At a Glance
A holistic landscape ecological approach to wastewater treatment and restoration planning on a biodynamic farm in upstate New York.
Hawthorne Valley Farm is a 400-acre biodynamic farm and creamery with associated educational and outreach programs. It includes a K-12 Waldorf School and a farmscape ecology research program. As they began developing a master plan for future development, the Hawthorne Valley Association wanted to ensure that any expansion would occur in a way that supported a symbiotic relationship with the land and water in this river valley landscape. To inform the master plan and help achieve this goal, Biohabitats assessed the site’s natural systems and explored wastewater treatment opportunities.
Biohabitats’ assessment and planning study focused on wastewater and water cycle assessment, infrastructure design, and landscape ecological opportunities for the farm. The team participated in a community visioning process, meeting with members of the community, as well as school staff and faculty. During this community process the team was able to learn and share observations of opportunities that can strengthen the farm’s commitment to a biodynamic landscape, one that promotes a stable balance between the land, plants, animals, and humans, through the onsite production of all energy and nutrients to sustain operations and community life.
Biohabitats performed both field reconnaissance as well as desktop data review in order to provide an assessment of existing ecological conditions and identification of opportunities for innovative water and wastewater infrastructure. Key priorities included restoration and preservation of important ecological and hydrologic features in the natural environment, as well as integrated design of the food and farming systems.