The programme team will include expert Biodynamic Farmers from across Ruskin Mill Trust. In addition, throughout the programme visiting speakers will be invited to contribute to the programme.
• Peter van Vliet (Programme Lead) Grower at Freeman biodynamic garden
Facilitating Clervaux Seasons, Brantwood College/Eyam project
• Berni Courts, Facilitating Ruskin Mill College farm and gardens, Plas Dwbl farm and gardens
• Ed Berger, Farmer/grower at Sunfield school. Facilitating Argent college roof gardens, Valehead farm and gardens
• Laura Wallwork, Farmer at Plas Dwbl
• Mattias Emous, Grower at Gables farm
• Aonghus Gordon (RMT Founder)
• Dr Keith Griffiths (Head of Staff Training and Development)
• Helen Kippax (Honourable Member)
• Sophie Creed (Administrator)
• Lindsay Wilkinson (Head of Human resources)
Other trainers (including assessments):
• Roberto Romano – Clervaux gardens
• Richard Cowton – Glasshouse College
• Tim Rahmsdorf – Ruskin Mill College
• Tobias Schwierzi – Coleg Plas Dwbl
• Gilberto Domingues- Clervaux farm
• Jim Hildyard – Eyam Edge
Peter van Vliet (Programme Lead)
Biodynamic Farmer, Therapeutic Educator, Freeman College
For the last 37 years, I have been a biodynamic horticultural practitioner. After my training in landscape gardening, I worked for 10 years in ornamental gardens and parkland. When our family moved to the UK, the land work transformed gradually into growing and trading biodynamic herbs, flowers, fruit and vegetables. For the last 5 years, my focus has been producing biodynamic vegetables and herbs for the local Sheffield market and Freeman College kitchens.
In Holland as well as in the UK my work on the land has always been in the context of therapeutic care and education. Creating meaningful work for and with vulnerable people in a land-based activity has always given me great fulfillment.
For 15 years, I have been a trainer and core group member of the Work based diploma in Biodynamic Agriculture. In addition to the vocational training on the holding, I also taught on different courses, and was involved in the quality assurance of this training.
I am very pleased to continue training people in biodynamics as manager at the High Riggs site in Sheffield and as program leader of the Ruskin Mill Trust Biodynamic Training Programme.
Berni Courts MSc(PSTE), BA (Hons), LLb
Doctoral researcher on the therapeutic/social benefits of biodynamic ecology at RMT
With over twenty years of practical Biodynamic Farming experience and Demeter certification, I have worked to incorporate the practices of Biodynamic Agriculture into the varying human fields of Practical Skills Therapeutic Education, Leadership Management, Social Enterprise and Ecology. It continues to be an inspiring journey where I work practically with biodynamic methodology and consciousness to transform places and people for the benefit of individuals and and communities.
Biodynamic Grower, Ruskin Mill College
I am a qualified teacher (DTTLS) and gardener (RHS – level 3 Diploma, BDA – Diploma in BD agriculture). With over 20 years’ experience of biodynamic and organic gardening, within commercial and therapeutic settings in various different countries; holding a BA Honours degree in philosophy and psychology, his main interest is in the therapeutic element of growing vegetables. He has been the vegetable grower at Ruskin Mill college for the past 18 years, teaching students, staff and apprentices.
Biodynamic Farmer, Farm Manager, Therapeutic Educator, Deputy Principal (Biodynamics) Glasshouse College
I completed a formal education in art, design and furniture making. Following this, I discovered a passion for biodynamic agricultural principles and went onto begin training at Weleda medicinal gardens and Hohepa (an anthroposophical life sharing community) in New Zealand.
Upon returning to the UK, I continued a biodynamic apprenticeship at a Camphill community, working and living alongside special needs adults and helping grow vegetables at a commercial scale.
In 2004, I took on the leadership of Vale Head Farm, a Ruskin Mill Trust farm which is part of the Glasshouse College in the West Midlands. Over the last 14 years, I have taken the farm from being a dilapidated equestrian centre to becoming a thriving educational therapeutic farm with beef cattle, dairy goats, laying hens and a market garden into which teenagers with autism and behavioural difficulties access agricultural experiences appropriate to their development.
My particular areas of interest include the farm as an organism, farm animals in special needs education, biodynamic livestock husbandry and phenomenology. I have taught courses to a wide range of learners including biodynamic apprentices, farmers and teachers on subjects such as biodynamic principles and practise, land based education and autism.
I am currently a student undertaking an MA in Holistic Approaches to Agroecology. I am also a practising artist, regularly drawing plants, animals and people and have illustrated a recent biodynamic publication.
I am now leading the redevelopment of the farm at Sunfield School, a children’s home and school which was established in the 1930’s, inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s work. Sunfield has recently become part of the Ruskin Mill Group. The vision is to develop a working biodynamic farm, which can welcome children and young people whatever their differences and support them in their learning journey.
Biodynamic Farmer, Plas Dwbl
I have been working with biodynamic agriculture for about 15 years now and this began with an apprenticeship based in Devon. Staying in the south west of England I then took a farm business tenancy where I developed a more ‘text book’ Demeter certified farm from a ‘mono-culture’ of beef store production, working 230 acres commercially. Attention to a balanced production with book-keeping wove-in work with community (e.g veg boxes, school visits and camps), ecology (safeguarding rare arable plants, in particular) and research along the way. In August 2017 I moved to Ruskin Mill Coleg Plas Dwbl which is managed for conservation and community. My interests include homeopathy, Goethean Science and the pedagogical potential of farming.