Rachel Schneider is Director of the Hawthorne Valley Farm Place Based Learning Center which focuses on farm based educational programming for children and families and professional training in the vocation of agriculture. Rachel holds a masters degree in Waldorf education.
As part of her work at the Learning Center, Rachel brought the Farm Beginnings whole farm planning program to the Hudson Valley from its original home with the Land Stewardship Project in Minnesota, organized a yearly Biodynamic Winter Intensive training at Hawthorne Valley and developed and initiated the “Kids Can Cook” summer camp specifically targeted to underserved children in the Hudson community. Her most recent projects include creating curriculum for the “Real Food Business Planning” course and working with the Bard Prison Initiative to bring a lecture series on the “Emerging Real Food Economy” to inmates at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Sullivan County NY.
Rachel has been part of management at Hawthorne Valley Farm for the past 20 years. Prior to her current role, she held the position of market gardener and CSA coordinator for Hawthorne Valley Farm. During this time she was able to develop the CSA program and participated in founding the farm apprentice enrichment program called CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) both of which began in 1994.
Jill Jakimetz is an IMA researcher. She holds a BA and MA in Environmental Studies from Bates College and the University of Oregon. Her work has focused on the role of imagination, landscape and identity within the nature-culture feedback loop- in literature, visual art, institutions, and the built environment.
As a 2009 Fulbright Fellow to the European Union, Jill observed the E.U.’s divergent policies on agriculture and the environment. While many policies continued to support expansion and consolidation of intensive agriculture, an emerging paradigm also assigned value to multifunctional agriculture, that is, farming that produces food and fiber, but also nature, culture, recreation, healing, and public service.
In Maine, Oregon, the Berkshires, and Hudson Valley, Jill has worked in the local food system as a farmer, baker, marketer, administrator, educator, and researcher.
As an artist, she has collaborated with the Farmscape Ecology Program’s Living Land Project, exploring human perception and plant habitats in a series of group walks and botanical portraits. Also with FEP, Jill invited the public to take a deep sensory dive into the life of soils with a Soil Tasting, where soils of different habitats were offered, like wines, for 'tasting.'
Jill practices shinrin-yoku, or forest therapy, and shares this mindful way of connecting with nature & place with individuals and groups visiting with IMA.
Steffen Schneider has over three decades of experience as a biodynamic farmer and herdsman. Currently he is the Director of Farming Operations at Hawthorne Valley Farm. He holds a masters degree in agriculture from the Justus Von Liebig University in Giessen, Germany.
Steffen was part of the team that brought the farm back to economic solvency and success in the early 90’s. He has served in senior leadership capacity for the past 20 years, allowing Hawthorne Valley to experience tremendous growth and diversification of its farming operations including a more recent major infrastructure upgrade of its farmstead.
Since 2007 he has been on the Board of Directors of the Biodynamic Association of North America. Currently he serves as President; he has also served as Treasurer and Vice-President. Steffen has keynoted national and international biodynamic conferences in the US, Switzerland and New Zealand. Additionally he has conducted workshops at organic and biodynamic conferences in the US, China, Switzerland, and New Zealand. He is member of the faculty at the Hawthorne Valley Farm Learning Center and serves as adjunct faculty at the Pfeiffer Center in Spring Valley, NY.
Dr. Ursula Versteegen is co-founder of the Society for Organizational Learning, Germany and a founding member of the Presencing Institute. She is an independent action researcher and consultant and works with Dr. C. Otto Scharmer (the MIT Leadership Lab).
She is an international associate of Generon Consulting, a Boston based international consulting firm. She has also served as a former member of the Board of Directors of a SmithKline Beecham start-up in Munich, Head of Strategy & Organizational Development at Glaxo Germany and an international project leader at Ciba Headquarters, Switzerland. She has over 10 years of experience with global players in the pharmaceutical, healthcare technology and consumer industries.
Since 1999, Ursula has helped innovators in health care, consumer industries, education and non-for-profit organizations to initiate and sustain social networks and teams to develop prototypes for product, service and system innovations. Together with Otto Scharmer, she has researched, experimented and tested a number of tools and practices in the fields of dialogue and social time and space as enablers of large system innovation.
Ursula holds a Ph.D. in social sciences from University of Freiburg in Germany and a Masters of Public Health from Harvard School of Public Health and published several papers co-authored with Scharmer.