The North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Programme gives budding farmers a chance to gain valuable knowledge and experience of the principles of biodynamic farming.
Biodynamics was developed in the early 1920s by Rudolf Steiner. Its spiritual and holistic approach to agriculture, food production and nutrition gives farmers the opportunity “to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself.” With young and beginning farmers more likely to start smaller farms or organic ventures, this is an excellent opportunity to learn the skills needed to take on the responsibility of a farm.
The programme provides apprentices with both the theoretical and practical knowledge of biodynamic agriculture by combining on-farm training, mentoring and classroom study in an area of your choice.
Apprentices will take part in 24 months of on-farm training, where they will be introduced to a range of different skills including plant cultivation and management, animal husbandry, biodynamic preparations, equipment and machinery, business management and processing, crafts and construction. Whilst on the farm, apprentices keep a journal detailing their day to day activities and observations, which will no doubt become a valuable learning tool for years to come.
In the final year, apprentices are given the opportunity to design and complete their very own independent project in a particular area of interest with the support of their mentor farmer.
Previous apprentice Jessica writes: “Through studying biodynamics I find myself in a constant state of learning what it is to farm… seeing all of nature working together and how I can work with it to achieve real sustainable food production that is healthy on all accounts.”
Mentor farms are located across the United States and Canada. On successful completion of the course, apprentices will receive a certificate, which will be presented at the Biodynamic Association’s North American Conference. Visit their website to find out how you can apply.
Alternatively, biodynamic or organic farmers who are keen to share their skills with the next generation can become mentors, while also gaining access to a wealth of resources and networking opportunities.
Patrick Holden will be a keynote speaker at the 2014 Biodynamic Conference on 15th November in Louisville, Kentucky.
Featured image by Steph French
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