From January 2012 biodynamic farming and horticulture can be learned on the Internet, according to the web-site of Biodynamic Agricultural College in Sussex, UK. The Distance Learning course is aimed at people who are working in a land-based profession: farmers and growers just as much as back-yard gardeners, vineyard managers, organic and biodynamic accreditation inspectors, etc.
Nir Halfon at the Biodynamic Agricultural College says that the new course is motivated by the rising interest for biodynamic farming and the fact that many of the interested are beyond the normal age for entering a normal professional training. Such people need a more flexible solution.
Nir says that the course consists of 11 modules which can be taken all at once or one-by-one. Every semester two modules will be offered – every module consists of a module reader, live online seminars, recorded short films and online tutorials with one of BDA College’s teachers. Students from all over the world can interact with each other through the online forum, forging a new network of biodynamic practitioners.
The unit titles are:
- Introduction to biodynamics (history, anthroposophy, physical world – spiritual world, the four spiritual bodies of the human being, the threefold constitution of the human being)
- Formative forces in the living world (expansion & contraction, metamorphosis, etheric forces and their effects in different stages of plant development, plant evolution and specialisation)
- Introduction to biodynamic livestock production (three different types of animals: nerve/sense, rhythmical, metabolic/limb)
- Astronomy and the influences of the celestial bodies on plant growth and development
- Biodynamic chemistry: the roles of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur and hydrogen in nature
- Biodynamic spray preparations
- Biodynamic compost making
- Dealing with pests and diseases in crops in a biodynamic way
- Creating a community: the biodynamic farm as a crystallisation point for local communities
- The farm organism
Students can take the modules in a flexible way - they can take one or both modules each semester. If they are busy, they can skip semesters and take those modules later. But once a module has been started, it needs to be finished before the end of the semester. Every module will be assessed for students to qualify for official level 4 credit points.
The first two modules will go live on the 16th of January 2012. Modules are priced at £365 (including an administration fee) each and they are as mentioned accredited at the Foundation Degree level.