Schumacher Practical Residency in Sustainable Horticulture 2017

Schumacher Practical Residency in Sustainable Horticulture 2017

3rd April until 29th September 2107

Closing dates for applications 1st November

If you are keen to learn the practical skills needed to grow food and practice horticulture whilst working with nature and biological cycles, and are willing to try new approaches, then this six month residency is for you. You will explore how to protect and restore the soil, foster and sustain a healthy ecosystem, and limit the consumption of finite resources whilst growing an edible harvest.

Schumacher College has an international reputation for its holistic and systems approach to sustainability. We have been teaching sustainable horticulture for seven years, with nine acres of land (annual and perennial systems including a 5 acre agroforestry field) integrating food production with beauty, biodiversity and quiet spaces for contemplation. We adjoin Martin Crawford’s 20 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.


The residency is full-time for 6 months and will involve gardening outdoors in all weathers for at least 4 days per week. Each week you can expect to be in the Schumacher gardens for 3 days and at the nearby School Farm for 1 day. School Farm Community Supported Agriculture, on the Dartington Estate, is a social enterprise that engages with the local community through events, opportunities to volunteer, horticultural courses and supplying fresh, organic food. They supply this food through a Community Supported Agriculture model where each household subscribes to the farm for a full year and receives a share of the harvest. Currently working on an acre they aim to expand this market garden while continuing with organic certification and developing low carbon, ecologically sensitive growing technology based on minimum tillage and low mechanisation. The remaining day will comprise a mixture of lectures, seminars, laboratory practical activities and site visits. You will also have some morning, evening and weekend responsibilities for watering and looking after livestock, on a rota basis.

You will be part of the College’s international learning community, getting to know students, staff and volunteers through daily meetings and shared activities. There is also a diverse programme of activities 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

Skills You Will Acquire

  • Gardening techniques (composting, mulching, seed sowing, planting, propagation, seed saving etc.)
  • 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 care
  • Integrated pest management
  • Experience of working on  a minimum tillage, organically certified market garden

Sustainable Horticulture Apprenticeships Programme Schumacher 2014 from nu project on Vimeo.


3rd April until 29th September 2107

Closing dates for applications 1st November

The residency runs for six months over the growing season (exact dates to follow). 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 (Apprenticeship in Sustainable Horticulture). You will also gain a Permaculture Design Certificate (awarded by the Permaculture Association), as part of the course. If you already have a PDC, you will be able to start working towards your Diploma if you wish.

Entry requirementsvocational horticulture apprenticeships

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

You will be provided with accommodation within the Dartington Estate and all meals. The accommodation is a single room with communal bathroom and laundry facilities. Our food is vegetarian, almost completely organic and we grow as much of it as we can ourselves. As students at the College, you will be part of the cooking and kitchen clear up teams and you will be expected to clean your own living spaces.


Fees: £6,600 and include accommodation and food for 6 months and are soon to be finalised. The tuition, Permaculture Design Certificate teaching and site visits are in exchange and recognition for the work you will do growing food for the college community. 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 apprenticeship, you will be eligible to apply to be a student tutor on the next sustainable horticulture apprenticeship programme (one post).


Please send a complete application form to

Download the application form here >>

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