Schumacher College
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Dr. Jonathan Rae, Head of College

Jon heads up the College. He has a doctorate in Geography and Anthropology from the University of Oxford, an MSc in Environmental Management from the University of Stirling, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Desert Studies from Ben-Gurion University in Israel and a BSc in Business (minor in Economics) from George Mason University in the US.

Jon has held senior fellowships with the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research and the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (member of the Consultative Group for Agricultural Research). Whilst holding a variety of roles with the Climate, Energy and Tenure Division of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (United Nations) he was seconded to co-facilitate the Environment Arm of the Clinton Middle East Peace Process. Jon has facilitated and launched a range of co-operative enterprises in local produce, skills training and education. His research and applied interests are collective responses to sustainability issues, social enterprise and local livelihoods, common property management and resilient institutions, ecological design and regeneration. Jon has published on a range of issues in professional journals and books.

Email: / Tel: +44 (0)1803 847240

Satish Kumar, Visting Fellow

Satish was the originator and cofounder of Schumacher College, served as its program director from 1991 to 2010, and was also the primary fundraiser during that time. He is currently a visiting fellow.

A former monk and long-term peace and environment activist, Satish has been quietly setting the Global Agenda for change for over 50 years. He was just nine when he left his family home to join the wandering Jains and 18 when he decided he could achieve more back in the world, campaigning for land reform in India and working to turn Gandhi’s vision of a renewed

In 1973 Satish settled in the United Kingdom taking up the post of editor of Resurgence magazine, a position he has held ever since, making him the UK’s longest-serving editor of the same magazine. During this time, he has been the guiding spirit behind a number of now internationallyrespected ecological and educational ventures including Schumacher College. Read more

Click here to download his biography

Click here to read about Resurgence, which Satish edits

Email: c/o:
Tel: +44 (0)1803 865934

Dr Stephan Harding, Head of Holistic Science & Resident Ecologist

Stephan oversees the MSc in Holistic Science, teaching on the core models and as part of several of the short courses at the College.

Stephan was born in Venezuela in 1953. He came to England at the age of six with his father and housekeeper, with whom he spoke Spanish (his mother tongue) at home. Since childhood Stephan has had a deep fascination with the natural world, and his scientific cast of mind lead him to do a degree in Zoology at the University of Durham and then a doctorate on the behavioural ecology of the muntjac deer at Oxford University. Read more

Tel: +44 (0)1803 847225

Philip Franses, Lecturer in Complexity and Holistic Science

In September 2009 Philip joined the MSc in Holistic Science Faculty as teacher of complexity.

Born in 1958 in England, Philip studied mathematics at New College Oxford from 1976 to 1980. Academia’s dull explanation of the world inspired Philip on a counter-journey into the depths of experience, travelling and a re-sensitisation to quality. In 2005, after a fifteen-year career designing intelligent software, culminating in a programme now used in The Netherlands by all Dutch courts, Philip had a chance encounter with Satish Kumar and was moved to come to Schumacher as an MSc student. Philip began and edits the Holistic Science Journal. He is also the convener of a successful inquiry forum called Process and Pilgrimage. Read more.

Tel: +44 (0)1803 847234

Julie Richardson, Co-Head of Economics (currently on secondment to Worldwide Development during 2012/2013)

Julie has taught ecological economics and international development at the Universities of London and Sussex and has worked in sustainable development for over 20 years in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. This experience changed her view of ‘development’ – believing there is much we can learn from the wisdom of other cultures about sustainable livelihoods and restoring healthy relationship between human society and nature.

Julie has applied systems thinking and complexity science to different aspects of sustainability – including sustainable design, organizational change and environmental policy. The Landscope project at Dartington arose out of this work to demonstrate industrial ecology in practice. Read more

Tel: +44 (0)1803 847249

Jonathan Dawson, Co-Head of Economics

Jonathan is a sustainability educator, currently working as Head of Economics at Schumacher College in Devon. Until recently a long-term resident at the Findhorn ecovillage and a former President of the Global Ecovillage Network, he has around 20 years experience as a researcher, author, consultant and project manager in the field of small enterprise development in Africa and South Asia.

Jonathan is the principal author of the Gaia Education sustainable economy curriculum, drawn from best practice within ecovillages worldwide, that has been endorsed by UNITAR and adopted by UNESCO as a valuable contribution to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. He teaches this curriculum at universities, ecovillages and community centres in Brazil, Spain and Scotland. He has also adopted the curriculum to virtual format and teaches it through the Open University of Catalunya in Barcelona.

Read Jonathan’s Blog here >>

Tel: 01803 847216

Tim Crabtree – Senior Lecturer in Economics

Tim Crabtree has 25 years experience in the third sector, working in policy development and business advisor roles before becoming the chief executive of Local Food Links Ltd, a successful Dorset-based social enterprise which provides vocational training and community education, and delivers user-led catering services in partnership with 23 schools and a range of older people’s organisations.

Tim stepped down as chief executive in May 2010, and worked for Cardiff University, researching the future direction of the community food sector, with Wessex Community Assets, researching the links between renewable energy and food production, and for a number of other clients as a business advisor. Tim has worked with international organisations such as the Resource Centre for Philippine Concerns and the International Institute for Environment and Development, for national organisations such as the New Economics Foundation, and for South West based organisations such as the Bristol & Avon Community Enterprise Network, Dorset Community Action and Wessex Reinvestment Trust group.


Dr Jane Pickard – Head of Ecological Horticulture

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. She also taught clarinet, saxophone and piano for 10 years. 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. She still has a soft spot for water mites.

Tel: +44 (0) 1803 847239

Bethan Stagg, Lecturer in Ecological Horticulture

Bethan teaches soil science, botany and ecology on vocational, short course and postgraduate programmes. Bethan’s passions are the role of soil ecology and botanical diversity in creating sustainable food systems and our relationships with plants on many levels. Bethan has a BSc in Biology from University of Bristol, an MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation from the University of Leeds and fifteen years professional experience, including as a co-ordinator of the national Allotments Regeneration Initiative, ecological consultant and farmers market manager. Bethan is undertaking research into pedagogy for field botany and phenomenological assessment of grassland ecosystems. Bethan lives next to the moors, with partner Michael and Doris the dog.

Tel: +44 (0)1803 847218

Jane Gleeson – Lead Gardener

Jane graduated in Medical Sciences at Cambridge University in 1990 and spent over ten years working in the NHS mostly within the field of mental health. 15 years ago she had what she describes as a Pauline Damascus experience and converted to horticulture. She studied and worked at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew for three years and then taught Horticulture at Hadlow College in Kent. Before coming to Schumacher she taught part time whilst running her own local garden maintenance business.

She says: “I love working at the College with its emphasis on exploring and developing respectful relationships to each other, the planet and the food that sustains us.”

Tel: +44 (0)1803 847248

Professor Seaton Baxter OBE, MA Ecological Design Thinking

Professor Seaton Baxter is a leading figure in ecological design and received his OBE for his services to the Scottish environment. Founder of the ‘Centre for the Study of Natural Design’ at the University of Dundee he has successfully supervised a wide range of masters and doctoral students many of whom have gone onto to make significant contributions across the ecological design field. Seaton established his name as a leading thinker and practitioner on the design of agricultural buildings and facilities for animal welfare, waste management and low carbon systems. He has a long standing interest in building conservation and rurality.

Professor Baxter is Programme Co-ordinator and Senior Lecturer, Masters in Ecological Design Thinking

Ruth Potts, development co-ordinator, MA Ecological Design Thinking

Ruth co-ordinated the development of the MA in Ecological Design Thinking at Schumacher College and is part of the teaching team. She is a co-founder of bread, print & roses, a collective engaged in seditious pamphleteering, radical walking, anarchist baking and transformative education. Previously, Ruth was Campaign Organiser for the Great Transition at nef (the new economics foundation) where she co-developed a new model of campaign designed to kick-start the decade -long transition to a new economy and society. She is the co-author of The New Materialism, covered by the Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times, and a co-author of nef’s Clone Town Britain reports. Ruth helped to organise the Green New Deal Group in 2007 and managed the launch of the Group’s First report, A Green New Deal, in July 2008. The concept was subsequently taken up by UNEP, and influenced policy around the globe.

Ruth is a trustee of the Pioneer Health Foundation, the pioneering holistic model of health that influenced the World Health Organisation. She brought together and co-hosts eco-feminist collective: the Hoydens, co-created and curated a series of events about the joy and intelligence of craft at the School of Life: Practitioner’s Parlour, and more recently helped to devise a series of poetry events celebrating unusual spaces and liminal places: ‘Somewhere in Particular.’

Tel: +44 (0)1803 847235

Heather Gillard, Operations Manager

Heather is reponsible for the overseeing the day to day running of the College.
Before her arrival at the College in 2001 she worked as office manager for Kindred Spirit magazine. Prior to that she made a change of direction and downshifted after more than fifteen years of working for the US Government as UK Sales Manager for the Stars and Stripes newspaper. Her favourite place in the College is the window seat in the library at the opening meeting at the start of a new course, listening to new participants introducing themselves. ‘How incredible to be able to go to work and meet such an amazing assortment of wonderful people from all over the World.’

Tel: +44 (0)1803 847213

Melanie Stewart, Postgraduate Courses Manager

Melanie administers the MSc in Holistic Science course, giving support to the academic tutors and the students. She works three days a week at the College, and her remaining time is occupied with studying complementary therapies, healing, astrology and related subjects. Before coming to Schumacher, Melanie had worked in central London for many years: in business marketing for the Financial Times and more latterly in government communications in Whitehall. Melanie has a BSc degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (Linguistics with Music) and in the Autumn will qualify as a reflexologist. When she left London she was keen to align her working life with her core values: ‘It’s fantastic to be working in a place dedicated to exploring and developing more authentic paradigms for living as opposed to the pursuit of profit and power without care for the environmental and social consequences.’

Tel: +44 (0)1803 847221

Dr Rachel Fleming, Communications and Development Manager

Rachel has a background in environmental science and policy, with a PhD in ecological risk assessment and pollution control. After senior positions at the Environment Agency and Defra (plus a good dose of voluntary work and travel) she realised that education and communication was her best contribution towards positive change. Ten years later, after writing, editing and founding sustainable-living publications of her own, she arrived here at Schumacher College to run the communication and development work.

“Schumacher College is such a powerful place for personal and collective transformation, it’s the only place I want to be right now”.


Tel: +44 (0)1803 865 934

Lou Rainbow, Fundraising, Events and Promotions

Lou began her career as a published and recorded writer, working on radio and touring as a performer, sketch writer and poet.
Since then she has clocked up over fifteen years experience working in the arts sector and has worked in publishing and book selling, marketing and arts development. She worked as a community arts officer for a local authority, delivering creative workshops for The Housing Association and Young Offender Programmes and also has experience as a Marketing Officer for a Contemporary Art Gallery. Lou has also managed her own ceramics business, Made on Earth.
Before moving to Devon, Lou worked for the past 7 years for Arts Council England, specialising in Visual Arts and Literature and as Regional Partnerships Officer. Lou has been interested and influenced by land and our relationship with it for many years and it is a continual theme in her own writing and creativity.

Tel: +44 (0)1803 847238

William Thomas, House Manager

William has been at the college for 20 years and manages the accommodation as well as various facilities across the college campus. Being resident on site, he is the point of contact for all first aid and emergency needs. He provides IT, photographic and multimedia support for all teachers and students, and manages the students’ archive of learning resources.

He has a degree in psychology, worked for BBC Radio Bristol doing regular interviews and is a craftsman. He has worked closely with various aspects of the Schumacher lifestyle, including meditation, soirees, community work and technology.

Tel: +44 (0)1803 847217

Julia Ponsonby, Head of Food

Julia coordinates the catering two days a week. Before the birth of Stephan and Julia’s son Oscar in 2001, Julia 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 in 2001. Julia has been at the College since the beginning and occupied various roles- including being a participant on the first course (Gaia theory 1991). She originally came to the College to deepen her knowledge of ecology so as to become a more effective member of the Green Party.

Before moving to Devon she worked for Westminster City Council and the medical charity Lepra. Prior to this she studied Social Anthropology and Philosophy at the University of East Anglia. ‘I have always loved cooking, but never thought I’d end up as a professional cook! 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.’

Tel: +44 (0)1803 847222

Sarah Bayley, Vegetarian Chef

With a background that spans both the conventional and alternative worlds, and being an avid ‘people watcher’ with a great (and somewhat irreverent) sense of humour, Sarah is well suited to enjoy the key role she occupies in the Schumacher College kitchen. She grew up and spent her early adulthood in suburban Surrey. As a teenager she became a speed walking champion. Having parted with a boyfriend who looked like James Bond but wouldn’t let her cook so much as an omelette, Sarah found and married solar engineer Dan Bayley whom she moved down to Devon where Sarah was at last able to realise her love not only of animals and gardening but of cooking. She discovered the great power of food for nurturing people and with her culinary skills flourishing she soon took on the role of catering manager for the Grimstone Community. Together with Dan, Sarah founded a vegetarian catering business ‘Veggie Heaven’ and began to be a regular provider at festivals up and down the country. Sarah and Dan enjoy the company of their young son who has introduced them to the delights of Pepper Pig and Thomas the Tank Engine. They also continue to foster greyhounds and are active members of the Transition Streets initiative.

Email: c/o:
Tel: +44 (0)1803 847222

Ruth Rae, Vegetarian Chef

Ruth has been working in the Schumacher kitchen for a year and a half, and she has this to say “It is truly a wonderful and inspiring place to work. I have always enjoyed cooking, eating, experimenting and sharing food and it is a joy to find a place and people to share this with. When I’m not working, I look after my son and am also involved in printmaking, children’s art workshops, sewing and growing food.”

Tel: +44 (0)1803 847222

Tara.Vaughan-Hughes, Vegetarian Chef

Before coming to Schumacher (and the UK), Tara lived in her home state of Vermont in the USA, where she started and operated a very successful restaurant/café called Eat Good Food, which specialised in locally grown, seasonal foods. “I’ve been in and out of the restaurant business since I was 18 – I kept leaving to work at what I thought of as more professional jobs, but I always came back. I just love to cook because I love food and I love feeding people. A friend and employee of mine once told me, ‘Some people eat to live, but you live to eat!’ and that’s not far from the truth. I think that life is filled with pleasure, and for me, eating is near the top of the list – as a bonus we get to do it at least three times a day!” Tara’s cooking is heavily influenced by her love of the Mediterranean food cultures, but she is definitely not averse to a cream tea or an old-fashioned, gooey American brownie.


Tel: +44 (0)1803 847222

Senior Volunteers

Thomas Rickard – Senior Volunteer

Thomas is involved with everything that relates to the volunteers life and work at the College: he organizes their work schedule for the week, and the work groups that they will lead. He organises the induction of the new volunteers, talks with the new candidates for volunteering at the College, helps to facilitate the communication between the volunteers, and the whole community when needed.

Thomas graduated in 2011 from the University of Sussex with a Human Sciences Bsc. He has a long history of support work with a wide variety of clients and experience as a Community Warden with the housing office, Brighton. Thomas has a great interest in story and storytelling as well as systems thinking.

Attending the short course ‘Tell me Another Story’ at the College in November of 2012, and volunteering for the month of May, he began as the volunteer coordinator in September of 2013. More here >>

Would you like to be a volunteer helper at the College?

If you are a past participant of the College and would like to become a volunteer helper then we would love to hear from you.

You can spend between one and three months helping with the running of the College as part of the community.

In exchange for 24 hours of work each week in the kitchen, garden or in general service of the College you will be provided with lodging and all meals. You will have the chance to engage with the community as a whole including with expert teachers, participants, staff and visitors.

This is a fantastic opportunity to extend the experience you have had as a participant, taking a break from work or other commitments, and immersing yourself in the transformative learning that takes place at the College.

Please contact Heather for an informal discussion about opportunities available. Tel: +44 (0)1803 847213 or email

Click here to read about our experienced team of Facilitators >>

Click here for more information about our visiting teachers >>

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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