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Gaia's Garden: Summer in the Schumacher grounds

Photo: Azul Thome

Practical skills for sustainable local food – A short course

July 18 – 22, 2010 (arrival Sunday PM)

Garden activities led by Dyane Osborne

Other contributors: Martin Crawford, Rhamis Kent, Nick Gooderham

Click here to book your place online.

In recent years, a lot of work has gone into transforming pockets of land local to Schumacher College into diverse and productive spaces.

Participants on this course will visit and hear from these local practitioners at the cutting edge of sustainable and community-based food production activities and learn sustainable ways of growing food and managing land.

Course detail

The College itself has an expertly tendered community garden – which serves as an outdoor classroom where participants can work with, and hear from the staff that make it thrive. There will be a number of special sessions including:

Course day-by-day

Sunday

Arrival in time for a delicious vegetarian supper.

Opening Circle and welcome to Schumacher College; meeting other participants and course leaders, hear more about the activities planned and be introduced to the College and its facilities. There will be a chance for students to share their thoughts and aspirations as a novice or experienced gardener in anticipation of the days ahead.

Monday

Morning session

Dyane will lead an outdoor workshop on small-space gardening. Students will make wooden planters from local timber to create a mini herb garden and a three-dimensional vegetable display – whilst gaining hints and tips on container-gardening for themselves.

Afternoon session

Visit to School Farm and a chance to meet Horticulturalist Nick Gooderham. Nick is pioneering a low-carbon growing method based on organic standards and a ‘minimum tillage’ policy – disturbing the soil as little as possible. Nick will guide students around the farm, answer questions and give them the opportunity to harvest some crops.

Evening session

Wendy Stayte, retired doctor, enthusiastic amateur gardener and leader of various land-based projects in the Totnes area, will join the group to discuss her work restoring land to productivity and the healing potential of working with plants. Projects she will talk about include the Nut Tree Planting project, the Garden Share scheme, the Seedy Sisters [seed and plant saving and swapping], and the making of a Totnes Guide to Local Food.

Tuesday

Morning session

Students will visit Dartington Forest Garden, a project of the Agroforestry Research Trust, where Martin Crawford has transformed a 2 acre field into a demonstration forest garden comprising many different levels of trees, shrubs and ground covers, all coexisting and producing useful products such as fruits, nuts, medicinal products etc. The forest garden is self-sustaining, containing a very diverse number of species and thus very resilient to pests, diseases and the vagaries of the climate. It provides a wide variety of foods including fruits, nuts, edible leaves, medicinal plants as well as useful items like poles and fibres for tying.

Afternoon session

Dyane will take students around the College’s own very different forest garden, which is designed to be a constant source of food for the College. It is a great example of a young forest garden which we hope will be encouraging to those who’d like to try some methods on their own land and within community growing and educational projects.

Evening session

Permaculture designer and teacher Rhamis Kent will talk about his work in Detroit, where urban agriculture projects, involving the urban poor and people of colour in growing their own food, are transforming the post-industrial landscape of the city.

Wednesday

Morning session

A practical, hands-on session that explores the wonders of compost. Dyane will give an introduction into producing your own top-quality compost, and its uses in the garden.

Afternoon session

Magical mushrooms. Dyane will help to dispel some of the mystery that surrounds our fabulous fungi, with a visit to the Schumacher Shitake logs. Students will leave with the knowledge to go and grow their own.

Evening session

Final evening party/soiree. A chance to share skills and talents in an informal soiree setting, as well as to enjoy the College bar and possibly a campfire.

Thursday

Bringing the learning together with a last morning working in the gardens with Dyane, discussing final questions that have arisen during the course. This session will complete with a Closing Circle, with the rest of the College community.

Departure after lunch.

Contributors

Dyane Osborne is an educator and professional gardener. She has a degree in Environmental Education from Bicton College and currently works part-time in the gardens at Schumacher College and part-time at Park School where she is developing the grounds for food production and educational use.

Martin Crawford runs the Agroforestry Research Trust. He has over 20 years’ experience of Organic horticulture, agriculture and agroforestry. The Agroforestry Research Trust is a non-profit making charity which researches into temperate agroforestry and into all aspects of plant cropping and uses, with a focus on tree, shrub and perennial crops.

Nick Gooderham previously worked for Sutton Seeds and is now bringing new life to glasshouses, poly-tunnels and a small acreage on the Dartington Estate. This ambitious horticultural project is based on a ‘minimum tillage’ approach to growing, and is working towards organic certification. Engaging local people as volunteers and customers, the operation has already become an established part of the local food supply and community infrastructure, and an important part in the Estate’s strategy to relocalise food production. It also serves contracts with local florists, reducing their dependence on imports.

Rhamis Kent is an African American permaculture designer & trainer/teacher currently living in Cornwall. He was trained by and works closely with Geoff Lawton, director of the Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) of Australia (www.permaculture.org.au) and manager of permaculture co-founder Bill Mollison’s Tagari Farm (www.tagari.com). In April 2010, he is scheduled to conduct a design course in Detroit with local leaders in the urban agriculture movement presently underway there. What is taking place in Detroit is “ground zero” in the transformation of post-industrial urban America.

You can access the content of this course in several, flexible ways:

Full Schumacher experience: This full 4-day course is offered at the special price of £495 for all teaching, workshops, food and accommodation. This is over £250 less than our normal short-course price.

Non-resident (those local to Schumacher College only): The full course programme is offered to those of you who live nearby for the half price of £250. Price includes delicious vegetarian lunch and tea/coffee on each day. This is a special price to encourage our local community to join-in.

Day rate for one, two or three days: Join in with the workshops, visits and talks on a Taster Day for the special rate of £75, which includes a homemade vegetarian lunch and morning tea/coffee. Click here to see the Taster Days page

Apply

Book your place now! – click here to access our on-line booking system

Book by fax or mail! – click here to find out how

For further information about Schumacher College please see About the College

Reserve your place now

To provisionally reserve a place for 5 days, email us your contact details and the name of the course admin@schumachercollege.org.uk

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