Organic Success TAFE course

You can only be a successful organic farmer if you understand what you are doing.

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If you don't understand what is happening in your fields, all the facts in the world won't make you successful. For example, if you try to substitute something for each chemical that you use now, you will find that there is no single replacement for each job done by a chemical.

It takes more than that.

It's not too hard, it just takes a bit of skill, a good understanding and a willingness to stick at it. Patience is one of the most important techniques in organic farming.

If you are committed - either because you definitely want to be organic or because being organic has enough benefits for you, you can overcome almost any obstacle. Organic farming is no different from most other things that way.

But where do you learn how to farm this way?

You could go and ask your grandparents what they did, but they may not be able to tell you it all because of a lot of what they did was almost instinctive, learned by absorption as they worked alongside their parents.

But if they could, you would still be hard pressed to get all the subtleties of it, particularly because they used different varieties and different tools to those around today and did things in ways that probably seem foreign to you.

Lots of the things they did just because that was what farmers did in those days. So how would they explain the reasons to you? Plus how would they integrate the best of those old ways with the best of today's understanding so they could help you make it work?

So it helps to have someone who can sort the wheat from the chaff. Someone who has done it themselves. Someone who has taught hundreds of people how to do it. Someone who has seen hundreds of organic farmers and how they tackle similar problems to the ones you face.

If read on for more about the Organic Success course.

With a good grip on what you are doing, what works and what doesn't, you can add knowledge and improve your farming.

The Organic Success course is for people who
If seeing better results from your farming every day sounds interesting to you, look at the following summary of the Organic Success course, subject by subject.
Topic What we cover in it
Principles Why people farm organically, what they believe and the rules they follow. Similarities and differences between permaculture, sustainability and organics.
Ecology How plants, animals and microbes work together with the soil, the climate, each other and the farmer.
And what you can do about it if they don't.
Fertility and Soil ecology Soil is the foundation of a well-run organic farm. How to keep it healthy. Organic farmers feed the soil, rather than the plant.
Organic Plants and Animals Plants make soil, produce harvests, feed animals and supply the oxygen we breathe - all on solar energy. We learn to assist them.
Animals grow wool, milk, meat and more. They produce manure and stop plants going rampant. We learn to assist them.
General pest management We look at a range of pests found in your enterprises: Weeds, internal parasites, flystrike and other areas.
Converting to organics Few people buy a workable organic farm, so they convert one. This is how to convert the farm. Mostly it's about converting yourself.
Enhancing profitability Keeping on farming means making a profit. It's easier in organic farming because you can add value and market better.
Managing organic farms Good organic farming is integrated, it works well together. This topic is where we start the course and end it. Everything in the course is linked through this subject. This course is also integrated. This keeps the course relevant to what you do on your farm

Humans have been more successful than other animals mainly because we developed tools and techniques they didn't. Being civilised also gave us time and facilities to develop culture, so farming allowed us to develop fully as humans. No wonder many people who have never been on a farm yearn to get back to the land.

What does it involve?

One weekend starting on the Friday evening, all day Saturday and all day Sunday. It's compressed into a short space to give us maximum benefit without taking you away from your farming or other work for too long.

Tuition and notes cost $385.

We supply tea and coffee, you supply your meals. It's a good idea to bring a lunch that's ready to eat because there is no food supply on the TAFE campus. The shops are not far away, so if bringing lunch doesn't work for you, you can always grab a takeaway.

Is it suitable for gardeners?

The course is not about gardening, it is about farming, although you can apply almost all of it to the garden.

We cover most types of farming: broadacre cropping, vegetables, animals, herbs, fruit and more to suit the interests of the class.

The course is in plain English with new words explained as we go. There are no exams .

The course is taught in the paddock, in the shed and at the TAFE college. We solve problems, play learning games, work in teams and have a lot of fun.

The course is challenging. It takes work and commitment. But you can do it even if you didn't enjoy school. If you are unsure, talk to your teacher.

You will also look at what further learning you need or want, because this course, like any other course, cannot teach it all to you. All it can do is equip you for understanding, inspire you to more learning, give you some pointers and help you get some necessary skills.

Not everyone can afford their own farm, so we look at ways around that, including how to farm without owning land.

Who does the course?

Some previous learners are certified organic farmers (veges, cattle, horses, herbs, mixed); some work in organic food shops; some provide farm stays; some retired to hobby farms; some have become organic food manufacturers; some have gone back to the family farm to make it organic and some are still heading for farming.

What if I know little about farms?

It doesn't matter what you know because this course is about understanding how to run a farm without chemicals rather than the detail of what to do on farm (such as how to build a fence). TAFE offers plenty of other modules to cover those areas and you can do them separately.

What if I already farm organically?

Tell us about it before the course so we can allow for the knowledge and understanding you have.

To find out more

Contact your experienced organic teacher, Michael Burlace on 02 4782 7733 or 0409  075 558

If you would like to contact us, please use this link.

If you are looking at a printed version of this page and you would like to visit it on the internet and get a stack of other info that may assist you, the full web address is

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