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Brazil: the launch of the Certificate in Holistic Science and Economics for Transition

Juliana Schneider

“It is not about knowing solely where we are heading to, but above all, through where we are walking. And there is only one path that is really worth threading: the path of the heart. The Schumacher Experience in Brazil really helped me to hear again this wonderful sound".

This quote is from Cazé Pecini, one of the participants of the Schumacher Experience Brazil (that happened last November) and it captures the spirit of the work here in Brazil this year. From May to November we have convened gatherings where alumni and other people could meet, exchange ideas, make friends and find new forms of collaboration. It was truly amazing to see how much can unfold from the simplest of human acts:  MEETING.

The settings for these activities have varied from: ‘a jungle in the middle of Sao Paolo’ as Patricia Shaw described Claudia’s restaurant during her recent visit to Brazil; a small cosy bistro run by a sustainability activist; a city park called Vila-Lobos where alumni took along their children (and dogs) to share food and drinks during a picnic; and an educational venue (also founded by an alumnus) called Escola São Paulo where we had the chance to watch the film Animate Earth and have a chat with Stephan Harding, who was calling us from the Old Postern at Schumacher. All these meetings gave rise to a vibrant gathering at Toca Farm, a 100% organic production farm where Schumacher Experience Brazil took place. Each of these different settings were far more than backdrops but played an active part in shaping the scenes we lived together.

A genuine willingness to collaborate has been the guiding thread weaving all these actors and places together and enabling further steps to keep growing in new surprising ways. One of these next steps is the launch of the Certificate in Holistic Science and Economics for Transition Brazil, which will start in May 2015 and continue through to November. This will take place at Fazenda Serrinha, once a monoculture coffee plantation, later a clay quarry, and since 2001 a Nature Reserve and the host of an annual 3-week art festival. The farm is now about to welcome the joint inquiry of a group of 17 students who decide to take part on this learning journey with Schumacher College and the many inspiring Brazilian alumni under the new name of Escola Schumacher Brasil. The way we have designed the Certificate focuses on the residentials - 6 periods of 3 days over a period of 7 months. Modules include: What is holism?, Complexity and Chaos Theory, Living Earth and Economics for Transition. During the Economics for Transition module we will return to the Toca Farm to explore their learning journey on the way to becoming a large-scale organic farm and learning community.

Modelled on the key elements of education at Schumacher College, we will be caring for our environment through different activities and also cooking together while we learn. The experiences of firesides chats with visiting practitioners, time to reflect and explore our surroundings are as important as the opportunity to learn from Schumacher College teachers joining us on-line, as well as sharing local knowledge ranging from indigenous tribal cooking to new political and economic experiments in Brazil.

More information and applications at