Organic Leadership Courses

Our planet needs people with the will and the energy
to take the lead, make decisions
and help us move towards a sustainable agricultural future.

Are you one of them?


What is the Organic Leadership Course (OLC)?

The OLC is a place to soak in knowledge on Organic Agriculture and hone holistic leadership skills in an interactive environment -- a place that will help you help Organic Agriculture flourish. The course provides:

  • latest information about organic production, trade, policy and regulation 
  • sound management principles and know-how 
  • opportunities to network with peers, organic pioneers and market leaders

The OLC offers 150 hours of intensive training in a class of 20 - 26 participants. This includes both residential and online seminars based on the principle of learning by doing.

A variety of methods are used to facilitate learning at different levels (action, reflection and theory). Learning with and from each other lies at the heart of the training. As the courses are organised on a regional level, content will be locally relevant with an international vision.

How Can I join? 

Openings for enrollment in our OLC will be posted here. Please keep checking the website for the next upcoming OLC.

Learn about our ongoing OLC Southeast Asia 2014/15 and OLC EU 2014/15.

Other Frequently asked questions

  1. Who is eligible?
  2. What will I learn?
  3. What is the format of the OLC?
  4. What will the OLC require of me?
  5. What are the tuition fees?
  6. Where has the OLC taken place? Where is it taking place?

1. Who is eligible?

Eligible participants are women and men, committed to the principles of Organic Agriculture, who wish to achieve personal development and leadership within the Organic Agriculture movement. Participants may have their background in:

  • Farmers organizations or national organic movements
  • Organic companies, production, processing, trade or retail
  • Organic certification bodies
  • Consumers organisations
  • Organizations campaigning for sustainable rural development
  • Research, extension, education or rural development institutions
  • Government institutions (e.g. ministries of agriculture, development or environment)
  • Development agencies

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2. What will I learn?

After completing the OLC, you will be able to:

  • Analyze situations holistically, draw conclusions in line with the principles of Organic Agriculture
  • Design strategies and lead people and organizations in an effective and ethical way
  • Develop organizations and manage projects, including their planning, fundraising, implementation, monitoring and evaluation
  • Build relationships, networks and cross-sector alliances
  • Master convincing communication inside and outside of your institution and influence organic advocacy targets
  • Make value chains more sustainable and competitive
  • Use services from the organic sector, including the IFOAM Organic Guarantee System, to develop the organic movement
  • Access research, advise and train

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3. What is the format of the OLC?

Two highly intensive residential modules (each about 8 days) are complemented by ten online learning sessions (each a half a day).

During the online training periods, OLC participants study the material provided on the learning platform at their own pace and meet on a regular basis in web-based seminars ("webinars"), consisting of lectures and discussions with subject experts.

OLC participants also use the time between residential modules to apply lessons learned to a project of their own choosing. The project is reported upon to the group and each participant receives feedback and support.

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4. What will the OLC require of me?

Participants are expected to actively engage in all residential trainings, webinars and individual tasks. They will need to implement a project of their own and perform a public appearance (e.g. as a conference speaker or in an interview in the mass media).

Learning success depends on the particpant's attitude; readiness to share experiences and openness to build relationships with peers and other learning process stakeholders is vital to achieve the course objectives.

Participants will need access to a computer and internet for the duration of the course. They are expected to invest on average a half to one day per week. In the course of the training it is also anticipated that the participants' organizations become IFOAM Affiliates.

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5. What are the tuition fees?

The tuition fees include training, teaching materials, excursions, board, lodging and internet access (during the residential training), access to the e-learning software, certification and access to the alumni network. They exclude travel costs to the residential trainings, participants' equipment and pocket money.

 IFOAM may assist candidates in obtaining scholarships.

Tuition fees vary from region to region depending on the training cost. Please consult the respective OLC brochures to learn more about specific courses.

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6. Where has the OLC taken place? Where is it taking place?

Currently, the IFOAM Academy is implementing the OLC South Asia III (2014) and the OLC Europe II (2014/15). The OLC Southeast Asia I (2014/15) will start in September 2014.

The OLC training program was launched in 2012 in South Asia. This OLC South Asia I (2012) was followed by the OLC South Asia II (2013) and the OLC Europe I (2013/14).

 In May 2014, the IFOAM Academy concluded the OLC East Asia I (2013/14) and the OLC Latin America I (2013/2014).

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Currently ongoing. Registration closed.
Currently ongoing. Registration closed.
OLC South Asia III 2014
Currently ongoing. Registration closed.