New Level 5 Diploma in Sustainable Agricultural Management starting at Emerson College

Announcing a new training with a focus on developing and deepening sustainable agricultural practice with an emphasis on biodynamic and organic practice and methods, beginning at Emerson College, Sussex, UK in September 2014.

This new Level 5 Diploma offers an opportunity to study sustainable agriculture and work intensively on biodynamic and organic principles and practice. It aims to help students deepen the theoretical, practical and social skills essential for effective work in this field.

This training has been developed by Emerson College in collaboration with organisations dedicated to the development of sustainable agriculture. It brings together faculty drawn from Emerson College, Crossfields Institute, the Biodynamic Association and Demeter Certification UK.

The programme integrates seminars delivered by subject specialists, guided land-based research projects and self-directed study. Collaborative work and inquiry is at the heart of the course. Students will engage practically with the gardens and grounds of Emerson College as well as with neighbouring farms and agricultural initiatives

An experienced faculty supports both the study, project design and practical aspects of the course while enabling students to develop their independent study and research skills. Social entrepreneurship and leadership skills are also an important part of the curriculum. 

This training is open to those with previous experience in biodynamic, organic or sustainable agriculture, as well as to students who have practical experience on the land and a passion for a sustainable future.

"The future will be challenging for land entrepreneurs", course leader Kai Lange explains. "New skills and insights need to be developed in the environmental, social and economic sphere. This newly designed course is aimed to go beyond conventional farm or land management to address that. I am exited to be part of this journey into a better future."

Over two years, the course will cover:

  •  Farm as an organism - the biodynamic approach to agriculture
  • Core subjects: chemistry, soils, plants, animals, astronomy, biodynamic preparations and social aspects of agriculture
  • Sustainable management practice - environmental, economic and social
  • Applied phenomenology
  • Approaches to integrative research
  •  Social entrepreneurship and leadership skills
  •  Land-based research projects

Emerson College

Emerson College has been delivering training in biodynamic agriculture and horticulture over many years. Emerson's approach to learning combines theoretical study with community participation, practical, artistic and inner work to integrate learning through head, heart and hands.

Visit the Emerson College website here for full details of the course:  

Further information about the course:

Entry Requirements

A Level 3 qualification in agriculture or a related field is required for entry to this training, however it is also open to students who do not have such a qualification, but have relevant life experience and study skills.  Evidence of such experience and skills will need to be provided.

Individual Learning Plan

For students interested in pursuing parts (or the whole) of this training for personal or professional development, rather than for an accredited diploma, an individual learning plan can be negotiated with a mentor.  Please contact the college for more details.

What we mean under Sustainable, Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture

Biodynamic agriculture was the first organised holistic approach to sustainable farming practice.  Biodynamics seeks to work with the soil, crops, and animals on a farm, garden, orchard or vineyard in such a way that they strengthen and support each other. Biodynamics focuses on increasing the vitality  and resilience of the crops and livestock through the use of special herbal preparations. It was first articulated in a series of lectures in 1924 by Austrian philosopher and scientist Rudolf Steiner. It has been researched and developed ever since, and is now practiced widely around the world.

Organic agriculture also works to support the health and well-being of soil, plant, animal and human being as well as the environment. It was established in the late 1930's and 1940's by Sir Albert Howard, J.I. Rodale and Lady Eve Balfour.  The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) was founded in 1972 and articulated the four principles that form the foundation for organic agriculture around the world. 

Sustainable agriculture has evolved over the past two decades to be a more inclusive term for all agriculture which is striving for environmental health, economic profitability and social equity.  Again sustainable agriculture works towards health of the environment and all aspects of an agricultural system, seeing solutions that are least the toxic and least energy intensive, whatever those solutions may be.  Sustainable agriculture includes and embraces both organic and biodynamic agriculture, as well as recognising that working towards sustainability is a process in which farmers engage with the aim of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

For further information contact Deborah Watts

Emerson College, Forest Row, East Sussex, England RH18 5JX

Tel: +44 (0)1342 822238 email: