A sustainable future needs skilled, knowledgeable and passionate new farmers and gardeners.
The Crossfields Institute Level 3 Diploma in Biodynamic Farming and Gardening provides a two-year training which combines the development of practical skills alongside the development of deeper understanding which are needed for a new generation of farmers and gardeners. This training is designed along the lines of a classical apprenticeship, combining practical and theoretical learning with the aim of building confidence and resilience in producing high quality food in a way that works cooperatively with nature, just what is needed to make the world a better place. Sustainable agriculture offers solutions for current challenges and potential for positive change in areas such as climate, environment, health, and economics. This training prepares students to be part of this positive change in the world.
By working alongside experienced practitioners and being actively involved in the management of a biodynamic/organic farm or garden, students gain the ‘on the job’ skills needed to run a production enterprise. Alongside the development of practical skills, students take seminars during the winter months when the practical work is less busy. These courses bring students from all over the country together to consider biodynamic principles, aspects of a farm and garden and how these can work together harmoniously with nature. They include classroom and outdoor teaching, artistic activities and plenty of discussions. Students have more than 30 teachers each with a professional background that offers students insight into many different areas of expertise. These complement the practical experience gained in day-to-day work, offering the opportunity to work meaningfully in creating practical solutions for the future.
With more than 20 years experience in the provision of agricultural education, we are pleased to offer this unique professional training, the only certified level 3 diploma in the agroecological sector in the UK.
Accreditationmore about accreditation
Entry Requirementsmore about entry requirements
Students should be willing and able to physically work in an agricultural environment throughout the seasons and to work in the normal routines of the placement. This can sometimes mean long working hours and weekend work. Each training centre will also have their own requirements including the respect of health and safety, general rules of conduct and possibly the need for a valid driving license.
If you currently have no practical experience and are interested in the training, there are a few ways to gain some practical experience. Some of the training centres offer seasonal volunteer placements, or you can take a look at the links below for routes to gain experience.
How it worksmore about the practicalities and costs
Students identify a work placement in a farm or garden from the list of training centres below. When you begin the work placement you become an employed trainee at the training centre which includes a contract with the farm for working hours (usually 35-44 hours per week with seasonal flexibility) and a wage (all farms pay at least minimum wage). These wages should be enough to cover your living expenses and the cost of your training (which is a £700 initial payment followed by 24 monthly payments of £450). These payments include all the costs of your training on and off the farm: nearly 50 days of seminars, accommodation and lunches during the seminars, personal support, quality assurance, registration and assessment.
There is no specific date for starting the training, this is usually done in negotiation with the training centre and although it is often most convenient for a training centre to have new students joining in Spring or Autumn, enrollments for the diploma course are welcome throughout the year. The seminars are on a continuous rotation and are flexible to meet students’ needs.
Documentsdocuments to download
The following Work Placements / Training Centres have placements available – contact them directly to start your practical training
- Waltham Place – commercial estate with emphasis on conservation and ecosystem
- Loch Arthur Camphill Community – therapeutic community farm/garden: vegetables, fruit, flowers
- Lauriston Farm – therapeutic community farm/garden: animals, vegetables, conservation landscape
- Camphill Grangemockler – Templemichael Farm -therapeutic community farm/garden: animals, arable, vegetables
- Sturts Farm and Garden – therapeutic community farm/garden: animals, arable, vegetables
- Fern Verrow – commercial small holding: vegetables, fruit, flowers, animals
- Plaw Hatch Farm – CSA – large commercial CSA farm/garden: vegetables
- ASHA Centre – therapeutic garden: vegetables, fruit, flowers, herbs
- Garvald Farm – therapeutic community farm/garden: animals, vegetables
- Yatesbury House Farm – large commercial farm: animals, arable
- Tablehurst Farm & Garden – CSA – large commercial CSA farm: animals, vegetables, arable
- Akiki Organics – commercial garden: vegetables, fruit, chickens
- Laines Organic Farm – commercial garden: vegetables, fruit
- Camphill Ballybay – therapeutic community farm/garden: animals, vegetables
- Cait Curran – small commercial garden: vegetables, nutrition courses
- Laverstoke Farm – commercial farm: dairy, parkland
- Camphill Grangebeg – therapeutic community farm/garden: animals, vegetables
- Camphill Community Duffcarrig -therapeutic community farm/garden: animals, vegetables
The following centres currently have NO vacancies:
- Weleda – commercial garden: medicinal herbs & plants, seeds
- Huxham Cross Farm – large commercial CSA farm/garden: vegetables, fruit
- Hungary Lane Farm – large commercial farm: animals, arable, vegetables
- Stroud Community Agriculture – CSA – commercial CSA farm/garden: vegetables, animals