Camphill Village Kimberton Hills

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					                 Camphill Village Kimberton Hills
                                  By Zoe Ruge
            PO Box 1045 · 1601 Pughtown Road · Kimberton, PA 19442
                                 (610) 935-0300

Kimberton Hills at a glance
          Location: Kimberton, PA, in Chester County
          Founded: 1972
          Size: 432 acres of farm, gardens and woodland
          Number of Residents: 110, ~half living with developmental disabilities
          Number of buildings: 17
          Number of cows: ~95
          Cost of Tuition: ~$34,000 per person per year
          Mission Statement: To build community with individuals who have
            special needs in a physically, socially and spiritually therapeutic
            environment. In valuing persons of all abilities, we seek to foster a spirit
            of living that is sustainable, productive, and beautiful. As we are stewards
            of one another, we also nurture and improve the land through sustainable
            agriculture and raising environmental awareness.

        Camphill Village Kimberton Hills is a life-sharing, diverse residential community
for adults of all ages and varied abilities, including those living with developmental
disabilities. Established in 1972, is has flourished to include a bakery, coffee shop,
thriving dairy farm, biodynamic agricultural program, fiber arts and a wood shop.
Located on 432 acres of farm, gardens and woodlands in Chester County, Pennsylvania,
Kimberton Hills is also a local center for culture and a model for sound ecological living.
        Kimberton Hills is actually one of 100 Camphill Villages worldwide which are all
dedicated to enhancing human understanding and dignity through community building
with children, youth and adults who have developmental disabilities. The founder, Karl
König, based the Camphill movement on the anthroposophical work of Rudolf Steiner,
which emphasizes “respect for the spiritual wholeness of each person and the human
possibilities to evolve toward freedom and love.” Sustainable living and land
stewardship are also key components of Camphill Village life with the belief that a
healthy life and a healthy environment are interdependent. It is this connection with the
land and the work that goes into sustaining one’s own community that helps residents
learn a variety of skills and gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Land Use Initiative and Ecological Design
       The farm and gardens at Kimberton Hills are ecologically designed and
biodynamically managed while yielding organic produce. Their dairy practice is also
biodynamic and has actually received a 5-Cow rating, the highest possible, indicating
excellent health of the cows, farm oversight and pasture time for the animals. In addition,

their dairy products are sold at the local Kimberton Whole Foods, and the milk is used to
make Seven Stars yogurt.
        Joan Allen, the architect for all Camphill Village buildings, is a Kimberton Hills
resident and has designed the three new, ecologically designed houses on the farm. The
houses were built to maximize natural light, utilize rooftop solar panels, and incorporate
an innovative wastewater treatment system using a constructed wetland in place of a
conventional septic system. This housing design and wastewater system in particular will
serve as a model for Chester County and beyond as well as serving as an educational and
outreach tool, as part of Kimberton’s mission is to educate about the need for
environmental awareness.

Community Involvement
        Kimberton Hills is strongly committed not only to their own farming community,
but to the larger Chester County community as well. They practice “community
supported agriculture,” or CSA, which invites people from outside Kimberton Hills to
hold shares in the farm and to receive a portion of the weekly harvest. Kimberton Hills
also sells raw milk to the community as well as bringing produce and dairy products to
the local Kimberton Whole Foods to provide fresh, organic and local produce to the
greater community. In addition, people from outside the farm are invited to enjoy the
café, performances, fiber workshop and the Bring and Buy.

Volunteer Opportunities
       Kimberton Hills offers the unique opportunity to learn and practice environmental
stewardship combined with interacting and collaborating with people who have special
needs. There are many opportunities to contribute meaningfully to the life of the village:
Year of Service, co-worker, garden apprentice, intern, or day volunteer.
To learn more, visit

Biodynamic farming is based upon careful observations of the earth and involves
preparations similar to homeopathic remedies which are applied to the soil or plants at
appropriate times throughout the year to renew its vitality. A diversity of cultivated land,
pastures for animals, woodlands and gardens further enriches the land and creates a “farm
organism” with dynamic, living energy. Tied strongly with land stewardship, this
practice involves reading the signs of the land, working the land in natural systems, crop
rotation and using organic fertilizers. In this way Kimberton Hills is healing its
environment – not just using the land, but improving it - while producing milk,
vegetables, fruit and herbs that are healthy, organic and free of toxins.

Anthroposophy is a human-oriented spiritual philosophy that reflects and speaks to the
basic deep spiritual questions of humanity, our basic artistic needs, the need to relate to
the world out of a scientific attitude of mind, and the need to develop a relation to the
world in complete freedom, based on completely individual judgments and decisions.
Anthroposophy also is an impulse to nurture the life of the soul in the individual and in
human society, meaning among other things to nurture the respect for and interest in
other people on a purely human basis, independent of their origin and views. It has

inspired not only the Camphill movement and biodynamic farming, but also the Waldorf
Schools and curative education. (Source:
Miniature Biographies of Kimberton Hills Key Players

Diedra Heitzman (Kimberton Hills Executive Director) has been the executive director
of Camphill Village Kimberton Hills since 2001, and has been a resident of Kimberton
Hills since 1983. She received her masters in social work from the University of
Michigan as well as receiving training in psychosophy, crisis prevention and
psychopharmacology. During her time a Kimberton Hills she has directed admissions,
coordinated the Side-By-Side on-site service-learning program for college age volunteers,
given talks on sustainable community and sustainable building and led the successful
sustainable building project that produced the two ecologically designed houses
completed in 2004.

Joan deRis Allen (Camphill Village Architect) was born January 20, 1931. She
graduated from Columbia University School of Architecture in 1956 and practiced as an
independent architect in the United States until 1968. At that time, together with her
husband Paul Marshall Allen and two young children, she emigrated to England. In 1970,
she founded Camphill Architects at Botton Village, Yorkshire, with Gabor Talló. Over
the years her architectural work has taken her to Ireland, Scotland, and Norway,
designing buildings in Europe, North America and Africa. Joan now lives and works in
Kimberton Hills, Pennsylvania. In 1970, she published Living Buildings, Halls and
Chapels of the Camphill Movement for the fiftieth anniversary of the Camphill
Movement. She is author with Paul Marshall Allen of The Time Is at Hand!; Francis of
Assisi, Canticle of the Creatures; and Fingal’s Cave, the Poems of Ossian and Celtic

Sebastian Kretschmer (Kimberton Hills Head Gardener) was born in the Alps of
southern Germany and grew up in rural Bavaria. At the age of 19 he started working in a
village for mistreated children and went on to work in organic vegetable gardens. After
training for two years at Camphill Village Oaklands Park in England, he and his wife
traveled through the United States, when, in 1999, he started working in the vegetable
gardens at Camphill Copake, New York. He returned to Germany where he graduated in
2004 with an MS in organic agriculture. In February of the same year he joined Camphill
Village Kimberton Hills, and ever since has been committed to the goal of the Kimberton
gardens: to grow beautiful, delicious, and healthy vegetables for Camphill Kimberton and
all Sankanac CSA members.

Zoe Ruge
Environmental Studies Senior Seminar
Fall 2007

Camphill Village Kimberton Hills – Directions

Destination: Camphill Village Kimberton Hills
             1601 Pughtown Rd, Kimberton, PA (Chester County)

Directions to Kimberton Hills from Bryn Mawr College (shortest time, est. 40 min, 20.6 mi):
         Go southwest on N Merion Ave toward Montgomery Ave
         Turn right onto Montgomery Ave (2.7 Miles)
         Take ramp on Left to merge onto I-76 West toward Valley Forge (2.1 miles)
         Take exit 328B-A toward West Chester/King of Prussia/Pottstown/Swedesford Rd (0.4 miles)
         Merge onto West Valley Forge Rd/PA-23 West toward Valley Forge (0.2 miles)
         Turn Right onto North Gulph Rd/PA-23/PA-363 (7.3 miles)
         Turn Left onto Kimberton Rd/PA-113 (~2 miles)
         Turn Right onto Coldstream Rd (follow until end)
         Turn Left onto Kimberton Rd (which turns into Pughtown Rd) (1.2 miles)
         Camphill Village Kimberton Hills is on the right. Follow driveway up to the hill top.
         Either park in the roundabout in front of Kepler or go a little further up the driveway to the
             parking lot on the right, across the road from the café.

Directions to Kimberton Hills from Bryn Mawr College (avoiding highways, est. 43 min, 19.6 mi):
         Go southwest on N Merion Ave toward Montgomery Ave
         Turn Right onto Montgomery Ave (3.3 miles)
         Continue on road as it becomes South Gulph Rd (5.4 miles)
         Continue on road as it becomes PA-23 (7.1 miles)
         Turn Left onto Kimberton Rd/PA-113 (~2 miles)
         Turn Right onto Coldstream Rd (follow until end)
         Turn Left onto Kimberton Rd (which turns into Pughtown Rd) (1.2 miles)
         Camphill Village Kimberton Hills is on the right. Follow driveway up to the hill top.
         Either park in the roundabout in front of Kepler or go a little further up the driveway to the
             parking lot on the right, across the road from the café.

Google Street Map,

*I prefer the route that avoided highways because it was the simplest, especially in a big van. Driving is
necessary, unfortunately, as there is no public transportation which goes all the way to Kimberton Hills.

Zoe Ruge
Environmental Studies Senior Seminar
Fall 2007

Camphill Village Kimberton Hills – Contacts

   Camphill Village Kimberton Hills, Inc.
    PO Box 1045
    1601 Pughtown Road
    Kimberton, PA 19442

    Tel (610) 935-0300
    Fax (610) 935-8896

   Admissions and Volunteer information
    Tel (610) 935-3963

   Diedra Heitzman (Kimberton Hills Executive Director)
    Tel (610) 935-0300

   Bernadette Kovaleski (Kimberton Hills Development and Public Relations)
    Tel (610) 935-0300 (ext. 12)

*I initially contacted Kimberton Hills by calling their general number and first
communicated with Bernadette. She was very helpful and made contact easy. She
immediately set up an appointment and gave me a tour the next week. When I first met
her in September 2007 she had only been with Kimberton Hills for a few months, so
could not answer all of my questions, but by the time other students contact Kimberton
Hills she will be an invaluable contact. She is responsible for grant writing, researching
and applying for new sustainable practices and public relations, so students who want to
get involved with projects on that end should definitely talk with her.
*Bernadette put me in contact with the executive director, Diedra, who is an invaluable
resource, as she has lived at Kimberton Hills for 25 years. She understands the founding
principles, events, projects, and architecture of the entire village. Diedra was my primary
contact, with whom I developed the field trip and who organized a tour of the farm with
the head gardener.
*I think initial contact via phone is best, followed by an in-person meeting. After this
initial communication, the little details are best addressed by email.

*I think future students will end up communicating with Bernadette because of her job
and because she is easier to contact, but depending on their project, students may end up
working primarily with Diedra.
Zoe Ruge
Environmental Studies Senior Seminar
Fall 2007

Camphill Village Kimberton Hills – Student Opportunities

        Kimberton Hills holds some great opportunities for environmental studies student
involvement, but I do not think projects deviating from their established volunteer
program would be easy to implement. Anyone is encouraged to volunteer in the garden
or with the residents, either for a day or on weekends throughout the year. Students also
have the opportunity to intern at Kimberton Hills, working mostly with land stewardship
and learning from the head gardener, Sebastian Kretschmer. The potential projects I see
being valuable for BMC-HC environmental studies students are working with research
into new and innovative green designs and landscape management. The executive
director, Diedra Heitzman, is excited about the possibility of students performing this
work, as Kimberton Hills is short on time and people they can devote to such research.
This process would allow students to learn about sustainable opportunities, feasibility of
implementation, grant writing, and application of green practices, which they can then
apply to any other organization or building in the future. Such projects would require
strong personal motivation from the student and a well-planned agenda.

        The most exciting up-coming opportunity for student involvement is the Camphill
North America EcoConference (not the official title) being held at Kimberton Hills in
March 2008. This conference will be a meeting of the directors from all of the North
American Camphill villages to discuss their current sustainable practices, which are
working, which are not, and future possibilities. This would be a great opportunity for
students interested in getting involved with the organization and implementation of such
events, green design and technology, and intimately working with foundations like

        Even if long-term projects turn out to be unfeasible, I believe Kimberton Hills is a
valuable field trip experience, exposing students to a variety of sustainable practices and
how they benefit community life. Kimberton Hills can serve as a tangible representation
of the practices and innovations environmental studies students peripherally learn about
in classes and readings. The practices implemented at Kimberton Hills are simple yet
significant and hold possibilities that students may not have considered for this campus,
their homes or in their own personal practices. In this way Kimberton Hills can serve as
a model for ecological living, not only within Kimberton and Chester County, but for the
Bryn Mawr and Haverford campuses as well.

Zoe Ruge
Environmental Studies Senior Seminar
Fall 2007

Camphill Village Kimberton Hills – Field Trip Curriculum

Field Trip Itinerary
       Destination: Camphill Village Kimberton Hills, Kimberton, PA
       Date: Tuesday, November 6, 2007
       Departure: 1 pm
       Return: 5 pm
       Number of participants: 4, plus me

Pre-field trip
Participants received a packet I prepared (via email) introducing them to Kimberton Hills
and how the village incorporates sustainable practices into their community life. The
packet also included background information on biodynamic farming, anthroposophy,
and Kimberton’s community leaders who led the tour.

Day of the field trip
I met the trip participants at 1 pm in Pem Arch, leaving the arch at 1:10 pm. I drove the
45 minute drive avoiding highways in a reserved BMC van. We arrived at Kimberton
Hills precisely at 2 pm, as planned, and met with the executive director, Diedra Heitzman
in her office. The trip began with an explanation of Kimberton Hills, an overview of
their sustainable practices and how the community benefits from those practices. Diedra
then led us on a tour of the farm, starting with a walk through the village down to the
barn, where the head gardener, Sebastian Kretschmer, explained biodynamic farming,
community supported agriculture, and biodiesel production. Diedra led us back up the
hill where we explored the buildings on the farm, including the community center, the
currently-under-renovation café, and the three new “green” houses. We left Kimberton
Hills ~4 pm and arrived back at Bryn Mawr by 5 pm.

Post-field trip
On the drive back participants filled out questionnaires on the field trip addressing met
expectations, valuable aspects of the tour, level of understanding of topics discussed,
viable volunteering options and which observed sustainable practices they could see
being adopted in the Bi-Co. We then had a group discussion on the experience and I
discussed the opportunities for Environmental Studies students to get involved at
Kimberton Hills.

Learning Goals
This field trip exposed the participants to sustainable practices, how they work, are
implemented, and ultimately shape community life. The overarching goal of this field

trip was for environmental studies students to experience sustainable agricultural
practices and green building design. I wanted students to observe these methods and be
inspired to consider sustainable possibilities in the Bi-Co.
Curriculum Critique

        The background packet was a very informative and useful overview of Kimberton
Hills, and was a nice introduction to Diedra’s explanation of Kimberton Hills and its
practices. The tour was great, familiarizing students with all aspects of the village, not
just the environmental practices, and was led by very knowledgeable community
members who are leaders in their fields. I think having the trip broken into segments led
by different community leaders based upon their job and expertise was an effective field
trip method. In this approach topics were explained in a complete and passionate manner
by the community members who are involved with those practices every day.

        What was interesting was that I had never spoken with Sebastian, but dealt
directly with Diedra who arranged for Sebastian to be part of the tour. This meant that
we had never definitively discussed what he would cover. He discussed all of the topics I
wanted to address, but then also spontaneously described their biodiesel production and
use, which ended up being the most significant portion of the trip, which students
excitingly commented on and wanted to bring to the Bi-Co.

        Something that worked, which I had not expected to, was an explanation of the
green housing design given by the executive director. It had originally been my hope that
the architect herself, Joan Allen, would be present to discuss green architecture with us,
but she was out of town the day of our trip. Despite this, the buildings were adequately
explained by Diedra, who is actually quite proficient when it comes to green design.

        What did not work so well was conducting a field trip on Election Day. That was
poor planning on my part, and I hadn’t even realized I had done it until the day of the
trip. Something else that did not turn out as expected was that Diedra did not
satisfactorily explain the opportunities for environmental studies students at Kimberton
Hills. I ended up discussing them with the students myself, but I thought they would
have sounded more plausible and inviting coming from the executive director.

        Another disappointment was that the time of day the trip was held meant the
participants missed having lunch with residents, as I had originally intended. I thought
this event would have been the perfect interaction between the students and village
members, since daily lunch is part of their routine, involves complete community
participation and exemplifies the lifestyle fostered at Kimberton Hills.

Zoe Ruge
Environmental Studies Senior Seminar
Fall 2007

Camphill Village Kimberton Hills – Field Trip Report
        I used the activities list-serve to recruit field trip attendees and received 20+
responses. Unfortunately, I had given them an option of trip day, so in the end I only had
6 people who could make it on any given day, and from that only 4 people showed up.
The ensemble was quite eclectic considering I was expecting to have all environmental
studies concentrators. The group was comprised of a senior geology major (me), senior
psychology major, junior cities major, sophomore undecided and a member of the Bryn
Mawr staff. Only two of us were actually ES concentrators.

        I had received my van certification and reserved the van the week before the trip.
The ride was very pleasant in the beautiful weather and the van handled nicer than
expected. I decided to take the route that avoided the highway, driving through King Of
Prussia and Valley Forge because it was easier and more comfortable than the highway in
an unfamiliar vehicle. During the 45 minute drive we chatted about why people had been
interested in coming on this trip, what Kimberton Hills was about and why I chose to take
people on this trip. As the trip dragged on, my passengers did comment on the length of
the trip, perhaps reflecting concerns they were having about the possibility for future
work at this site.

        We arrived at Camphill Village Kimberton Hills exactly on time. Diedra
Heitzman, the executive director, was ready for us and started the trip off by sitting in her
comfy office and telling us the brief history of Camphill Villages, Kimberton Hills, the
Myrin family estate upon which it was built, and the overall goals and operations of their
community. This was a strong introduction for the attendees because it was a thorough
yet concise explanation of Kimberton Hills coming from a community resident of 25
years who is passionate and knowledgeable about the village. I think it helped to clarify
the things I tried to explain as an outsider in the info packet I had sent to them a couple of
days before. The trip attendees learned about the sustainable motivations behind the
decision of the Myrin family to leave the farm to Camphill and the ways in which
Kimberton Hills reaches out and interacts with the greater Kimberton community through
their community supported agriculture (CSA), café, performances and produce at the
Kimberton Whole Foods market.

        We then set out across the village, walking from the hill top, where the café,
clinic, main offices, and community center are located, down to the barn. The head
gardener, Sebastian Kretschmer, had been expecting us earlier, and we caught him in the
middle of a shift change when all of the afternoon farmers were coming to work. I
actually think this little snafu was a positive occurrence because the trip attendees had an
opportunity to see the people who live and work in the village, ranging from volunteers,

to co-workers, to villagers with developmental disabilities, all working together to
support the farm and each other, perfectly exemplifying what Kimberton Hills and
Camphill Villages in general are all about. Sebastian talked at length about the
agricultural practices of Kimberton Hills, starting with a passionate description of
anthroposophy, the philosophy upon which Camphill was founded, which involves land
stewardship and biodynamic farming.

        I think the tour of the barn and gardens was the most fun for the attendees. They
got to pet the pigs, learned about the CSA and the mechanics behind the greenhouses. I
think the CSA was really enlightening because it was a practice that the attendees could
recognize as a viable avenue to greater community support and involvement. Sebastian
also took the time to show us their biodiesel workshop. This was an unexpected addition
to the tour, but probably the most engaging for the attendees. He explained the whole
process of biodiesel production and showed us the vehicles they have running on it. This
was the part of the trip most reflected upon in the post-trip evaluations. The attendees
were very responsive to Sebastian’s passion and showed great interest in adopting
biodiesel at Bryn Mawr.

        We made our way back up the hill to the three new “green” buildings on the farm,
in addition to walking through the community center and the currently-under-renovation
café. These buildings afforded attendees the opportunity to see innovative, low
consumption, sustainable construction coupled with aesthetically pleasing, comfortable
and beautiful design. Diedra did a great job as our tour guide, but it was a little
disappointing that the Camphill architect and Kimberton Hills resident Joan Allen could
not talk with us about her experiences as an architect and with sustainable design. I think
the attendees were excited to see these buildings and to learn that they were powered at
least in part by an onsite solar array and that the landscaping was designed to
innovatively accommodate rain run-off with flower beds and a miniature wetland. It was
great to be guided through these buildings because one might not have noticed the green
enhancements since they are so thoroughly and comfortably incorporated into the design.
These innovations include solar tubes instead of lights, pale and translucent wall paint for
solar retention, window and awning placement for efficient solar radiation reception, and
efficient insulation and building shape so air conditioning is not needed for cooling. I
think students appreciated the subtle and simple yet profound innovations and could see
the possibility and value of implementing these green design practices on campus and

       Ultimately, the trip attendees got excited about the environmental practices
Kimberton Hills employs and appreciated the learning experience. Everyone expressed
an interest in implementing some of the green practices at Bryn Mawr, especially the
biodiesel production. In the end, however, I do not think students got very excited about
working at Kimberton Hills, and I got the impression that they were deterred by the
distance. It would serve as a great field trip experience and green example for future
students, but may not develop beyond that point. If I were to lead another trip to
Kimberton Hills I would coordinate a project or activity so trip attendees would have the
opportunity to get involved, work side by side with villagers and gain valuable

experiences. A tour alone can take up to two hours, but an abbreviated tour culminating
in an on-site project could be an even more valuable experience for environmental studies