ulrich and with farm-scale composting and the chromatography method developed by Ehrenfried Pfeiffer. Returning to Brazil from the Pfeiffer Center, he worked for two years with banana growers in a poor community in the Atlantic Forest of São Paulo, where he helped small family farmers convert to biodynamic agriculture.

In 2010, he moved to Germany where he became one of the researchers and consultants of Ludolf-Andreas, a non-profit lab, which is connected to a biodynamic farm, Andreashof. For three years, he worked alongside Roland Ulrich, deepening his work with chromatography and farm-scale composting. Together they implemented a pioneering biodynamic farm-scale project at the Hofgut Rengoldshausen farm. Bruno and Roland led workshops and consulted in places such as Weleda (France and Switzerland), Agribio (Italy), and farms around the Lake Constance region of Germany.

Since then he has developed further an approach to composting and soil fertility that strives to go beyond the notion that composting is just a form of waste management and a means to increase yields. Beside practical applications and innovations, his endeavor is to foster and develop a personal relationship to composting and to the farm as a whole living individuality. This Goethean phenomenological approach seeks not only a shift in agricultural practices, but primarily a shift in human consciousness out of which new ways of interacting with nature in agriculture can develop.

Since 2012, Bruno has consulted and given workshops in places such as University of São Carlos (Brazil), Angelic Organics, Pfeiffer Center, Hawthorne Valley Farm, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, Camphill Kimberton Hills.


Laura Riccardi Lyvers

Laura Riccardi Lyvers is a gardener, preparation maker and grazier. She runs the biodynamic program at Foxhollow Farm ~ a grass-fed beef operation in Crestwood, KY. For over 10 years she has worked with the pastures, cattle and different styles of grazing. For many years she stirred and sprayed the BD preps on the farm’s 735 field acres to meet the Demeter certification standards. She continues to guide Foxhollow Farm’s biodynamic program and make the preps for the farm, as well as for other select farms and gardens, through her small business, "Bio-Ag Resources". Laura holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University where she studied Range Ecology and Conservation Biology. After graduating in 1997, she began working with biodynamics in her small market garden on L.I., NY, then moved to Woolwine, Va, to live and work at JPI for 4 years, where she learned to make the BD preparations under Hugh Courtney. Laura lives with her husband on his family’s large-scale hog and grain farm in central KY (a farm using biodynamics/organics and conventional practices), where she gardens herbs, flowers and food, and tends a small dairy herd.


Mac Mead

Mac Mead has been Program Director of the Pfeiffer Center since 2007. He was the resident farmer at the Fellowship Community's Duryea Farm from 1997 until 2005. Mac began farming biodynamically in 1975, when he had the “privilege and good fortune” to learn biodynamic methods directly from former co-workers of Ehrenfried Pfeiffer at the Fellowship Community. Since then he has raised vegetables on every scale, tended an orchard, managed dairy cows, and worked with draft horses. The core instructor in the Pfeiffer Center’s One-Year Training in Biodynamics, Mac regularly speaks at conferences of the Biodynamic Association, the Northeast Organic Farming Association, and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. In 2016, he was an invited speaker at “The Spirit of Sustainable Agriculture,” a conference of the Harvard Divinity School.


Megan Durney

Megan Durney joined the Pfeiffer Center as an intern in 2006. She takes a leading role in planning and carrying out each season’s production, and manages the Pfeiffer Center’s CSA and farm stand operations. She has conducted workshops on beekeeping, permaculture, canning and preserving, and biodynamic preparation-making, and she directs the Pfeiffer Center’s Neighbor to Neighbor youth gardening program. Megan has served on the core planning group for the Biodynamic Association’s national conference, has conducted workshops at BDA national conferences, and has hosted many young farmer meet-ups. Her training in biodynamics included a one-year stint at Raphael Garden in Sacramento, CA, where she studied intensive production gardening and biodynamic seed saving under Harald Hoven.


Gunther Hauk

As Executive Director, Gunther serves in a variety of roles, i.e., beekeeper, teacher, biodynamic farmer, visionary, writer, public speaker, fundraiser, and more. His overall responsibility is to ensure that all organizational activities are effective and in alignment with Spikenard Farm’s mission of serving as a “model” honeybee sanctuary for the teaching and outreach of sustainable and biodynamic beekeeping practices. Gunther brings four decades of experience as a biodynamic beekeeper, gardener, and farmer. In 1996 he co-founded the Pfeiffer Center – one of the first biodynamic training programs in the US. And since that time, he has been invited to teach around the world. His book Toward Saving the Honeybee was first published in 2002. And in 2006, Gunther and his wife, Vivian, founded Spikenard Farm. His work was featured in two full-length documentary films about the honeybee crisis – “Queen of the Sun” (2010) and “Vanishing of the Bees” (2009), and he also produced his own educational film “Hour of Decision” (2015).


Sherry Wildfeuer

Sherry is a lifelong student of anthroposophy and editor of the Stella Natura Biodynamic Calendar, in publication for nearly 40 years. She has written and edited many articles on biodynamic agriculture and anthroposophy, as well as being a prominent speaker on those subjects. She is a Camphill coworker, has raised four children in Camphill and has contributed to the community in many ways. She has leading positions in the Agriculture Section of the School for Spiritual Science and the Anthroposophical Society.


Thea Maria Carlson

Thea is a facilitator, farmer, educator, and artist, with roots in California and the Midwest. She is Co-Director of the Biodynamic Association and holds several other roles including Conference Weaver, Biodynamic Education, People, and Teal Implementer. She lives in the Mayacamas Mountains in Sonoma County, California, and frequently visits other parts of the world. Her diverse experience includes farming biodynamic and organic vegetables, fruit and flowers; teaching gardening, nutrition, and beekeeping; designing, building and managing urban community and educational gardens; and organizing strategic communications training programs for nonprofit leaders. Since 2011, she has played a key role in developing the Biodynamic Association’s educational offerings, planning and implementing the biennial North American Biodynamic Conference, and exploring new ways to manage and evolve the organization. Thea earned a B.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University, a permaculture design certificate from Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, and is trained in the Art of Hosting and consensus facilitation. Besides growing food, making compost, and helping others to do both, she loves to hike, play her cello, throw pottery, cook, read, and spend time with her family and many beloved friends.


Jean David Derreumaux

Jean David was born in France and studied at Agriculture Engineer school in Paris. He has practiced biodynamics in several farms as well as therapeutic settings. Jean David has been at The Center for Discovery since 2005. He has created 5 healing gardens and developed the work with culinary and medicinal plants. He has also landscaped several newly built campuses, integrating gardens and plants in the concepts. Jean David has been coaching the development of the biodynamic work on Thanksgiving farm, as well as organized the Heirloom lecture series to help staff be acquainted with the questions of biodynamics, food, and farming.