Stellenbosch Agroecology Academy
Founded against the backdrop of the convergent national challenges of high youth unemployment, food insecurity, and the need to accelerate land reform, the Stellenbosch Agroecology Academy offers a nationally accredited, four-year, youth development programme in sustainable food systems.
The Academy is a partnership between the Sustainability Institute, Stellenbosch University, and local farmers who all share a vision of developing a nationally scalable model for supporting young people into meaningful green economy careers in sustainable agriculture and food value chains.
It is a fully residential programme based at Lynedoch Ecovillage, designed to create a safe-to-fail incubation space for young agro-entrepreneurs. Through the combination of formal qualifications and extended periods of hands-on learning (both on farms and in their own businesses), the Agroecology Academy has been designed to support the emergence of sustainable food systems at a grass-roots level.
The Agroecology Academy is grass-roots focussed, but is not intended to act as a stand-alone training offering. It forms part of an integrated research programme run by Stellenbosch University aimed at addressing youth unemployment, land reform and food insecurity.
Outline of 4 Year curriculum
Year 1: NQF Level 1 Qualification in Mixed Farming Systems
Year 2: Apprenticeship year
Year 3: NQF Level 4 Qualification in Plant Production
Year 4: Business incubator
At the end of this final year, learners have 3 options: continue on the path of an agro-entrepreneur with supported access to land, use their improved CV to apply for salaried employment, or continue on to higher levels of tertiary education.
Working towards a national model backed by research
The Agroecology Academy forms part of an integrated research programme aimed at addressing youth unemployment, land reform and food insecurity through the sustainable intensification of agricultural production and the re-imagining of peri-urban food value chains.
As such, the development of the Agroecology Academy is not only informed by the most recent scientific thinking in South Africa, it also serves to inform the South African research and policy environments through an on-going research programme funded by the Open Society Foundation in collaboration with Stellenbosch University.
PO Box 162, Lynedoch, Stellenbosch, 7603, South Africa
t +27 (0) 21 881 3196
f +27 (0) 21 881 3294