Soil Health (Food and Farming)

Learn how soils work and explore their fundamental relation to the entire web of life.
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10 January – 11 February 2022 (five weeks)


Nathan Einbinder, Caroline Aitken, Charlie Clutterbuck and guest lecturers


Fully online, with an option of a two-week residential at Schumacher College (see ‘residential option’, below)


 £1,500 (or £150 deposit, with the outstanding balance payable at the booking deadline specifed below).


4 January 2022

About this course

This course explores how soils work and offers participants a thorough understanding of the relations in the web of soil life that we all depend upon. We will look at how improving the biodiversity of plants, fungi, fauna, and microorganisms can produce healthier soil structures, now called ‘soil health’ . This benefits water, nutrients and carbon cycles. We then go on to evaluate factors affecting soil health, and indicators of improvement, to judge the wider impacts on the environment, climate change, erosion and flooding.

On this course you will learn:

  • how soil food webs work, including flora, macro- and meso-fauna, fungi, and microorganisms,
  • how to identify the importance of soil health in crop growth, animal welfare, water holding and healthier diets.
  • to demonstrate how increasing the biodiversity of life in soils helps drive biogeochemical processes, like water, carbon and nutrient cycles, that make life on earth possible.
  • to evaluate factors that affect good soil health and the best indictors of soil life.
  • to determine how improving soil health can contribute to resilience and help mitigate climate change.

    Who is it for?

    This course is for anyone looking to bring in regenerative thinking to their own current projects or wishing to gain skills and knowledge to help them start working in this area. Some examples of roles and sectors participants might expect to use this course to help move into include: 

    • Regenerative farming advisor or consultant
    • Regenerative farm manager or owner
    • Small business owner or advisor involved in the regenerative food system

      This course is based on Module 2 of the Regenerative Food, Farming and Enterprise Master’s and can be taken as a non-accredited short course. Find out more about the full programme via this link.

    How it works: non-accredited short course

    Simply book in the usual way: head to the ‘book now‘ section, and you can choose to pay the full fee or an £150 deposit at checkout.

    There are no specific entry requirements for the unaccredited course, though it is important to note that this course is taught at postgraduate level. Take a look at the pre-course reading list to get a feel for whether the course is for you.

    How it works: accredited short course

    You can complete this short course as a 30-credit module. The accredited course includes an additional week in which you will complete the course assignment for submission and lecturer feedback.

    If you wish to take the course accredited you will need relevant qualifications and/or be able to show equivalent experience in the field. The cost of the accredited qualification is £1,900.

    To find out more about this accredited option, please visit the Regenerative Economics course page and refer to ‘Learning Pathways’. On application, choose ‘Module 1’.

    residential option

    This course is the first module of the Regenerative Food, Farming and Enterprise postgraduate qualification, and you are welcome to study on-site alongside students taking it as part of their postgraduate studies. This option involves living and working on-site for the first two weeks of the course. The residential dates are 10–21 January 2022.

    You can do this if you are taking either the accredited or non-accredited course.

    A limited number of rooms are available on a first come, first served basis. Private, basic accommodation starts at £320/week, on top of the course fee. Once you have a confirmed place on the course, please complete an accommodation request form to see if you can take up this option.


    Nathan Einbinder

    Nathan is course lead for Regenerative Food and Farming postgraduate programmes. Before arriving at Schumacher, Nathan taught geography at San Diego State University and the University of Northern British Columbia.

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    Caroline Aitken

    Caroline Aitken

    Caroline is a lecturer on our Regenerative Food, Farming and Enterprise postgraduate programme. She is also director of Whitefield Permaculture, an adult education and land design consultancy based in Devon.

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    Charlie teaches on our Regenerative Food, Farming and Enterprise postgraduate programme. He is an expert on soil health, and how soil life is crucial to healthy ecosystems.

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    Book now

    *If you choose to pay a deposit, you will be contacted to pay the outstanding balance once the Booking Deadline (see above) has elapsed.

    We are proud to be COVID-secure. Find out what we're doing to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience here >

    Select a time below to begin your online booking. You will receive an e-ticket for this event. You are welcome to email us at with any queries you have.

    Offer: Special course rate for Dartington Members

    Dartington Members will receive a 10% discount (applies up to the value of £1,000), applied when they log in during the checkout process. Please note that for events over £1,000, your discount will apply only if you pay in full, or when you settle the remainder of your course fee (if you choose to place a deposit initially). For more information about Membership, click here (opens in new tab).

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