Courses Overview >> Undergraduate Courses >> Regenerative Food and Farming

Regenerative Food and Farming

Key Info

  • Explore leading-edge alternatives to mainstream agricultural practices and food systems
  • Draw from Dartington's pioneering work in the field of agroforestry
  • Grapple with the challenge of how we can build a thriving and resilient food and farming sector

About this course

When examining environmental and social sustainability, food systems are key. Sustainable farming practices can regenerate natural resources and rural economies, but they are only feasible if supported by retailers and consumers.

Consumer choices are governed by culture: education, cost, marketing and convenience. In order to create a more sustainable food system, we must first understand the system as a whole. Where are the barriers and opportunities? Where are the entry points for effective change? How can we build a thriving and resilient food and farming sector? What roles will food production and food enterprise play in shaping future food systems?

Applications are open for a September 2021 start. Click below to apply online (form opens in new window/tab). Application deadline: 1 July 2021

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The BSc in Regenerative Food and Farming gives you the opportunity to explore leading-edge alternatives to mainstream agricultural practices and food systems. Students will do this through a programme of integrated experiential learning, study alongside expert faculty and practitioners, meaningful work placement, and guided independent projects.

During your time in Schumacher College’s BSc in Regenerative Food and Farming, you will live and learn in a residential community environment on the stunning 1,200-acre Dartington Estate, which has been devoted to exploring sustainable agricultural practices since its establishment in 1925. In 2012, we renewed this focus with a manifesto to develop the estate land as an exemplar of agroecological practice. Most recently, in 2020, Dartington Trust focused its mission on being a centre for regenerative living and learning which fully integrates ecology, social justice, and the arts in an educational context.

Dartington, Totnes and South Devon have a vibrant ethical, local food culture supported by the world-renowned Transition Town Totnes. This setting offers a unique and exciting place from which to explore the future of sustainable and regenerative food and farming.



Careers and employability

This course has been designed to guide you to and prepare you for entering this exciting sector in a range of roles. The expertise you develop throughout the course will enable you to either work in farming or food business at a managerial level, or in advisory roles for sustainable farming and food businesses. There will also be opportunities for careers for those specialising in sustainable production, environmental protection and agricultural conservation.

Where will I study?

You'll be based on the stunning Dartington Estate - a countryside estate that includes Schumacher College’s regenerative growing spaces, leading examples of permaculture and agroforesty in practice, as well as a traditional English country Deer Park. You'll also have access to glasshouses, polytunnels and related resources.

This course is subject to final approval from the University of Plymouth.

Programme information / apply now

IMPORTANT: Please ensure you consult our Applicant Information for full information on tuition fees and other key information about our courses.

You can then return to this page for programme-specific information and to make your course application.

Regenerative Food and Farming

Applications are open for a September 2021 start. Click below to apply online (form opens in new window/tab). Application deadline: 1 July 2021

APPLY NOW

The programme will build upon a strong foundation of theory and study skills in the first year, with subsequent years deepening understanding, developing analytical skills and gaining practical experience in the field and in business. 

Year 1

Global Food systems
Food & farming business sits within the context of a global food system. This module gives an overview of the system as a whole and the multiple factors at play, for example, supply chains, economics, policy, food security, food justice, culture and public health. Students will learn and apply academic study skills to explore the ethical, environmental and socio-political implications of the food system.

The Evolution and Revolutions of Agriculture
This module contextualises modern agriculture by exploring how farming has evolved over time, through four ‘revolutions’, to be what it is today. Students explore the environmental and social impacts of different modern approaches alongside economic advantages and disadvantages. This will form a foundation upon which students will make comparisons, judgements and ultimately choices about agricultural systems.

Environmental and Agricultural Biosciences
This module provides a foundation of scientific theory for understanding of the biological and ecological factors relating to food production. Students will learn the basic principles of ecological systems, plant physiology, animal physiology and soil biology.
Ecological and regenerative

Ecological and Regenerative Agriculture
This module introduces the concepts of Agroecology and Regenerative Agriculture, and a broad range of sustainable food production methods currently in use. Students will begin by exploring measures of sustainability and apply those to a critical analysis of ‘sustainable’ food production systems and methods, drawing comparisons with some of the conventional approaches discussed in the Agricultural Systems module.

Food and Health
Examining the ways in which individuals, communities, and societies produce, distribute, and consume food is a core part of regenerative food and farming, but nutrition policy is often overlooked within this paradigm. In this module students will study the relationship between food and health, and how nutrition policy might influence both food production and processing and personal and public health.

Introduction to Agri-food Business
An introduction to key business management principles, strategies and functions within the Agri-food business context, such as financial management; business strategy; the marketing environment; business analysis; consultancy; and report preparation. Students will learn about the main types of agri-food businesses in the UK and utilise an analytical and problem-solving approach to analyse business ideas.

Year 2

Practical Research Methods
This module will enable students to design and conduct their own scientific research trial in a chosen area of interest. They will learn practical research methods and apply them to self-designed trials, the results of which will be individually and collectively presented for critical analysis by the students themselves. This learning will then be applied to the interpretation and critical analysis of existing research.

Agri-food Marketing and Markets
This module covers the essential knowledge and skills required for effective agri-food marketing for businesspeople and consultants in the sector. This will include the study of the different types of UK and global agri-food markets and an exploration of the factors affecting consumer attitudes and behaviours. Students will learn the key principles of and strategies for effectively marketing ‘sustainable’ food products.

Crop Production Science
Building upon Environmental and Agricultural Biosciences in Level 4, this module will expand knowledge of plant biology and physiology and apply that knowledge for good crop management, plant growth and health, including a range of approaches and methods for pest and disease prevention and treatment. Students will learn how to evaluate system health through plant, soil and biodiversity indicators.

Farming with Animals
The scientific principles underlying the health and well-being of livestock with the application of scientific knowledge through a range of practical skills and tools. Students will explore a range of sustainable and ethical management approaches including mixed farming systems. Building upon knowledge gained in Level 4 modules Environmental & Agricultural Biosciences and Ecological and Regenerative Agriculture.

Animal-free Farming
Industrial livestock farming can have negative animal welfare and environmental impacts, leading many people to choose plant-based diets. This module explores regenerative approaches to maintaining soil fertility and system health without the use of animal inputs. Using case studies and research, the practical, economic, social and environmental implications of animal-free farming will be evaluated.

Professional Practice
Observing business theory in practice with an 8-week period of work-based learning within an appropriate farming and/or food business which demonstrates a sustainability ethos and sustainable practices. The student will analyse and evaluate operational systems, reflecting on their apparent efficacy, advantages and disadvantages. Students will develop practical skills and gain relevant career experience.

This module enables the student to see business theory in practice with an 8-week period of work-based learning within an appropriate farming and/or food business which demonstrates a sustainability ethos and sustainable practices. The student will observe and analyse management approaches, reflecting on their apparent efficacy, advantages and disadvantages. This period will also provide an opportunity to develop practical skills and gain relevant career experience.

Research Practice
Observing research in practice with an 8-week period of work-based learning within an appropriate academic research organisation which undertakes agri-food research projects with sustainability foci. The student will analyse the way in which scientific research projects are conducted within an academic environment. This period will also provide an opportunity to develop practical skills and gain relevant career experience.
Observing the way in which a research organisation is run during an 8-week period of work-based learning within an appropriate academic research organisation which undertakes agri-food projects with sustainability foci. The student will analyse the strategic, management and operational approaches in use. This period will also provide an opportunity to develop practical skills and gain relevant career experience.

Year 3

Honours Research Project Introduction
The student chooses from a range of project briefs to undertake a self-directed study for their own research, investigation, project or business proposal resulting in a report of their findings, a project proposal or a business plan. In this first part, students are guided in using time management and study skills to plan their project and begin study under supervision.

Honours Research Project
In this substantial personal project, the student integrates subject-specific knowledge and skills to develop a specialist area of knowledge in depth. With supervision from a subject specialist, the student undertakes their chosen self-directed study of research investigation, project or business proposal resulting in a report of their findings, a project proposal or a business plan.

Innovative Production Systems
Familiarises students with current and evolving developments in regenerative food production and develops scientific understanding of the processes underlying innovative production methods and their cumulative effect. Systems are critically analysed in terms of their ‘regenerative’ value and studied in depth to identify appropriate contexts and limiting factors for adoption and efficacy.

Agri-food Technology
Introducing students to a broad range of technologies available for use in agri-food business. This will include practical technology for crop and animal production and software for monitoring growth, health and productivity in the field, and machinery for small-scale and/or on-farm food processing. Students will also explore the concept of ‘appropriate technology’ in relation to sustainable food and farming business.

Managing Sustainable Food Enterprises
This module focuses on the strategic management theories and practical management procedures applied within the context of regenerative agri-food business. This will include in-depth study of financial and operational business management, including, for example: financial and management accounts, human resource management, operations management and supply chain management.

Contemporary Issues in Food and Farming
In this module, students will explore the factors which influence the ways in which food is produced and consumed, and how these impact upon society as a whole and the health, well-being and rights of individuals. This will include contemporary issues such as food security, food justice, food provenance, the rise of ‘alternative’ food supply chains or proposed agricultural policy.

Term Dates – Academic Year 2021 - 2022

Welcome Week: 14-17 September 2021

Autumn Term:
20 Sep - 26 Nov 2021: Study Period (10 weeks)
29 Nov - 10 Dec: Assessment period

Winter Term: 10 Jan – 18 Mar 2022: Study Period (11 weeks)
Feb - 1 April: Assessment Period

Spring Term: Monday 25 April - Friday 1 July 2022: Study period (10 weeks)

Part-time options

This course is available to study on a part-time basis across six years.  For a full timetable, please click here

Remote learning

We understand that due to the pandemic, you may be unsure about your ability to travel to our campus. if you feel that you may need to complete part or all of your qualification remotely, we are happy to consider this on a case-by-case basis. Please contact admissions@dartington.org to discuss your requirements.

Our current status as an approved higher education provider by the Office for Students allows undergraduate students from England to draw down a loan of up to £6,000 per year (full time) and £4,500 per year (part time) to part-cover their tuition fees, and up to a further £9,488 for maintenance. 

Please contact us at admissions@dartington.org if you would like more information on applying for student finance and bursaries to support your time at Schumacher College.

Dr Pavel Cenkl

Pavel has worked for more than two decades in higher education in America and has always been drawn to colleges and universities whose curriculum fully integrates learning with practice and thinking with embodiment.

Having taught and served as Dean for nearly 15 years at Vermont’s Sterling College, Pavel brings a depth of experience to Schumacher College’s unique approach to experiential learning. While pursuing research in ecologically-minded curriculum design and teaching courses in environmental philosophy, Pavel is also a passionate endurance and adventure runner. Over the past five years through a project called Climate Run, Pavel has covered hundreds of miles in the Arctic and subarctic on foot in order to bring attention to the connections between our bodies and the more-than-human world in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

Pavel holds a Ph.D. in English and is the author of many articles, chapters, and two books: Nature and Culture in the Northern Forest: Region, Heritage, and Environment in the Rural Northeast. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2010; and This Vast Book of Nature: Writing the Landscape of New Hampshire's White Mountains, 1784-1911. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2006. He is currently working on a book titled Resilience in the North: Adventure, Endurance, and the Limits of the Human, which threads together personal narrative and observation with environmental philosophy and reflections on what it means to be human.

You will require one of the following to study on this course:

A-level/AS-level
Minimum of 80 UCAS points at A/AS Level (AA or CCC) or equivalent to ideally include a science, humanities or business subject.

BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
Candidates are interviewed before an offer is made. 80 UCAS points from an extended diploma (MMM) ideally in a relevant subject (e.g. Horticulture, Arboriculture, Agriculture, Countryside Management), although all applications will be considered individually.

Access to Higher Education at level 3
Applications from Access to HE programmes are welcomed, and will be considered on an individual basis. Candidates are interviewed before an offer is made.

Welsh Baccalaureate
80 UCAS points from Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and/or Advanced Diploma to ideally include a science, humanities or business subject.

Scottish Qualifications Authority
80 UCAS points from Scottish Higher, Advance Higher and/or a Scottish Baccalaureate Interdisciplinary Project, to ideally include a science, humanities or business subject.

Irish Leaving Certificate
68 UCAS points at Higher Level, to ideally include a science, humanities or business subject. International Baccalaureate 80 UCAS points overall to include 1 at HL, to ideally include a science, humanities or business subject. If overseas and not studying English within IB, must have IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 in all other elements.

International Baccalaureate
80 UCAS points overall to include 1 at HL, to ideally include a science, humanities or business subject. If overseas and not studying English within IB, must have IELTS 6.0 overall with a 5.5 in all other elements.

For further information on any of the above requirements, please contact us.

"As a new entrant grower some years ago, I searched for a course like this, combining practical and business skills within a wholistic perspective. Now, as a potential employer, this course looks set to equip students with a valuable breadth and depth of experience in sustainable food and farming, ready for this vital and growing sector. This course is an important part of the future of farming which is both efficient and ecologically regenerative."

- Melissa Harvey, farmer and trainer at School Farm CSA

"This BSc is fit and ready to prepare students for the new agricultural era. If you're after ethical and sustainable thinking then this course should be top of your list."

- Ian Wilkinson, Cotswold Seeds and FarmEd

Who is the ideal candidate?

- Passionate about good food
- Passionate about the environment
- Shared ethics
- Proactive
- Curious and enquiring
- Happy to muck-in and get mud on your boots
- Seeking a meaningful and wholesome livelihood

What kind of career could this lead to?

- Starting up a food or farming enterprise
- Managing a food or farming enterprise
- Farm management / sustainable production
- Advisory roles for regenerative food and farming
- Agricultural conservation
- Environmental protection
- Food and Farming research

What sort of skills will we gain?

- Business skills: strategy, finance and accounting, management, marketing, operations
- Knowledge and understanding: environmental, economic, social and political aspects of food systems
- Research: practical research skills; data gathering methods (qual/quant), design and run a trial, critically analyse results, critically analyse others’ research.
- Practical farming skills
- Scientific fieldwork – gathering data: observing, monitoring, measuring.
- Inspecting crops and livestock
- Employment-related skills from placements

How much time will we spend in farm settings?

-  More than half of the modules include farm visits, generally two or more for comparison
- 5 modules have large fieldwork components
- Work-based learning: 8 weeks during Level 4.
- Honours Research Project options
- Daily/weekly involvement in college food production (different scales and systems in use)

Is there a placement?

- There is a work-based learning period at the end of the second year (or at the end of years 3&4 for part-time students). This has elective options for either business or research centre placements.

What facilities are available?

- College Gardens – small scale and field scale, variety of methods and products
- Beautiful campus and buildings for taught sessions
- Agricultural Laboratories (and partner labs)
- College processing facilities
- College kitchens
- Estate food and farming enterprises
- A wide range of partners including food and farming businesses, research organisations, campaigning organisations, farmers unions and more.
- University of Plymouth – library, online resources and student support services