- 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
BSc: 3 years FT/6 years PT
Other routes are available – see ‘Learning Pathways’
Autumn term: 25 September 2023 – 15 December
Winter term: 08 January 2024 – 28 March
Spring term: 29 April – 22 July
Welcome week: 19 – 23 September 2022
Autumn term: 26 September – 16 December
Winter term: 09 January 2023 – 31 March
Spring term: 17 April – 07 July
next application deadline
We are accepting applications for September 2023 start students.
Course applications are handled via UCAS, unless you are applying for a part-time route. Please choose the appropriate option below. Bursaries of £3,000 are available to the first 25 applicants via UCAS from England.
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This course is a residential programme during term time, and for the first year you are invited to stay on the Dartington estate to really immerse yourself in the experience.
Bachelor of Science (FT/PT; 360 credits)
Regenerative Food and Farming BSc (Hons) is available full time over three years (UK, EU or international students) or part time over six years (UK students only).
For a full breakdown of how the part time route works, download the schedule here (pdf).
Diploma of Higher Education (240 credits)
The DipHE offers an excellent entry point into certain careers. At two years, rather than three or four, it’s a speedier and more direct route into certain vocations, but it still equips you with the expertise that the job requires.
Certificate of Higher Education (120 credits)
It is the most basic level of qualification that a student can gain in higher education.
Completing a CertHE can demonstrate individuals’ capability of studying at university level. It can raise confidence, support a career change, or progression in a current career.
short course (unaccredited)
Modules from this course can often be studied on a standalone basis, as unaccredited short courses. We will post details here when these courses become available, but please contact email@example.com if you are keen to study a particular module in this way.
The BSc (Hons) 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, studying alongside expert faculty and practitioners, and through meaningful work placement, and guided independent projects.
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?
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. We are delighted to be working with some excellent partners to deliver the programme including School Farm CSA and the Apricot Centre here at Dartington and Riverford just down the road.
programme structure & modules
Each year is worth 120 credits in total, and is delivered in a 3-term structure which consists of roughly 8 weeks of study time followed by a 2-week assessment period each term. We offer relevant short courses within the 2-week assessment periods to give students the opportunity to gain additional knowledge and skills.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All applicants must have GCSE (or equivalent) Maths and English at Grade C or above.
(A Foundation Biology course will be provided prior to Level 4 for those without science subjects to Level 3, enabling a broader intake of non-standard entries with relevant work/industry experience, dependent on interview.)
As well as meeting the above GCSE qualifications, you must hold at least one of the Accepted Qualifications, as follows:
accepted qualifications (tap to expand)
Minimum of 80 UCAS points at A/AS Level (CDD) 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.
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, plus Ordinary Level Grade C Maths and English
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.
Mature students represent one of our main target groups and are therefore welcomed to apply, especially with relevant work and industry experience. They will be required to demonstrate at interview the necessary knowledge, experience and motivation to participate in the course. The programme will be offered in both full-time and part-time formats to increase accessibility for non-standard applicants.
The programme is offered in both full-time and part-time formats to increase accessibility for non-standard applicants. Mature applicants with relevant experience but without the stated qualifications will be considered individually and are encouraged to apply. All applicants will be required to demonstrate the necessary motivation, potential, experience and/or knowledge at interview.
fees & Funding
For full details on our fees, plus information about scholarships, student loans and bursaries, click here.
We encourage BSc students to live on campus for the first year of their studies. Further information on the unique experience of living on the Dartington estate, as well as rates for our full board accommodation, can be found here.
Bursary for English Students
We will be supporting the first cohort of full time students in this new programme by offering up to 25 bursaries of £3,000 to cover the difference between the Student Loan (£6,000) and the tuition fee (£9,000) for their first year. In future years we anticipate having a new status with Office for Students to allow students to apply for a Student Loan to cover the full tuition fees. The scheme is open to all full-time applicants applying from England who are eligible to apply for support from Student Loans Company England and are starting their studies in September 2022. This scheme will work on a first come first serve basis and will be automatically offered to the first 25 eligible applications via UCAS. International students may still apply to the general bursary pot.
Part time students applying from England are eligible for a bursary of £1,050 as part of the same scheme, to cover the difference between the annual part time Student Loan (£4,500) and the tuition fee (£5,550).
Dartington Learning Bursary Fund
If you are not eligible for the above, you are still welcome to apply to the Dartington Learning Bursary Fund, which can cover up to £5,000 of the tuition fees. Full details can be found here.
Dr Simon Platten
Dr Simon Platten is senior lecturer and course lead for BSc Regenerative Food and Farming, and lecturer for our MSc Regenerative Food, Farming and Enterprise.
During this time TGL has established over 30 community food projects, businesses, and co-operative ventures designed to be self-supporting but to benefit from the mutual support provided under the TGL umbrella. The resulting network of projects have been shaped to grow resilience and respond to market failures around small-scale food production, and to revitalise local food consumption, production and employment opportunities. Simon brings his academic, business and supply chain development experience to the BSc Regenerative Food and Farming at Dartington.
Dr Nathan Einbinder
Nathan is course lead for Regenerative Food and Farming programmes. Before arriving at Schumacher, Nathan taught geography at San Diego State University and the University of Northern British Columbia.
In addition to teaching, he worked as a consultant for international organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, where he conducted research on regenerative soil management and its connection to socio-ecological resilience in Central America.
Nathan has said that he is eager to bring his experiences to Schumacher College to inspire students and relate the principles and values of Indigenous agroecology to the UK context. He is also excited to put into practice his background and commitment to experiential education, to help train the next generation of change-makers and regenerative food and farming professionals.
Melissa Harvey is a grower, horticulture teacher and facilitator. She is programme lead for our BSc Regenerative Food and Farming and also lecturers on Master's in the same subject.
In 2004 Melissa carried out research in Sri Lanka following the Tsunami for her MPhil in Sustainable Agriculture, where she explored elements influencing the resilience of smallholder farmers. The research looked at agroecological and psycho-social factors, finding that resilience of small farmers affected by the tsunami was boosted by both agroecological and social diversity and connections.
Inspired to work more locally towards a more sustainable food system Melissa trained in practical sustainable horticulture, and went on to work as part of a team to set up School Farm CSA, near Totnes, as well as working to support food growing and composting in schools across Devon. Melissa currently delivers the Practical Horticulture adult training at School Farm, and also runs a small herb, perennial vegetable and wildflower nursery based at the farm.
She has a profound respect for and interest in working with and learning from the land, and all plants and creatures. She lives on the edge of Dartmoor with her partner and, when she is not growing plants, enjoys exploring and meeting them in the wild.
Caroline has a background in design, farming and cooking. She trained and worked with Patrick Whitefield, continuing his business after his retirement, and co-authored Food from your Forest Garden (Green Books, 2012) with Martin Crawford.
Caroline has been an associate lecturer at Schumacher College since 2016 and led the development of the BSc Regenerative Food and Farming programme. She lives with her partner and son on a 4 acre smallholding in Dartmoor where they produce veg, fruit, eggs, honey and firewood.
Charlie is an expert on soil health, and how soil life is crucial to healthy ecosystems.Read More
After a long gap, campaigning for better food systems, he realised that soil should have more prominence in climate crisis debates. He believes we need to see soil more as a whole, rather than just carbon molecules, with a rich mix of life, including worms, nematodes, fungi bacteria and lots of little arthropods working together to create underground cities. He set up a website www.soilanimals.com, exploring the role of soil animals in the state of soils, from where BBC Gardeners World did a feature on him with his homemade sampling systems. There he showed how springtails act like both the birds and the bees of soils in spreading fungi and bacteria. Currently he is writing a book on the evolution of soil – when and how it came about.
Martin is Director of the Agroforestry Research Trust.Read More
He has had broad and varied horticultural/agricultural experience over the last 30 years – he has worked for the Yarner Trust in North Devon, teaching small-scale organic agriculture; grown food for a small hotel on the Isle of Iona; restored the walled gardens of a manor house in mid-Devon; and run his own organic market garden and tree nursery in South Devon. He now manages the 20 acres of grounds that the ART uses in South Devon, and is a consultant on many small and large scale projects.
Marina is a director of the Apricot Centre at Dartington.Read More
In 2022 the Apricot Centre will launch a new level 3 traineeship in regenerative land based systems, with 20 trainees placed over 15 farms in Devon. Marina is also part of the Dartington Mill, Reclaim the Grain team, producing, milling and selling local grains and flour, and bread, relocalising and decommodifying grains.
Marina studied Horticulture at Bath University, and studied a Masters in Environment and Society under Jules Pretty. She has worked at the Horticultural Training workshop at Dartington Trust, Otley Agricultural College, ran a small market garden in Essex and now a larger one in Devon. The team have just completed an impact assessment of Huxhams Cross farm, showing the farm is carbon negative, supports biodiversity, and is economically viable producing lots of local food. Her new book Designing Regenerative Food Systems is to be published in January 2022.
Born in Glastonbury, Somerset, Colum admits he is rarely happier than when in a muddy field. He has run a number of small agriculture businesses and also worked as a freelance horticulture consultant. He has run a market garden, worked with community supported agriculture, spent a year as part of an intentional community at Radford Mill, near Bristol, and WOOFed (worked on an organic farm) his way around France and Spain. His spare time is spent walking with his wife and two children, singing and improving his unicycling.
He is co-founder of the Campaign for Real Farming, the Oxford Real Farming Conference, Funding Enlightened Agriculture, and the College for Real Farming and Food Culture.
In his latest book, The Great Think, he argues that it is still possible to rescue humanity and our fellow creatures from what is already looking catastrophic – but only if we re-think everything we do and think we know from first principles.
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 are many diverse career opportunities in all sectors of the food chain for people with knowledge and skills in regenerative food and farming. The holistic and practical nature of the programme alongside our diverse range of industry partnerships provides invaluable support networks and employment opportunities for graduates.
As a regenerative food and farming graduate you may go on to some of the following career paths:
- Managing a farming enterprise
- Managing a food enterprise
- Working in food supply and distribution organisations
- Advising on regenerative practice in food and farming
- Advising on sustainable business for food and farming
- Working for NGOs and campaign organisations on food and farming issues
- Working in food and/or farming policy
- Regenerative food and farming research
This programme also develops transferable skills such as academic, research and business skills.
Praise for Regenerative Food and Farming BSc
“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
live chats & open days
latest news & blogs
A new project to open up more land on the Dartington estate to support and encourage regenerative agricultural innovation.
Catch up with the programme lead for our MSc Regenerative Food, Farming & Enterprise after his recent agroecology research trip to the Maya Achi territory.
Our horticulture team at Schumacher College are taking part in trials through the South West Grain Network to find new strains of wheat that are grown more effectively in our climate. We catch up with Michael Cooper, one of our horticulture interns this year to find out more…