Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program Hands-on experience enabling the student to master regenerative organic agriculture
Regenerating Agriculture and Transforming Society
“A truly regenerative agriculture is one in which all the natural resources we use to produce food get renewed in the process of using them.”
Are you ready to help our world make the shift towards sustainable food production? In our certificate program, you’ll get the knowledge and experience you need to protect the planet and transform society through organic and biodynamic farming. More >
The industrial food system contributes to many of the most pressing problems we face today, including climate change, the energy crisis, and the global water shortage. It’s time for a change.
Our program will give you the hands-on experience you need to master organic farming, biodynamic agriculture techniques, and traditional agricultural knowledge from around the world. You’ll learn a variety of skills that will help you to develop a balanced relationship with the Earth, including how to draw down CO2 from the atmosphere and fix it in the soil, how to produce food efficiently without squandering non-renewable resources, and how to reduce water use.
You’ll learn a variety of skills that will help you to develop a balanced relationship with the Earth, including how to draw down CO2 from the atmosphere and fix it in the soil, how to produce food efficiently without squandering non-renewable resources, how to reduce water use, and more.
About Our Program
Our 10-month Regenerative Organic Agriculture Certificate Program is the first regenerative agriculture program in the U.S. We take learning beyond the classroom and provide our students with the hands-on farming experience they need to use their skills confidently in the field.
What You’ll Get:
- A certificate in Regenerative Organic Agriculture through collaborations with these organizations: International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), the Biodynamic Association, Demeter, Agribio, Italy, SD Foundation, India, and Maharishi University of Management.
- Opportunity to work with a national and international network of institutions specializing in food hub internships, farm-to-table operations, and urban food programs.
- Apprenticeship opportunities in organic and biodynamic farms in the mainland U.S. and in Nepal, Italy, Costa Rica, Indonesia (Bali), India, Kenya, Uganda, Canada, Hawaii, and more.
Who It’s For:
- Next generation organic farmers
- Food advocates and food system leaders
- Food entrepreneurs & farm-to-table advocates
- Slow Food Movement and urban food activists
- US and international students. Learn more>
What You’ll Learn:
- Go beyond sustainability. Get grounded in a regenerative systems approach to organic/biodynamic agriculture.
- Farm in the way that nature would farm. Use natural resources that are renewed during the farming process.
- Be a food entrepreneur. Develop a complete hands-on seed-to-sale farm system.
- Shift away from dominating nature and learn how to farm in harmony with our planet.
- All students in the program receive free instruction in the Transcendental Meditation technique, an evidence-based technique with proven mental, physiological, behavioral, and physical benefits that enable you to learn more efficiently and effectively.
About the Program Director
The program is lead by Dr. Appachanda Thimmaiah, who has spent his career developing low-cost organic farming solutions worldwide. Dr. Thimmaiah has advised various international organizations, agri-business corporations, governments and NGO’s in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Italy, Holland, and Costa Rica, and facilitated Bhutan’s transition to the world’s first 100% organic and carbon neutral nation.
More about faculty and guest faculty
The program consists of four parts:
- 4 Courses (Jan 15 – Apr 26)
Planning an Organic FarmStudents will study and research multiple bio-diverse farm business operations and farm business strategies for success. They will envision, plan and create their own farm business model. Students will learn the different components of a successful business plan and integrate the course lessons with their own personal vision to create a viable, actionable business plan.
Consciousness and Dilemmas of 21st Century in Food and AgricultureThis course explores the philosophy behind biodynamic agriculture, how it relates to Vedic philosophy, and how these philosophies can be applied to modern agricultural dilemmas to create conscious solutions.
Soil ScienceIn this course, students will learn about soil formation, soil physics, chemistry and biology, nutrient cycles and flows, creating and managing high-quality soils.
Biodynamic AgricultureThis course covers the general principles and practices of biodynamic agriculture, understanding farm as a living whole ‘a living organism’ and creating closed loop self-sufficient farm. Students will also learn soil fertility, crop rotation, cover crops and green manures, biodynamic preparations, biodiversity, pest and weed control, use of lunar calendar in farming, as well as organic and biodynamic agriculture certification standards.
- 6 Months Field Work (Apr 30 – Oct 26)
How To Prepare Your Organic FieldStudents will learn how to prepare fields and build soils naturally before planting crops and will become acquainted with no-dig growing, green manures, cover crops, crop rotation, irrigation, and transplanting techniques for different types of crops. Students will learn how to properly use different tools and implements.
Planting, Plant Care and MaintenanceThis course acquaints students with global issues on seeds and the importance of heirloom seeds. They will learn to identify different types of seeds, such as heirloom or open pollinated seeds, hybrid seeds, and GMO seeds. Students will gain hands-on experience starting seeds indoors and sowing seeds using different techniques.
Pest Scouting and Weed ManagementStudents will learn about different methods of pest management, such as physical techniques and cultural practices like companion planting, trap cropping, mixed cropping, and biological approaches. They will learn how to use plant-based permitted inputs, natural predators, and parasites to their advantage.Students will learn about physical properties of soil (like profile and texture), chemical properties of soil (pH, cation exchange capacity), soil water, air, temperature, organic matter and humus, nutrient elements, organic manures, liquid formulations, and bio-inoculants.
Cold Season Cropping and Season ExtensionStudents will learn about cold season cropping and season extension.
Long-Term Storage Crops and End of Season PreparationsStudents will learn how to store crops long-term and how make preparations at the end of the season.
- 1 Month Apprenticeship (Oct 29 – Nov 23)This one-month apprenticeship trains students for specific jobs and builds career confidence. The host organization will mentor and guide the students. Apprenticeships are available in mainland U.S. and Nepal, Italy, Costa Rica, Indonesia (Bali), India, Kenya, Uganda, Canada, Hawaii, and more.
- Local Farm Incubation (Post Course Opportunity)Graduates interested in staying in the area after graduation and furthering their farm operation experience may enroll for the Farm Incubation Program. Organic certified farmland at Maharishi Vedic City (just north of Fairfield, Iowa) will be leased to graduates of the Regenerative Organic Agriculture Certificate Program. They can operate the leased land as their own farm business, selling their produce to MUM and to local consumers and retail outlets.
International Faculty and Guest Faculty
John Fagan PhD
Dr. John Fagan is a leading authority on sustainability and biosafety. He founded Global ID Group, a company which pioneered innovative molecular tools to advance food authenticity and agricultural sustainability. His biomedical research has been supported by millions of dollars in grants and was awarded the NIH Research Career Development Award.
Francis Thicke PhD
An organic farmer for over 30 years, Dr. Thicke and his wife Susan currently own a certified organic dairy in Fairfield, IA. Dr. Thicke served as a National Program Leader for Soil Science at the USDA Extension Service and was named the 2012 Farmer of the Year by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service.. Francis currently serves on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).
Jim Shaefer PhD
Jim Schaefer is CEO and Founder of Soil Technologies Corp., a biological agriculture technology developer and manufacturer in the USA. He is President of Partners for World Peace, a board member of Seeds of Heaven, and board member of Global Education Development Ltd. He has been published in the field of biological agriculture, holds a patent for biofertilizer development, and has over 30 years of experience developing organic agriculture projects globally.
Dean Goodale has worked in a number of agriculture-related businesses, including picking apples, building food processing machinery as a fabricator/welder, growing plants on a 35-acre avocado grove, assisting a 300-acre $5 million/yr. cut flower operation. Dean spearheaded the Maharishi World Peace Vedic Organic agriculture project is now Director of Operations for SFDG.
Jim has been Executive Director of Demeter since 2004. Jim is a hands-on Biodynamic farmer with 25 years experience and currently resides on his family’s Demeter Certified Biodynamic farm, the Hoskins Berry Farm, in Oregon. Jim brings a wealth of experience as a previous consultant for both Biodynamic and organic farming and processing operations, along with multiple years engaged as an independent Organic inspector and consultant.
Kris is part of the 4th generation to call his family farm home. Growing up just outside of Fairfield, IA, crop production, animal husbandry, and equipment operation/maintenance were normal parts of his day-to- day life. Kris went to Central College in Pella, IA to double-major in Environmental Science and Sociology with a focus on sustainable agriculture. Following graduation, Kris studied permaculture, worked on an organic vegetable farm, and started his own Market Garden farming operation in Fairfield. He currently works for MUM’s Sustainable Living Department as the R.O.A.P. farm manager, manages an organic greenhouse and orchard, and advises/installs small farm and garden projects.
Andre Leu is the author of The Myths of Safe Pesticides and the President of IFOAM–Organics International. His writing on many areas of organic agriculture, including climate change, the environment, and the health benefits of organic agronomy, has been published extensively in magazines, newspapers, journals, conference proceedings and newsletters. Andre has over 40 years of experience in all areas of organic agriculture.
Tom Newmark spent fourteen years in the natural vitamin and supplement industry, building New Chapter into a top company. He is co-owner of Finca Luna Nueva Lodge, board chair of the American Botanical Council, the founder and board chair of The Carbon Underground, board chair of the Greenpeace Fund USA, co-founder and steering committee member of Regeneration International, and was the founder and board chair of Sacred Seeds, an international conservation project now administered by United Plant Savers.
Following a full life as a practicing biodynamic horticulturist and dairy farmer, Peter became a farm advisor and teacher in New Zealand and India. Peter shared his profound knowledge and experience of biodynamics in a very practical way and always with humor and enthusiasm. Whether he was making compost, sowing seed, making biodynamic preparations, he always insisted that the job was well done.
Rachel’s formal education includes a B.Sc & M.Sc in plant science, as well as a Diploma of Biodynamic Agriculture. Rachel is self-taught in naked-eye astronomy, gives star watching sessions, and teaches the use of the planting calendar for organic and biodynamic students. Rachel regularly contributes a Moon calendar and gardening notes for the magazine Organic New Zealand .
Ivo Bertaina is currently President of Agri.Bio.Italia and Agri.Bio.Piemonte as well as brand coordinator for AgriBioDinamica certification. He teaches organic and biodynamic farming in Italy and abroad, and is currently researching new equipment to be used in biodynamic agriculture, the regeneration of the seed, and the use of music and eurythmy in agriculture.
Robert is co-director of the Biodynamic Association, one of the leading regenerative agriculture organizations in the United States. Robert has started numerous innovative food projects, including community supported agriculture projects (CSAs), farmers’ markets, institutional buying projects and farmer-buyer-consumer alliances. He is the founder of New Spirit Farmland Partnerships, LLC, a former executive director of Practical Farmers of Iowa, and former board chair of the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute.
Stuart is Co-Director of the Sustainable Living Coalition (SLC), a non-profit dedicated to Sustainability Education and Enterprise Design. He plays an adjunct faculty role at Maharishi University of Management in the area of Socially Responsible Investing, Sustainable Community Design and Transformational Entrepreneurship. Stuart holds an MBA and serves as a financial advisor with 16 years in the social, responsible and impact investment sectors.
Ken Roseboro is editor and publisher of The Organic & Non-GMO Report and The Non-GMO Sourcebook, the world’s only “farm to fork” directory of suppliers of non-GMO seeds, grains, ingredients, animal feed, and food products. His articles have been widely published. He is the author of Genetically Altered Foods and Your Health and The Organic Food Handbook, as well as a founding member of the Non-GMO Supply Working Group and a board member of the Iowa Organic Association.
Faith Reeves has a passion for learning how to produce truly nutritious food while regenerating soils. She is the Farm Manager of the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) demonstration farm at Sky Factory. She has designed, promoted and managed a Business Supported Agriculture (BSA) model, at the Sky Factory for the last 5 1/2 years. She has a certificate in Nutrition Farming® from NTS, a certificate in Permaculture Design, and is a graduate of Elaine Ingham’s “Living Soils” class.
Everything you need to know to apply to the program
How much does the certificate program cost?
Please use our cost calculator to get a cost estimate for the certificate program. Students enrolled in a degree program can apply for federal student aid, which may significantly reduce the cost for undergraduate degree-seeking U.S. students who are eligible for federal aid.
How do I talk to my college about applying?
To start the process, please talk to your university advisor and registrar and give them the program information. If they decide that you will be granted transfer credit, you can then fill out a normal application form for MUM. Once you are accepted to MUM, the tuition cost will be transferred from your university to ours.
When does the program start?
Arrival day is January 10, 2018, and the first day of class is Monday, January 16. See our academic calendar for more information.
Do I have to take these courses for credit?
No, these courses can be audited.
How can MUM students complete this program as part of their undergraduate degree?
New undergraduates at MUM may begin with the certificate courses — any or all of them. If you are applying to our undergraduate program with the intention of beginning with these courses, please select the following degree and major on our application form: Bachelor’s or Post Baccalaureate and Sustainable Living Ag (BA). Current MUM students may consult with their academic advisors to pursue the option of integrating certificate courses into their degree. Please visit our cost calculator to learn more about the cost of our undergraduate program.
Do I have to know Transcendental Meditation before I take this program?
No, you don’t. In fact, if you don’t know the technique already, you can learn it for free as part of your tuition cost!
If I don’t know TM already, where can I learn technique?
Visit www.tm.org to find a center near you. If it is not possible for you to learn TM before you arrive, you will learn the TM technique on campus. Please contact our faculty for more details.