Description of AGROTOPIA’s general Agroecology training

1. Overview

Learning through practical experience

AGROTOPIA’s general course is a holistic programme. It emphasises the acquisition of knowledge through practical learning including observation of real-life situations, practical exercises, agricultural work, and the design and development of projects, by incorporating the theoretical basis according to participant’s needs. Knowledge is acquired through iterative learning.

Your project is central

Each participant describes his/her personal project upon registration. This personal project is central throughout the course, and will develop as knowledge progresses. This is very much in contrast to a linear learning structure, organised by individual topics, that possibly leads to a project design. Each participant can thus clearly understand at all times the reason for attending the training course, since it is intrinsically linked to his/her individual project.

The theoretical basics

When required, instructors will give theoretical lessons, presenting topics in a concise manner, with suggestions for further individual reading. Participants can then discuss the reading matter further with the teacher in individual coaching sessions. All recommended further reading material is available in the AGROTOPIA library.

Individual coaching

An individual coaching service is available throughout the various training levels (minimum number of coaching hours per participant):

  • Level 0: 1 hour
  • Level 1: 1 hour
  • Level 2: 1.5 hours
  • Level 3: 3 hours
  • Level 4: 1.5 hours
  • Level 5: 160 hours over two years

The key feature of AGROTOPIA’s training is the provision of

a practical training based on solid scientific and technical basis.

a practical training based on solid scientific and technical basis.

A framework favourable learning and practical work

Agroecological arable crop and livestock farming, permaculture vegetable gardens and orchards, and greenhouses at Famelette farm are used intensively to provide participants with applied knowledge during the practical exercises of these courses.  Participants become familiar with crop and livestock farming techniques, and with agricultural tools and machinery. They acquire the expertise necessary for managing a concrete project at the end of the training course.

A diversity of concrete projects

Visiting existing projects completes practical experience within a variety of situations. These visits can be in agricultural plots, farms, food processing and marketing companies.

Practice is at the core of training

A practical internship in a farm, a processing plant or a product marketing company will be a great addition to the training received at AGROTOPIA’s headquarters. This internship will consolidate the theoretical and practical knowledge taught at the headquarters.

Who is this course aimed at?

Project leaders:

  • People just getting started in their career or established in non-agricultural sectors wishing to partially or totally change career.
  • Farmers or farmers’ children wanting to make the transition towards agroecology.
  • Landowners whether they occupy their land or not.

Agricultural advisers and teachers

 

Employed or self-employed agro-industry professionals

 

Employees of state administrations in the agricultural or environmental sector

Teachers in secondary schools (general or specialised), higher education, other educational centres

 

Amateurs with private gardens, small livestock and beekeepers

Most of the course takes place at AGROTOPIA headquarters:

Rue Famelette, 52

4520 Huccorgne (Wanze)

Belgium

2. Summary of course structure

Registration process

1. Application

Getting started: Upload a Curriculum vitae and a description of your project or idea to the Agrotopia website.

Select your chosen initial course level (0, 1, 2 or 3).

2. Selection

AGROTOPIA will then select the candidates.

3. Individual interview

During the individual interview, AGROTOPIA will either confirm your selected level or assign you to another level.

The course follows 6 progressive modules

0.

Level 0: Foundation course (Introduction to Agronomy)

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Prerequisites: None. Agronomists and bioengineers are exempt from this course by default.

Course objectives: Learning the basics of agronomy, essential to understand the material in level 1 and beyond.

Length: 48 hours or 6 days over 3 weekends.

Find out all the details about the level

1.

Level 1: Basics of agroecology (Introduction to agroecology)

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Prerequisites: Level 0 or equivalent. Holders of a Master’s degree in agroecology or equivalent are exempt from this course by default.

Course objectives: Acquiring a good understanding of the basic concepts of agroecology.

Length: 48 hours or 6 days over 3 weekends.

Find out all the details about the level

2.

Level 2: Advanced

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Prerequisite: Level 1. Basic knowledge of agronomy and agroecology. Holders of a Master’s degree in agroecology or equivalent are by default exempt from this course.

Course objectives: Acquiring a detailed understanding of agroecology, the mechanisms of the functioning of agroecosystems and their management, the development of agricultural projects, the evaluation of performance of agroecological systems, social and economic aspects of production in agricultural and food-processing industries.

Length: 64 hours or 8 days over 4 weekends.

FIND OUT ALL THE DETAILS ABOUT THE LEVEL

3.

Level 3: Practitioner

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Prerequisites: Level 2 or Master’s in agroecology. A good understanding of the concepts of agroecology.

Course objectives: Acquiring the theoretical and practical knowledge essential for designing, implementing, managing and evaluating an agroecological system.

Length: 208 hours or 26 days (weekends and holidays).

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4.

Level 4: Certified instructor

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Prerequisites: Level 3. A good theoretical and practical understanding of agroecology.

Course objectives: Learning to teach, motivate and advise project leaders.

Length: 80 hours or 10 days.

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5.

Level 5: Project coaching

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Prerequisites: Level 3 or 4.

Course objectives: Helping participants to succeed in their projects by an individual support by an AGROTOPIA team.

Length: 160 hours over 2 years.

Find out all the details about the level

3. Other specialised courses

In addition to our general Agroecology courses, we also offer a series of specialised courses which can meet many different needs.

  Agroforestry

  Organic Matter and Soil Regeneration

  Green manure and Biomax

  Heritage cultivars and cereal

  Small grass-fed livestock

  Creating and landscaping a private permaculture garden: how to combine ornamental plants, food production and wildlife?

  Edible wild plants and how to prepare them for consumption

  Wild flower meadows and other wild flowers

Want to organise a bespoke course for your organisation?