Hawthorne Valley was founded in 1971 by a pioneering group of Waldorf teachers and Biodynamic farmers who were concerned with the future of small and midsize independent farms as well as the need to provide children from urban environments with meaningful opportunities to connect to nature, agriculture, and vocational activities. The initiative was a response to experiencing firsthand the immediate challenges of the loss of small family farms and the threat to childhood development posed by an increasingly materialistic, mechanistic, and technology based prevailing worldview.
Inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner, Hawthorne Valley Association seeks to promote social and cultural renewal through the integration of education, agriculture, and the arts by engaging in a unique mix of cultural and economic endeavors. Today, the Association includes:
- Hawthorne Valley Farm: A 400-acre Biodynamic farm with a 65-cow dairy herd, an on-site Creamery, 14 acres of mixed vegetables with 300-member CSA, a full-line natural foods store, an Organic Bakery, a Sauerkraut Cellar, and on-farm education for children and adults through the Visiting Students and Summer Camp Program (VSP) and the Farm Learning Center.
- Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School: A nursery through grade 12 Waldorf day school with Boarding and Exchange programs. Cross country Patroon champions in 2010; an impressive academic and college acceptance record; and inspired contributions to the community through art, community service, and other individual pursuits.
- Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program: A research and outreach branch of Hawthorne Valley Association with a general focus on agriculture and land use change in Columbia County. The Program encompasses a spectrum of enquiry and outreach including countywide efforts to understand not just agriculture but farming's wider ecological and socio-economic context.
- Hawthorne Valley Center for Social Research: A research and outreach branch investigating the dynamics, jurisdiction, and interdependence of the three primary spheres of social life: culture, rights, and the economy. Includes demonstration projects that apply the principles of freedom and choice in cultural life, equality and democracy in political life, and associative cooperation and concern for others in economic life.
- Hawthorne Valley Alkion Center: Offering Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy, Waldorf Teacher Training for Early Childhood through Grade 8, and visual arts courses and various workshops throughout the year. Grounded in the path of inner development outlined by Rudolf Steiner, the goal of these courses is to awaken the individual to the working of the spirit in the human being, nature, and society.
- Hawthorne Valley Adonis Press: A publisher and distributor of books on phenomenological science while also offering poetry, essays, and a large selection of translated works by Swiss poet Albert Steffen.