Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center
P O Box 1080
Patagonia, AZ 85624
Bio-Dynamic Gardening in
a Permaculture Context:
Information on Internships
We're happy you inquired about garden training at Tree of Life
Reju-venation Center. The information we're sending will help you decide.
If you remain interested after reading this, we will need the following
from you to help us decide:
* A resume, if you have one;
* A friendly letter, telling us how you heard about Tree of Life...
about your life so far... with particular emphasis on how you came to see
gardening as a top priority...any physical limitations you may have (how's
your back? your stamina? your general health?)... your present diet... what
you hope to accomplish as a gardener... what your spiritual intentions may
be... how it happens that you have a "slot" open in your life to undertake
a serious period of training;
* A photo;
* The times during which you can be available as an intern.
* * *
Tree of Life Rejuvenation center is located at 4,200 feet
elevation, just outside Patagonia, population 900, in southeastern Arizona.
The vistas are grand from this table top mesa and plant and animal life are
abundant--some 160 species of birds annually. Your accommodations, along
with other interns and visitor/voilunteers, are in 9' x 11' tents on
sturdy wooden decks situated in a sheltered, shaded canyon.
A great deal of work has been accomplished on the 166-acre property
in the past three years. A 1930s-era water diversion project has been
returned to working order, to store cloudburst water in our pond; many
swales, ditches, berms , and catchments--all designed to direct, slow
down, store, and utilize rainwater runoff--have been designed and
constructed; a 100' diameter circular garden is in full production; a
load-bearing strawbale building with kitchen/dining and treatment room has
been built, along with a meditation temple; a small complex designed to
house up to 16 people is nearly complete; roads, well, constructed wetland
for wastewater, a shade structure for plant propagation, compost toilet,
and more than 300 irrigated trees--for windbreaks, fruit, and wildlife
habitat--have all been installed and are functioning. Much of the
Permaculture infrastructure is in place for a healing/teaching center with
up to 40 guests at a time and almost as many staff.
This is high, semi-desert grassland and has been rangeland for 100
years more or less. Mesquite, an invader from Texas, is very well adapted
and is the predominant plant species on the property; we consider mesquite
a resource rather than an invasive pest. The Tree of Life mesa is
relatively flat, somewhat sloping, and cut in places by deep, wide
arroyos--mysterious, fertile ecosystems all their own, where oaks and
Yes, there are snakes here, some poisonous ones, and scorpions,
tarantulas, and bugs. There are many javilina and coyotes. You want to
walk and work wide awake.
We are a service-oriented bunch here--in service to people and the
planet. In the agricultural realm, Bio-Dynamics has Earth healing as its
fundamental intent. Practitioners can add to this core aim certain
production goals: here during the next year we will be gearing up to
supply a large part of the diet for 20-30 people, year-round. It is our
people-service to present to the chefs a wide variety of fresh, healthful,
vital produce--produce vibrating with built-in Bio-Dynamic nutrition. We
do this while acting as stewards for the garden soil, water, the compost,
and the surrounding landscape.
Meditation... a relatively simple, conscious-consumption kind of
vegetarianism... service... harmlessness as much as possible to all living
things ... personal integrity... these are values we would like to share
with you. If you come to be here with us, we'll expect you to share
yourself with us and the rest of the Universe at most of our sunrise and
sunset meditations. We'd also like to have your heartfelt presence and
participation in staff meetings.
We ask 35 hours work each week from interns; often, 7-hour-days are
split, with a long siesta time in the middle. Three and a half of those
hours will be classroom time--though that weekly teaching/learning session
will most likely happen under a Grandfather mesquite or oak. The other
nine-tenths of your work week will be hands-on gardening. We hope it will
not come as a complete surprise to you that about two-thirds of gardening
is materials handling--soil, compost, irrigation hose, strawbales, potting
mix...these are all HEAVY, and one spends a lot of energy moving
barrowloads from place to place. The other one-third of gardening work is
BORING: endless tiny transplants to go in the ground; endless weeds;
endless strawberries to pick (!); endless pruning... endless... endless.
The good news is that there is genuine joy associated with all
this, joy and fascination, amusement and bemusement. The spiritual path
that is gardening is a rollicking one. Life is exhuberant, not solemn.
The garden is ever-changing, with unexpectednesses cropping up anywhere at
all. Co-creation with the Nature Spirits is an adventuresome,
unpredictable affair and we will participate with grace.
Tree of Life Garden Instructor--
Woody started drawing circles on the U. S. map the other day, and
ended up with 15 circles in 13 states, places where he's done major
gardening projects--from New Hampshire to Florida to Oregon to Arizona.
His basic training in gardening was in the early 1980s at Kimberton
Hills Camphill Village, Kimberton, PA, four years of increasing
responsibility in food production for a village of 120 people. Camphill
Kimberton is one of the few U.S. sites where comprehensive training in
Bio-Dynamic agriculture is available. Woody went on from Camphill to
establish a smallholding in Illinois and to organize the first Community
Supported Agriculture project in the Midwest, in 1988; he then became
volunteer gardener and member at the Temple-Wilton Community Farm in New
Hampshire; and, before coming to Tree of Life, spent three seasons running
a guest ranch garden and greenhouse at 6,800 feet elevation in Montana.
Woody has started half a dozen gardens from scratch, improved half
a dozen others, built greenhouses and coldframes and chicken tractors, and
constructed many compost piles. He's worked in dairy barns, commercial
nursery operations, backyard gardens, commercial gardens, community
gardens. He says:
"Gardening is my life, the one thing--the only thing--I've
consistenly been passionate about all these many years..."
What Is Bio-Dynamics?
A copy of Sherry Wildfeuer's article with this title, appearing in
the 1996 issue of STELLA*NATURA, The Kimberton Hills Agricultural Calendar,
is attached. Note that the first of the basic principles she mentions is
Broaden Your Perspective. Bio-Dynamic practice is intense; it requires
openness of mind and perspective and heart. And note the statement,
"Biodynamics focuses on the quality of the food. It recognizes a direct
connection between the quality of food and not only human health, but also
(note: This article is avail at www.his.com/~claymont/bda.html
More About Our Internships
Duration: Minimum 2 months (though we often have visitor/volunteers
for short periods)
Meals: Ours is a vegan kitchen, no animal products at all, with an
]emphasis on 80% raw and living foods. Breakfast and lunch are prepared 5
days; other times the kitchen is available to staff ]and plenty of fresh
organic foods are on hand.
Check out the Biodynamic Association WEB PAGE:
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Send Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Subscribe BD-L" in the Subject
and your FULL NAME and PHYSICAL MAILING address in the body.
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The 1996 Mid-Atlantic Biodynamic Conference is Scheduled for Oct 4-5
at Claymont Courts, Charlestown, WV.
Tentatively Scheduled speakers are Bruce Blevins (BD Market
James A. Duke (Herbs), Dr Peter Hinderberger (anthroposophic medicine),
Jim Marquardt (BD Orchard work); Woody Wodruska (Subtle Forces in the
Greenhouse: Flow forms, Agnehothra, etc) Speakers and Workship leaders
are still being sought.
Located 30 minutes from Dulles, 15 minutes from Amtrak, an hour
from Baltimore-Washington in the Beautiful Shenandoah Valley
BD Meals will be served.
Lodging and camping are available. More information: 304 876-2373