Ehrenfried Pfeiffer pfeiffercenter T Ehrenfried Pfeiffer The story of biodynamics in America is deeply intertwined with the biographies of Ehrenfried Pfeiffer and of the Threefold Community, home of the Pfeiffer Center for Biodynamics and the Environment. These American anthroposophists students of Rudolf Steiner ran a laundry, a furniture-making shop, a rooming house, and a vegetarian restaurant near Carnegie Hall. Many of them had encountered anthroposophy and even met Rudolf Steiner personally in Europe, and were at or near the origins of many anthroposophical impulses in the arts, education, medicine, and agriculture. They shared a heartfelt obligation to bring anthroposophical ideals to life in the social fabric of the New World, and Threefold Farm was integral to this impulse.
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Copyright , Bill Day. Our deep appreciation goes to the Threefold Educational Center archives for the contribution of historical photographs. These American anthroposophists ran a laundry, a furniture-making shop, a rooming house, and a vegetarian restaurant near Carnegie Hall.
Many of them had encountered anthroposophy and had even met Rudolf Steiner personally in Europe, and were at or near the origins of many anthroposophical impulses in the arts, education, medicine, and agriculture. Led by Ralph Courtney and Charlotte Parker, they shared a heartfelt obligation to bring anthroposophical ideals to life in the social fabric of the New World, and Threefold Farm was integral to this impulse.
The faculty included three European anthroposophists making their first-ever visits to North America, one being Ehrenfried Pfeiffer. The course load was extremely heavy and strongly weighted to the sciences: as Steiner told Pfeiffer, to overcome materialism we must know its means and methods as well as we know our own.
Within a few years, Pfeiffer was living in Dornach and working closely with Steiner. To the massive task of converting a conventional farm to biodynamic, and making it economically self-sufficient, all in the difficult economic conditions of the inter-War years, Pfeiffer added considerable obligations as a speaker, teacher, and consultant, traveling extensively throughout Europe and North America.
Pfeiffer lectured in the United States regularly during the s and was a fixture at the Threefold summer conferences, which grew in length and scope with each passing year. When the war came, Pfeiffer brought his family to Kimberton, Pennsylvania, where Alaric Myrin offered Pfeiffer the opportunity to create a model biodynamic farm and training program.
During this period Pfeiffer also led the initiative to found the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association and to start the publication you are now reading. It was also while working at Kimberton that Pfeiffer met J. Rodale, beginning a relationship that gave biodynamics a little-known place in the early history of the American organic movement.
Aiming to continue his work training biodynamic farmers, Pfeiffer bought a farm in Chester, New York, where a small colony arose focused on farming, education, and the administration of the Biodynamic Association and its journal. His illness made it impossible for Pfeiffer to work his milk cows, so in he was offered living quarters and work space at Threefold Farm. Pfeiffer died in , his life shortened by multiple illnesses and also no doubt by the massive workload he took upon himself, the scope of which is barely suggested in this brief account.
Co-workers gardening at Threefold Farm in the s Threefold Farm in the s The Threefold Community holds a unique place in the history of biodynamics in America. Threefold Farm was perhaps the first piece of ground in America to be farmed using the biodynamic method, and Threefold land has been worked biodynamically continuously since All of this is a fitting tribute to a man who was present at the very beginning of biodynamics, who dedicated his life to fostering biodynamics, and who once wrote, "My innermost loyalty belongs to Rudolf Steiner.
For him and his work I wish to continue to live. Financial support for this project is gratefully appreciated. The Biodynamic Association awakens and enlivens co-creative relationships between humans and the earth, transforming the practice and culture of agriculture to renew the vitality of the earth, the integrity of our food, and the health and wholeness of our communities.
Life[ edit ] Ehrenfried Pfeiffer began work with Rudolf Steiner in to develop and install special diffuse stage lighting for eurythmy performances on the stage of the first Goetheanum. Pfeiffer developed an analytical method using copper chloride crystallization and used this technique as a blood test for detecting cancer. They brought with them their son Christoph and daughter Wiltraud. With the advent of World War II in Europe, Pfeiffer took his family to Kimberton, Pennsylvania near Philadelphia , where Alaric Myrin offered Pfeiffer the opportunity to create a model biodynamic farm and training program. Starting in the late s he taught biodynamic farming and gardening at the Kimberton Farm School. One of his students, Paul Keene, who worked and studied with Pfeiffer there for two years and shortly thereafter co-founded Walnut Acres, recalls: "
Biodynamics – Education – Agriculture
Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, the Threefold Community, and the Birth of Biodynamics in America