Celestial Gardening

At Threefold Farm in upstate New York, the roots of the biodynamic movement in America run deep.

By Sari Harrar


biodynamic gardeningBeyond Sustainability

Today, the Pfeiffer Center is teaching the world how to garden biodynamically. There’s a yearlong training program for aspiring BD growers, weekend workshops for backyard gardeners, and a program called the Outdoor Lesson that invites schoolchildren from local public schools to get their hands dirty in the garden—and taste the results.

“For years, biodynamics was a small movement—it’s better known in Europe and Australia,” Mead says. “Now, more small farms, orchards, and vineyards are adopting it. So are CSAs [Community-Supported Agriculture farms] where you can buy into a share of the harvest. You can buy biodynamic garden seed and find certified, biodynamic produce at natural-food stores. I think people who know about organics are looking for something more spiritual in the garden—and in their food. This goes beyond sustainability to resupplying the earth with what it really needs. We believe that’s our responsibility.”

One backyard gardener who’s convinced is Richard Makowski of River Vale, New Jersey. Makowski says he tried the biodynamic planting calendar a few years ago “for the heck of it”—and saw his winter squash yields triple. “My wife says the vegetables are sweeter,” he says, taking a break from planting a bed at the Pfeiffer garden. “I didn’t even believe this stuff at first. And maybe you don’t have to. But I’ve never met a gardener who isn’t spiritual on some level.”