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Agroecology - The Future of Farming?

September 23-27 2013

With Colin Tudge, John Letts, Tim Crabtree, Jane Pickard, and Ed Hamer

Contributions from John Crisp (Farm visit), and Ruth West

This course is kindly supported by GAEIA

Fee – £795

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It should be easy to ensure that everyone who is ever born onto this Earth is fed to the highest standards of nutrition and gastronomy – and without destroying our fellow creatures or wrecking the fabric of the planet. This would be the case, argues Colin Tudge, if we adopted what he calls “Enlightened Agriculture” – farming methods based on Agroecology which treats each farm as an ecosystem, with many different kinds of crops and livestock interacting synergistically.

But agroecology is complicated – it is “skills intensive”. To do the job properly Britain would need about a million more farmers (about eight times the present number) and roughly as many artisanal processors (bakers, charcutiers, etc) and retailers to provide local markets.

Could you become an agroecological farmer?

This course details the ‘agroecological’ road back to the land, should you chose to hear the call. It is for all those who would like to learn more or get involved in the agrarian renaissance.

What you can expect to learn


Colin Tudge

Colin Tudge studied zoology and has since then made a living as a broadcaster and writer. He is the author of many books on birds, agriculture, natural history and economics, including most recently Good Food for Everyone Forever, Feeding People is Easy and The Secret Life of Trees. In 2009, he launched, with his wife Ruth, The Campaign for Real Farming (, which incorporates the College for Enlightened Agriculture Then in January 2010, together with Graham Harvey, they organized the first Oxford Real Farming Conference, which now has become an annual event.

Tim Crabtree – Senior Lecturer in Economics

Tim Crabtree has 25 years experience in the third sector, working in policy development and business advisor roles before becoming the chief executive of Local Food Links Ltd, a successful Dorset-based social enterprise which provides vocational training and community education, and delivers user-led catering services in partnership with 23 schools and a range of older people’s organisations.

Tim stepped down as chief executive in May 2010, and worked for Cardiff University, researching the future direction of the community food sector, with Wessex Community Assets, researching the links between renewable energy and food production, and for a number of other clients as a business advisor. Tim has worked with international organisations such as the Resource Centre for Philippine Concerns and the International Institute for Environment and Development, for national organisations such as the New Economics Foundation, and for South West based organisations such as the Bristol & Avon Community Enterprise Network, Dorset Community Action and Wessex Reinvestment Trust group.

Dr Jane Pickard – Head of Ecological Horticulture

Jane completed a BSc in Marine Biology and Oceanography from Bangor University and was then awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to study for her PhD in Zoology from the University of Tasmania. She worked for ten years in applied freshwater research in Australia before moving into permaculture consulting and teaching.

Since returning to the UK in 2010 she has worked with community groups developing food growing projects and was Head Gardener for the Sharpham Trust. She completed the Level 3 Sustainable Horticulture Diploma at Schumacher/Duchy College in 2011. She is particularly interested in learning how to grow enough interesting food crops to make a truly local diet both healthy and enjoyable.

Ed Hamer

Ed makes a comfortable living as a market gardener from two acres on Dartmoor – using small horses and modernized French peasant machinery! He and his fellow farmer, Chinnie Kingsbury, run a Community Supported Agriculture project called Chagfood a scheme that aims to grow and deliver seasonal food within the community, for the community. He’s also the co-editor of The Land, “An Occasional Magazine About Land Rights” founded by veteran land campaigner Simon Fairlie. Read more about Ed here >>

John Crisp farms 120 acres south of Totnes. He has a special interest in cattle on pasture but wants his farm to be as mixed as possible with emphasis on agroforestry.

Ruth West is a co-founder of the Campaign for Real Farming, the Oxford Real Farming Conference, “Funding Enlightened Agriculture”, and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agroecology.


£795 (Price includes accommodation, meditation, all organic vegetarian meals and field trips)


Four half price bursaries available for this course for people who cannot afford the full price. Bursary applicants should send their application, answering the below questions to: Please put Agroecology Bursary in the Subject line. The deadline for the bursary application will be August 9th.


Click here to book this course >>

Click here to find out how to book by fax or mail >>

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