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Eating Ecologically - Healthy, Local and Sustainable Food

28 July – 1 August 2014

With Fergus Drennan, Anne-Marie Mayer, Jane Pickard and Patrick Whitefield

This course is open for bookings.

We all need to eat. We all love to eat!

The pressure to provide food for a population of 9 billion by 2050 is leading us down the path of increasing intensification, mechanisation, chemical use and genetic modification while our health is suffering, obesity rates soar and biodiversity plummets.

But can we look at things another way?

Can we re-design our food growing systems to provide healthy food for all, while looking after the earth?

This course will start with human nutrition and explore the importance of plant foods, the paleolithic diet, the relevance of calories, intermittent fasting and supplementing our diet with wild foods.

Nowadays we assume that our waistlines will thicken and that multiple diseases will weaken us as we age. But there is plenty of evidence to show that this was not the case for pre-industrial humans. It is possible to make food choices in order to stay fit and healthy.

Then we will look at how a healthy diet can be produced locally, organically and sustainably using permaculture principles. Can we change our food preferences to include more perennial plant foods? Can we grow ‘wild’ foods without domesticating them? How much land could or should be allocated for meat and dairy production?

Come and enjoy Schumacher College’s famous food, cook alongside our amazing kitchen team and learn about how to make your own food choices.

During the week we will cook and eat delicious vegetarian food made from local, organic produce.

You will learn about a range of key issues and areas including:


Fergus Drennan

Fergus is a wild food experimentalist and educator who runs regular, total immersion foraging courses and writes for publications as diverse as BBC Countryfile Magazine, The Ecologist, Country Kitchen, Bushcraft and Survival Skills Magazine. He is also the star of the BBC programme The Roadkill Chef, which explores some more extreme food alternatives.

Currently he is researching wild food and foraging in all its multiple aspects as he prepares to spend a year living entirely on what he can forage. For more information, go to:

Anne-Marie Mayer

Anne Marie works on the interface between agriculture and nutrition and is passionate about sustainable solutions for both. She works for international organizations on research, evaluation, design, documentation of nutrition programmes and policy. She has a PhD in international nutrition and has also taught Permaculture Design. Now her goal is to bring sustainable design principles to global nutrition problems.

Dr Jane Pickard

Jane completed a BSc in Marine Biology and Oceanography from Bangor University and was then awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to study for her PhD in Zoology from the University of Tasmania. She worked for ten years in applied freshwater research in Australia before moving into permaculture consulting and teaching.

Since returning to the UK in 2010 she has worked with community groups developing food growing projects and was Head Gardener for the Sharpham Trust. She completed the Level 3 Sustainable Horticulture Diploma at Schumacher/Duchy College in 2011. She is particularly interested in learning how to grow enough interesting food crops to make a truly local diet both healthy and enjoyable.

Patrick Whitefield

Patrick was brought up on a smallholding in Somerset and qualified in agriculture at Shuttleworth College, Bedfordshire. After several years working in agriculture in the Middle East and Africa, he settled in central Somerset where he still lives. In 1983 he bought a flower-rich hay meadow to save it from destruction and kept it as a nature reserve for 25 years before handing it on to the Somerset Wildlife Trust for safe keeping. Since 1990 he’s devoted himself to permaculture, especially to teaching it, and is now one of the leading permaculture teachers in Britain, indeed in Europe. He combines a deep knowledge of the subject with an inspiring and professional teaching style. He’s written three books on permaculture: Permaculture in a Nutshell, How to Make a Forest Garden and The Earth Care Manual. His latest book is The Living Landscape: How To Read & Understand It a subject especially close to his heart. He also practices as a design consultant. Visit

Course Fees

£550 All course fees include accommodation, food, field trips and all teaching sessions.

For further information about Schumacher College please see About the College

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We will hold the place for five working days for reservations – three weeks before a course or earlier. After five days we will automatically offer your place to someone else if we have not received your application.

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Schumacher College is part of the Dartington Hall Trust, a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and as a charity (company no. 1485560, charity no. 279756). Registered office: The Elmhirst Centre, Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6EL, United Kingdom