A sustainable future needs skilled, knowledgeable and passionate new farmers and gardeners, who understand the earth as a whole.
There is no better way to learn holistic biodynamic/organic farming than ‘on the job’. Work Based students join a biodynamic/organic farm or garden for a period of two years and learn alongside an experienced professional, similar to an apprenticeship training.
The Crossfields Institute Level 3 Diploma in Biodynamic Farming and Gardening (VRQ) is designed and delivered by us, the BDAC, to support each student in learning – both practically and theoretically, building the resilience and confidence needed to ‘change the world’.
Practically, you learn the skills needed to run a smallholding or an enterprise within a larger farm organism. Alongside these practical skills, students take block seminars during the winter months, when work on the farm is quieter. During these block courses all of the students from across the country gather to consider the aspects of the farm that contribute to the farm organism: soils, plants, animals and how we as individuals can creatively contribute to the environment and community. You will be supported to study and understand the knowledge and underlying principles of Biodynamic Agriculture to complement the practical skills you gain working on the farm. Seminars will teach you knowledge and skills to supplement your practical experience.
Sustainable agriculture offers solutions for future challenges connected to climate, environment, nutrition, health, economy and well being. By training to work in biodynamic agriculture, you can be part of these solutions for the future!
This Crossfields Institute Level 3 Diploma in Biodynamic Farming and Gardening (VRQ) is an Ofqual regulated accreditation, awarded and certified by Crossfields Institute. The Biodynamic Agricultural College has designed and will deliver the training. The Biodynamic Agricultural College is a satellite organisation of the Biodynamic Association, whose Board of Studies has endorsed the training.
The BD students should have some experience in land based work. A minimum of six months is recommended to be able to follow the course requirements and be equipped to manage the farm and garden based learning. An ability for self guided study and learning as well as openness for biodynamic perspectives are essential. The student should be able to study at a Level 3 and be physically able to work in a farm environment throughout the seasons. Farms require to follow H&S, general rules of conduct and sometimes a driving license. Occasional long working hours and weekend work will be required at most training centres. An equivalent to GCSE level education and minimum age of 18 years is required, however 21 years is recommended. There is no upper age limit.
Here are some links that offer you some first experiences in biodynamic/organic farming or gardening. After a few months, you might like to apply to our courses to deepen your experiences and get a professional accredited training.
How it works
First, you find yourself a training centre (farm/garden) from the list and apply to become an employed trainee. This will give you the experience needed and provide sufficient funds for accommodation, meals and study/diploma costs.
Once you have secured a placement, apply to register with us, BDAC for the “Crossfields Institute Level 3 Diploma in Biodynamic Farming and Gardening (VRQ)”. Then you will get individual support and guidance for your two year journey of experience and study. We will give you a work book, that guides you through all units to enable you to build your portfolio for the Diploma.
Start date: as most farms require the students to start in spring or autumn, the first seminar will by in October for most students. However, you can join any time, as the seminars are on a continuous rotation and made flexible for your and farming/gardening needs.
The training costs £700 at registration, followed by 24 monthly regular payments of £420. You will be able to pay for this, by what you earn on your placement. They cover:
- registration – application form
- on farm training – two years
- seminars – ten weeks, incl. teaching, accommodation and meals
- portfolio guidance
- certification – at UK level 3 and EU -EQF level 4
- individual support (through an annual visit to your farm, email, phone and tutorials during the seminars)
Follow this link for an overview of the units that make up the qualification: WBD Unit Overview
Seminars provide class room and outdoor teaching, exercises, artistic activities, about 30 teachers from a range of professional backgrounds and offer opportunity to meet fellow students from across the UK, scheduled for the next year: Seminar Overview
Work Placements / Training centres
- Plaw Hatch Farm – CSA
- Laines Organic Farm
- Fern Verrow
- Yatesbury House Farm
- Huxham Cross Farm
- Tablehurst Farm & Garden – CSA
- Hungary Lane Farm
- Lauriston Farm
- Stroud Community Agriculture – CSA
- Camphill Ballybay
- Camphill Grangemockler – Templemichael Farm
- Loch Arthur Camphill Community
- Camphill Community Duffcarrig
- Scroggie Hall farm
- Pishwanton Project
- Cait Curran