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Schumacher Practical Residency In Sustainable Horticulture 2021


6 April – 1 October 2021
Application Deadline: 1st November 2020

The residency runs for six months over the growing season. You will have a 2 week break with dates agreed to ensure that no more than 2 Horticultural Residents are away at any time.

Download the application form here

Join us for an exciting opportunity to learn the practical skills needed to grow food and practice horticulture whilst working with nature and biological cycles. Our current mainstream food system is in need of profound healing and repair. If you are willing to try new approaches to help achieve this, then this six month residency is for you. Explore with us how to protect and restore the soil, foster and sustain a healthy ecosystem, use renewable resources whilst growing an abundance of delicious vegetables for use in the college kitchens.

Schumacher College has an international reputation for its holistic and systems approach to sustainability. We have over nine acres of land integrating food production with beauty, biodiversity and quiet spaces for contemplation. We adjoin Martin Crawford’s 22 year old forest garden and are close to his research trials site. We are two miles from Totnes, home of the Transition Movement and are part of the historic Dartington Hall Estate, with its beautiful listed gardens.

What you will be doing

The residency is full-time for 6 months. Each week you can expect to be in the Schumacher gardens for 4 days helping grow and harvest local organic food in an ecologically sensitive way for the college community. You will experience the pleasure and challenges of growing vegetables in regenerative ways with minimal machinery. Alongside this there is a mixture of workshops, seminars, structured practical activities and site visits. We have built up strong links with other local growing projects and you have the chance to volunteer regularly for half a day a week during your time at the college to gain wider perspectives on growing with and for others.

“I soon learnt that a Grower’s best tool is her eyes. And I found myself among a group of people who sensitively observed rather than approximating or assuming; folk who deeply cared for and truly listened to the land and each other.”                         
C.B. 2017

Integral to the College’s international learning community, you will get to know students, staff and volunteers through daily meetings and shared activities. There is also a diverse programme of events and evening talks, offered by college residents, visiting teachers and local experts.

The college pedagogy rests on three foundations of Peer to Peer Learning; Whole Person Learning and Learning by Doing

“An ounce of practice is generally worth more than a ton of theory.”
― E. F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered

horticulture student

Skills You Will Acquire

  • Soil care
  • Plant propagation
  • Composting systems
  • Cultivation of annual and perennial food plants, including forest gardening
  • Understanding soil and plant science
  • Observation and experimentation skills
  • Site design (using permaculture principles)
  • Chicken and Duck care
  • Integrated pest management
  • Use of green manures
  • Kitchen – garden liaison
  • Post harvesting processing


April 6th – October 1, 2021
Application Deadline: 1st November 2020
The residency runs for six months over the growing season. You will have a 2 week break with dates agreed to ensure that no more than 2 Horticultural Residents are away at any time.


On successful completion of the apprenticeship you will gain a Schumacher College Award (Schumacher Certificate in Sustainable Horticulture). You will also gain a Permaculture Design Certificate (awarded by the Permaculture Association (link is external)), as part of the course.

Entry requirements

Experience in private gardening, food growing or working in the horticultural industry is expected. A strong interest in organic, sustainable approaches to food growing and an open and enquiring mind are essential.  You should be flexible, energetic, self-motivated, and comfortable in groups and open to the opportunities of community living.

Language Requirements

Students must be able to converse and write fluently in English.

Food and Accommodation

The accommodation is a single room with communal bathroom and laundry facilities on the Dartington Estate. All meals are provided - Our food is vegetarian, organic and we grow as much of it as we can ourselves. As members of the college community you will part of the cooking and kitchen clear up teams and you will be expected to clean your own living spaces.

course food image


Fees are set at a rate that recognises the work you do growing food for the college community. The full residential fee is £7,645 and includes tuition, Permaculture Design Certificate teaching, site visits and accommodation and food for six months. There is a non-residential option for a limited number of candidates at the reduced fee of £4,620.

We have a bursary fund that you will be invited to apply for if you are offered a place. The bursaries will be allocated on the basis of both financial need and individual potential. Please note it is unlikely we can offer bursaries for the full fee so you would need to be able to fund yourself in part.


On successful completion of the residency, you will be eligible to apply to be a student tutor on the next residency programme. The successful applicant stays on at the college for a further year to continue learning and working in the gardens and be a mentor to the following year’s growers.


Application Deadline: 1st November 2020

Download the application form here

Please email completed application form to

For any questions you may have regarding the Schumacher Practical Residency in Sustainable Horticulture vocational course, please email  .