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Gaia’s Kitchen Meets Gaia’s Garden

September 13-16, 2011

Teachers: Julia Ponsonby, Wayne Schroeder, Dave Hamilton, with contributions from the Schumacher garden team.

This course is open for bookings.

September is a month of abundance for gardeners and for food lovers. Every year the College finds new and inspiring ways to work with the wide variety of seasonal produce grown locally and in the College gardens. Out of this seasonal plenty our team of celebrated cooks conjure up delicious meals, soups, preserves, and baked products which are internationally renowned.

This course provides an opportunity to:

• Learn from award winning cookery author Julia Ponsonby and College Catering Manager Wayne Schroeder
• Learn how to prepare a wide variety of edible delicacies – some of which you will be able to take home at the end of the course.
• Learn about and taste new recipes from the next Gaia cookbook, before the book is published!
• Learn new techniques for making food look and taste great.
• Enjoy being with other lovers of good food.
• Reflect on your relationship with food.
• Understand where good food can lead to a more sustainable lifestyle.
• Learn about the wide range of edible produce that can be found in hedgerows, woodlands and forest gardens.

Gaia’s Kitchen with Julia Ponsonby

Schumacher College’s cookbook Gaia’s Kitchen, has not been out of print since it was first published in 2000. In 2001 Julia Ponsonby was awarded The Gourmand World Cookbook Award for best vegetarian cookbook. The College’s second cookbook is well on the way to completion, and you will be able to try out some of the new recipes, working alongside Wayne and Julia.

An edible Schumacher experience

Each morning and afternoon will feature a different practical workshop based either in the kitchen, dining room, and garden or around our new wood-fired cob oven. In the evening, there’ll be time for discussion before adjourning to the bar.

The activities on offer will include:

• Seasonal soup making
• Creative uses for abundant vegetables
• Baking and bread products – including baking in outdoor cob oven
• Jams, preserves and pickles
• Forest garden salads and fruits
• Inspiring a new relationship with food, and reflections on health and dietary choices
• Foraging and seasonal treats

Course outline:

Arrive in time for lunch
Opening Circle and introduction to the College staff, library, kitchen and garden
Getting to know each other
Foraging with Dave Hamilton
Evening talk by Dave Hamilton on foraging and seasonal treats

Wayne Schroeder: Reflections on dietary choices – health issues, seasonality, local vs exotic
Identifying and gathering forest garden salads
Wayne Schroeder: Different techniques for working with abundant vegetables – steaming, frying, roasting, caramelising, chopping, salads and soups

Voirrey Watterson: Pickles and fermentation, drying fruits, sourdough
Julia Ponsonby: Preserves and jams, bottling and chutneys

Julia Ponsonby: Breads and pizzas – baking using the cob oven
Departure after lunch


Sustainable Health Care: The Challenges and Opportunities, July 2011

Julia Ponsonby , Senior Caterer

Julia coordinates catering at the college two days a week. She has been at the College since the beginning and occupied various roles- including being a participant on the first course (Gaia theory 1991). Before the birth of Stephan and Julia’s son Oscar in 2001, she worked full time as the Catering Manager and put together the college cookbook Gaia’s Kitchen which won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for best veggie cookbook.

Only at Schumacher College where the steamier side of the culinary world eclipses under the banner of team work and love of good fresh local food could I have enjoyed catering for so long. It’s exciting to see the importance of food (preparation, sourcing and growing) being put at the forefront of some of the cutting edge movements of today – the Transition movement and the Slow Food movement – and to realise that as a learning ground for holistic cooks, the College kitchen has a lot to contribute.

Sustainable Health Care: The Challenges and Opportunities, July 2011

Wayne Schroeder, Catering Manager

Wayne started working at the College in January 2001. He is a food technologist, Chef, Artisan Baker and Cheesemaker and has been involved in food for the past 30 years. He is Head of Food at Schumacher College and has the challenge of keeping the College on the cutting edge of food policy with regard to organic, fair-trade and local ingredients. Wayne is the originator of the concept ‘Food – A Path to Radical Amazement’.

Sustainable Health Care: The Challenges and Opportunities, July 2011

Dave Hamilton, Horiculture Teacher and Author
For quite some time food has been Dave Hamilton’s passion. He began baking cakes as soon as he could pick up a spoon to stir the mixture. At the age of 10 he became a vegetarian and by the time he was 15 he was cooking all his own meals. A few years on, he is now a qualified horticulturalist, a food writer and a vegetable grower.
He teaches on the sustainable horticulture courses run at the College and also runs courses teaching about wild food leading groups at the Eden Project and the National Trust. He has also recently written Grow your food for free …well almost published by Green Books. Dave is co-founder and creator of and co-wrote The Selfsufficientish Bible along with his brother Andy.

Course Fees

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