to Feb 23

Winter Retreat for Farmers and Other Food Lovers - Building Healthy Soil in a Healthy Food Shed

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How can we scale a regenerative food system? We believe through the growth of bio-regional food sheds! Our winter retreat offers the opportunity to delve deeply into this question within the food hub of HAWTHORNE VALLEY FARM in Columbia County, NY. Part of our focus will be on soils—literally the ground of our existence—through a spiritual, scientific and artistic lens. Another part of the week will help build the image of an economically, ecologically and socially just food shed concept that includes everyone from the small to mid-sized farmer through to the most currently marginalized consumer.  The program provides ample space for learning, personal reflection and collaborative problem solving through various awareness-based practices.

Guest Speakers: Will Brinton, soil scientist and founder of Woods End Laboratory, Conrad Vispo, Farmscape Ecology Program and the Institute for Mindful Agriculture team: Steffen Schneider, Rachel Schneider and Jill Jakimetz from Hawthorne Valley and Ursula Versteegen, Presencing Institute

The daily schedule balances mealtimes, seminars, group awareness-based practices, participatory art, guided walks, solo-journaling, dialogue walks, and collaborative group work.                          

Fee: Sliding scale $750-$500. Please contact Rachel Schneider for fee reductions or more information at: rachel@hawthornevalleyfarm.org

Food: Fee includes continental breakfast, main meal at noon, suppers and snacks.

Lodging: Up to the participant with some “floor space” with sleeping bag options available at two locations, for those who will need it.

Register: Join us to shape our foodshed here.


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to Mar 18

Biodynamic Workshop with Enzo Nastati

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The Institute for Mindful Agriculture (IMA) will host a Biodynamic Workshop with Enzo Nastati, in collaboration with Steiner Books and the Biodynamic Association.

Enzo Nastati is a biodynamic farmer and researcher.  He has published 80 books on agriculture, animal management, bees, and Spiritual Science (the holistic philosophy of Rudolf Steiner), Mr. Nastati’s work has been recognized around the world where he lectures, consults, and conducts continuing research. Enzo has spent the past 40 years researching and developing preparations and application techniques to further meet the demands of our modern day. 

DATE: March 6 - March 8, 2018

Please visit again soon for more information and registration.

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Heaven and Earth Workshop
to Apr 8

Heaven and Earth Workshop

Are farms the places where heaven meets earth? In this workshop, Professor Dan McKanan of Harvard Divinity School will follow diverse spiritual communities as they go back to the land—by creating church and school gardens, establishing ecovillages, celebrating the sacraments with the four elements, practicing carbon farming, and participating in the global food sovereignty movement. 

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Connecting to the Soil, Self and the Economy
to Oct 29

Connecting to the Soil, Self and the Economy


The Institute for Mindful Agriculture invites you to the AUTUMN MODULE of its SEASONAL FOUNDATION PROGRAM October 27th/5pm through October 29th/1pm at Hawthorne Valley Farm

If we treated our friends the way we, as people, treat the Earth, our friends would never talk to us again. Across the globe we exploit our planet in the most destructive way on a daily basis- and still expect her to produce our food, give us nourishing spaces to explore, be our home.

If you think the time has come to make a difference, if you want to enhance your ability to be a change agent, if you want to learn something about yourself and work with others who are deeply committed to honoring the Earth and all that live there, please join us for a weekend at Hawthorne Valley Farm.

The Institute for Mindful Agriculture is committed to helping all of us improve our relationship with our home planet. By looking critically and deeply at ourselves and our relationship to the Earth through the lens of food and farming we can unlock our individual and collective capacities for transformational change.

During our Autumn Module we will dig deeper into the dynamic interdependence of Soil, Self and Economy through immersion in autumn's gestures of setting seed, anchoring the future life of the seed within the earth, and the dissolving of life above ground. Activities will include: 

  • Short presentations on the gesture of the year, mindful inner practice and working towards a food and agriculture economy serving the well-being of all
  • harvesting and autumn farm work
  • silent nature walks
  • individual mindfulness and self-reflection practices
  • discussions on transforming the current agriculture-food value chain

This workshop is part of a series of four, but can be taken individually as well. The costs for the weekend are on a sliding scale of $500-$250 including two dinners, one lunch and snacks. Further reduction of fees is possible upon request. Please contact Rachel Schneider to register or for more information: rachel@hawthornevalleyfarm.org

Hawthorne Valley Farm is a biodynamic farm and food business as well as our learning lab for examining the co-evolutionary relationship between human beings and our Earth. As a working farm it shows us how agriculture and the food system play an important role in restoring a healthy and mindful relationship to our planet.


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to May 14

IMA Foundation Course


The Institute for Mindful Agriculture offers a place-based 15- day transformational program unfolding over 12 months throughout the 4 seasons within four 3- day workshops (Spring 2017 – Winter 2018) at Hawthorne Valley Farm. The program brings together stakeholders from all over the agriculture and food system, engaged eaters and others who consider themselves pilgrims and pioneers of a newly emerging narrative of agriculture and a caring food economy. The goal is to create opportunity for individual and collective spiritual and social development by looking deeply into the earth-rhythms of nature and presencing its implications for the renewal of the agricultural food system.

The IMA Foundation Course has a transformational intention: to facilitate re-connection to inner experience, life processes of the earth and the big challenges of our time towards re-imaging ourselves as human beings in our next evolutionary step and its implications for prosperity and right livelihood. 

The full cycle of 4 workshops is based on the methodologies of Theory U ( Otto Scharmer), mindfulness and social engaged Buddhism (Thich Nhat Thanh), the anthroposophical cosmology of Rudolf Steiner, the nature work of Joanna Macy,  the “Gross National Happiness” work of Bhutan,  experiential learning approaches from Waldorf Education, Theory U, positive psychology, Goethean phenomenology and mindfulness practice. Knowledge on content themes will be derived from leading thinkers, researchers and practitioners.

The overall 1-year-process moves through the earth-to-earth cycle of nature as a master model for the renewal of the agriculture and food towards a collaborative earth-to-earth production, distribution and consumption organism.

Workshops Dates:

5/12/17 - 5/14/17

8/4/17 - 8/6/17

10/27/17 - 10/29/17

2/2/18 - 2/4/18


For more information and to register, contact Rachel@hawthornevalleyfarm.org

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to Dec 4

I.M.A. Workshop at 2015 Young Farmer's Conference at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Institute for Mindful Agriculture will present a workshop entitled "“Biodynamics – Inner and Outer Practice” at the 2015 Young Farmer's Conference taking place December 2-4th at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, NY.

More information and registration details at  http://www.stonebarnscenter.org/articles/young-farmers-conference.html

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to Feb 20

Biodynamic Winter Intensive (Hawthorne Valley Farm and the Nature Institute)

The Biodynamic Winter Intensive is a two-week course held each February for farmers, gardeners, and those seeking a working relationship with the living land.  During the Winter Intensive, The Nature Institute and Hawthorne Valley Farm Learning Center offer two complementary weeks of instruction for those wishing to gain a fuller understanding of Biodynamic agriculture.

This year the theme is "Animals, Humanity and the Living Context of Agriculture." 

For more information about the week at the Nature Institute, see www.natureinstitute.org/educ/winter. For details on the week at Hawthorne Valley contact Caroline Smialek at 518-672-7500 x 232 or caroline@hawthornevalleyfarm.org.

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to Dec 5

Workshop: De-mystifying Biodynamics (2014 Young Farmers Conference)

The 7th annual National Young Farmers Conference at the Stone Barns Center is for young farmers, "[who are]...part of a movement with shared values about sustainable agriculture rather than being defined by an age bracket."  Additional workshops and keynote presentations on topics including soil science, technical skills, agricultural policy, farm business management, conservation and more.

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11:00 AM11:00

Workshop: Rudolf Steiner, Wendell Berry, and the Re-Settling of America (2014 Biodynamic Conference)

  • Hyatt Regency, Louisville, KY (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Ninety years after Rudolf Steiner's "Koberwitz Impulse" and 35 years after Wendell Berry's book "The Unsettling of America," we find ourselves at a crossroads. Drawing on the insights and inspirations of Steiner and Berry, we will explore future bearing elements now emerging as the real food economy. Can we discern and fashion a new narrative for Agri-Culture?  To be presented by Steffen and Rachel Schneider at the 2014 Biodynamic Conference, Farming for Health. 

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11:00 AM11:00

Workshop: Who are the Animals Really? (2014 Biodynamic Conference)

The workshop will shed light on the spiritual being of our farm animals and then, based on what we learn there, demonstrate practical consequences and techniques of husbandry and feeding and breeding.  To be presented by Steffen and Rachel Schneider at the 2014 Biodynamic Conference, Farming for Health. 

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5:00 PM17:00

The Secret Life of Cows

  • Rudolph Steiner College, Fair Oaks, CA (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

In this keynote presentation to be given at the Biodynamic Conference, Medicine for Earth and Man: the Earthworm, the Cow, and the Bee, at Rudolph Steiner College in Sacramento, CA, Steffen will explore the unique abilities and contributions cows make to the health of our planet through the metabolic miracles that cows perform on a daily basis. Adding to this picture, we will delve into the deeper being of this animal’s  physiology,  behavior, and some of the more esoteric aspects of their being, including some hands-on work with the RSC cows.


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