SINGLE MUM Abigail Ashton has described her experience of studying Organic Farming at Scotland’s Rural College as a 'dream come true'.

The 31-year-old from Huntly became interested in food production and organic farming while doing research for her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Glasgow.

After volunteering on several farms, Abigail decided to return to study and discovered the Organic Farming course run by SRUC from its Craibstone campus in Aberdeen.

Two years on, she has been awarded a postgraduate diploma – as well as the SRUC Prize for Best Postgraduate Diploma Student in Organic Farming – and is continuing on to do a Masters degree.

“I chose SRUC because they run the only university-level organic farming course in the UK,” said Abigail. “I have a strong desire to work in the organic sector and wanted to deepen my knowledge on the subject. I also wanted to gain the opportunity to learn from, and interact with, experts in the field.”

The fact that the course is delivered by part-time online distance learning was also attractive to Abigail, who has a young daughter: “I really valued the range of lecturers who taught the course – all experts in their field and very knowledgeable on organic farming issues relating particularly to Scotland."

In addition to her studies, she got the opportunity to work on an organic livestock farm where she helped start a market garden.

Dr Lou Ralph, programme leader for the organic farming course, said: “The programme’s format allows people with other life commitments to study, and attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds, and from near and far.

“Some students come from an academic background, and some from a more practical farming background, and it’s great to see how they progress during their time studying with SRUC.

“Abi won the Postgraduate Diploma prize this year and I am delighted that she is now continuing on to achieve her Masters degree.”

Places are still available on the Organic Farming course starting in September. For more information, visit the SRUC website.