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 brings her food world experience as a farmer, baker, administrator, and educator together with her research world experience in ecocriticism, art, landscape architecture, environmental policy, and geography. She holds a BA and MA in environmental studies from Bates College and the University of Oregon. Her invaluable agricultural training began with two years as a MOFGA apprentice and continued with work at a few farms, including Wintergreen Farm in Oregon. Jill's year as a Fulbright Fellow to the European Union gave her insight into the beginnings of public policy support for "high-nature value farming" in Ireland and other forms of "multifunctional agriculture" in the Netherlands and across the EU. Jill is currently training to become a certified forest therapy guide, an approach which she adapts to help open ways for people to experience farms, soil, self, and nature in a new way.
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.