Now that the work of the College is well under way again our attention turns to making
the college more accessible. Our first priority must be to create a bursary fund
to support students who can not afford private education. I am very pleased to report
that the Biodynamic Agricultural College is launching a broad based appeal to funders
to support this goal. Supporting a bursary fund for biodynamic education is good
for youngsters, good for society and good for the Earth.
Since our last newsletter 11 students have graduated and I would like to take this
opportunity to congratulate them all. We are so proud and happy at the thought of
the positive work that they will go on to contribute to our world.
With all good wishes for the summer,
With best wishes,
Chair, Biodynamic Association
Online Course in Biodynamics
The staff at the Biodynamic Agricultural College is busy at the moment developing
an online course in biodynamics. The course will consist of 10 core modules and several
optional ones. For each module we are writing a module book with the core text, and
we are also filming 40 video clips this summer to accompany the online learning.
We have been doing pilot films with three professional production companies, and
we have just selected the best one - by the end of June we will be in the spot light,
explaining the ins and outs of biodynamics in an interactive way!
The first module, "Introduction into Biodynamics" will go 'live' in January 2012,
followed by "Farm Organism", "Spray Preparations" and "Astronomy". There will also
be some optional modules, covering applied biodynamics, such as "Urban Food Production"
- which is an increasingly relevant topic in the many urban areas of the world.
We have started taking applications for the first modules and the first bookings
have already come in! This course is being developed because of the huge amount of
interest in biodynamics in many parts of the world - but often people are unable
to travel to the UK, or take time out of work or family commitments. We do expect
people to be connected to agriculture or horticulture in their daily life, such as
working on a farm or having a large allotment. The modules consist of the module
books, online content, video clips and of course study and practical exercises that
the course participants are required to do at home.
If you would like to know more, please visit our online course page at:
From this year onwards the students on the Biodynamic Organic Agriculture Training
and the Biodynamic Organic Horticulture Training will be offered the possibility
to train in working with horses as part of their course. For this we have started
a cooperative project with the Working Horse Trust based in nearby Eridge.
The future of fossil fuel is uncertain, and many students realise this - and are
very interested to explore alternatives to tractors and machines. Working with horses
is an extremely rewarding practice, and we are excited to be able to offer our students
the possibility to learn some of the basic skills in working with horses.
We are looking at the possibilities of offering a new course alongside the existing
agriculture and horticulture courses - specifically in the art of working with horses
on biodynamic farms. Watch this space - and if you are interested in a course in
"Biodynamic Working Horsemanship" please let us know!
Cooperation with College in Ghana
Earlier this week we signed an agreement with Job's Agricultural College in Ghana
about the Biodynamic Agricultural College helping them with the training of 20-40
new teachers in organic and biodynamic agriculture! Job's Agricultural College is
an established college near the port city of Tema in Ghana, where youngsters, often
from very poor backgrounds, are receiving professional training in farming skills.
With these skills and knowledge, the young people go back to the countryside where
they usually have access to the family farm, in order to convert the farm to organic
or biodynamic cultivation. These young people are then able to make a living for
themselves and their families from growing both self-sufficiency crops as well as
cash crops for the local market or even for export. Ghana is one of the largest exporters
of cocoa, and has also an ideal climate for other tropical crops such as coffee,
rubber, papaya and vanilla.
At the moment we are trying to raise the necessary funds so that this exciting project
can get off to a good start - if you are willing to help financially, please make
send your cheques to the address at the bottom of this email, with a not that the
money is for the "Ghana Project". I would also be very happy to send you the complete
project description, a 15 page document which shows what, when and why we are doing
Robert Tilsley and Becky Elco, both graduates of the Biodynamic Agricultural College,
married last week in a beautiful ceremony held in the sheep barn at Tablehurst Farm.
Robert is the vegetable grower at this unique biodynamic community farm, and Becky
is responsible for the three residents with special needs. Rob graduated in 2008
and subsequently worked on a vegetable farm in Herefordshire. Last year he took over
as the vegetable grower at Tablehurst Farm, expanding the cropping area from four
acres to six and increasing the number of polytunnels from three to seven! Most of
his vegetables are sold through the Tablehurst Farm shop.
Becky is originally from Canada and has worked on a number of organic farms in her
home country. Two years ago she decided she wanted to do a formal training and she
enrolled on the Biodynamic Organic Agriculture Training. In March this year she graduated
with excellent grades. Together Rob and Becky are the most wonderful young farming
couple - and we wish them the best of luck in a happy married life!