The College for Real Farming and Food Culture: new courses

Oxford Real Farming Conference (both are projects of the Real Farming Trust), with a two-way flow of ideas (and personnel) between the two. Basically, the ORFC throws the net widely, and the College explores particular angles in depth.

The College operates in the main through joint meetings – conversations, seminars, short courses – with like-minded organisations that offer suitable (very agreeable!) premises. This year – 2019 – we have four lined up. One is already fully booked but there are still places on the other three. To wit:

April 10-12 2019: a residential conversation for 18 participants at 42 Acres Retreat Centre, Somerset on


Alas, this meeting is fully booked. But the theme is key, and we intend to return to it time and again.

Booking is open now but only until April 9 for our second course:

May 20-24 2019: A residential seminar for up to 20 participants in collaboration with Schumacher College at Dartington, Devon on:


An introduction to the whole College thesis: what Enlightened Agriculture really is: the paradigm shift in nutritional theory; and the absolute importance of traditional cuisines. The – immensely cheering – take-home message is that enlightened farming – based on the principles of agroecology and food sovereignty – goes hand in hand with sound nutrition and both are in perfect harmony with the world’s greatest cooking. But Enlightened Agriculture cannot prevail unless we undertake a cross-the-board re-think not only in food and farming but also in politics, economics, science, and – the thing that has gone missing – metaphysics, which asks the “ultimate questions”. With Colin Tudge, Jyoti Fernandez, Tim Gorringe, and Ruth West.

Booking opens on April 1 2019 for our remaining two courses held in collaboration with The Black Mountains College, supported by Hay Festival

June 23 – 24 2019

A two day course for 14 participants at Coleg Trefeca, a retreat centre just outside Talgarth


A future diet that will sustain 10 billion people – which, the United Nations tells us, is the likely peak population, to be reached by the end of this century – must rely heavily on staple foods, of which the main ones are cereals and pulses. This should be no hardship – for all the world’s greatest cuisines are heavily cereals-based. But – we must ensure that the staples are grown in biosphere-friendly and people-friendly ways and ensure that the cooking does them justice. Wheat is the world’s most important cereal (with rice a close second) and is mainly eaten in the form of bread. In short – good bread is vital for our long term future! With biologist, baker and author Jeremy Cherfas, creator of the podcasts, Our Daily Bread, Colin Tudge and Ruth West. The second day will be spent at Talgarth Mill (a community-run, water powered flour mill and traditional bakery) and include some hands-on baking using locally grown heritage flour.

August 19-24  2019

A residential course for 14-20 participants also at Coleg Trefeca, and including a visit to Pen y Wyrlod Farm on:


“Why we need to re-think everything we do from first principles, and re-think everything in the light of everything else thus achieving a truly holistic approach to food”

Though the scope is broad (it could hardly be more so) the course focuses on the specific ideas of Enlightened Agriculture (aka “Real Farming”) and on the need for a true Food Culture, drawing for inspiration on the local landscape and ways of life.

Enlightened Agriculture is informally but adequately defined as:

“Farming that is expressly designed to provide food of the highest standard for everyone, everywhere, forever, without cruelty of injustice and without wrecking the rest of the world”.

Such a vision may seem merely fanciful – so distant is it from the status quo — and yet should be perfectly achievable. Technically, it should be almost easy to ensure there is no more famine.  Far more than that: our descendants should be able to occupy this planet for literally millions of years to come, each one more personally fulfilled than most people are now, and in harmony with each other and with other creatures. This should be considered a realistic aspiration.

To achieve this, however, requires a total re-think of everything: nothing less than a Renaissance – re-birth; which, for all kinds of reasons, should most fruitfully begin with an Agrarian Renaissance — a re-think of food and farming and our relationship with the rest of nature.

The course will take the form of discussion – a long conversation — conducted in the inspiring landscape of the Black Mountains, and including a visit to a local farm, Pen y Wyrlod guided and informed by: Colin Tudge, Adam Horovitz (poet), Nick Miller and Sarah Dickens (farmers) and Ian Rappel (ecologist).

One thought on “The College for Real Farming and Food Culture: new courses

  1. Will any of these sessions be recorded and available to watch or listen to on this website?

    (“Wildlife on farms” in particular aligns most with my interests, but I would of course be interested in hearing more about all the other topics too.)

    I am overseas for 2019 and so cannot attend any sessions, thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.