Functioning and topics of the training sessions
The training sessions in the afternoons are made with the teacher and usually one or two students. Therefore, it searches for the interaction between teacher and student. A very important part of these sessions is devoted to deepening in the techniques that the student learns in the practical work carried out on the farm. For this discussion, the student has at his/her disposal abundant references of the web and bibliographic material (that can be used during his/her entire stay in the farm). The information available is discussed in the training sessions. In these sessions it is possible to use this bibliographic material and to make inquiries directly on Internet (both materials and videos of other projects proposed by the teacher or the same student).
In total there are 16 sessions equivalent to 2 months of stay. The subjects of the different 16 sessions are the following:
(a) The context
- The Mediterranean region. Changes in the Mediterranean landscape over the last 50 years (Session 1).
- Problems of current agriculture in the Mediterranean region, trends and proposals for solutions (Session 2).
(b) The principles of Polyfarming
- The soil: i) functioning and importance of a living soil; ii) tools for the interpretation of the state of the soil; iii) application of these tools to different situations (Sessions 3 and 4).
- The Mediterranean forest: i) values; ii) conservation problems; iii) forest dynamics; iv) elements for the interpretation of the state of the forest on the ground; v) application to management: improvement cuttings and regeneration of the forest (Sessions 5 and 6).
- Functioning of animal-plant relationships: i) functioning of the animal-plant relationship under natural conditions; ii) principles of intensive controlled grazing: ecophysiology of the regrowth of grass species and behaviour and welfare of animals; iii) definition and comparison of different proposals for intensive controlled grazing (Sessions 7 and 8).
(c) Tools and application of Polyfarming
- The Polyfarming project (Session 9).
- The forest as a source of resources: improvement cuttings, BRF, Biochar and complement for the feeding of the cows (Session 10).
- The animals as the main tool for soil regeneration and fertility management: i) design and monitoring of grazing in permanent plots; ii) design and monitoring of directed grazing in mobile plots (Session 11).
- Use of small animals for soil regeneration: i) chickens; ii) rabbits (Session 12).
- The orchard without tillage. i) design; ii) irrigation; iii) functioning (Session 13).
- Complementary tools for the improvement of fertility. Production and use of: i) Biofertilizers; ii) microorganisms of the forest floor; iii) cultivation on trunk beds; iv) BRF activated in the litter of the animals; v) activated biochar in the litter of animals and in animal food (Session 14).
(d) Practical application of Polyfarming
- Presentation of a case study for each student (if the student is thinking about carrying out their own project, they will take advantage of it to work on their own project) (Session 15).
- Joint discussion of the case studies made by the students (Session 16).