Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Gaia’s Kitchen 2020

Gaia’s Kitchen 2020

schumacher kitchen
Key Info: 
  • Cook recipes inspired by our College cookbooks
  • Explore bread-making techniques, including sourdoughs
  • Use kitchen garden produce to make meals, chutneys, puddings & more

With Julia Ponsonby and Colum Pawson, and facilitated by Caroline Walker

£ 385.00
Course fees include a two-night stay in private, simple accommodation with shared bathroom and all vegetarian meals. Fee also includes any field trips, materials as well as all teaching sessions.

November is a great time to start thinking about seasonal fayre.

There is still lots of delicious produce coming in from the kitchen garden, as well as tasty apples and gorgeous squash in the store cupboard. In addition, there are the perennial dried fruits that make up much traditional Christmas fayre to call upon.

For our Gaia's Kitchen course we will cook together a menu of lunches and suppers using garden produce and including some favourite menus inspired by our college cookbooks - for our final meal we will prepare a cheese and nut roast which has become a favourite vegetarian Christmas entree for all participants coming to the college. In between preparing meals we may prepare chutneys, sauerkraut, minced fruit for mince pies, Christmas cake and fruit cake, which you can take home.

We'll cover bread including sourdoughs and show you how you can include some unusual ingredients in your bread - like roast squash. You will have the opportunity to work with our college chefs as well as spending time in the Schumacher gardens and Henri's Field with our experienced horticulture team gaining a few tips about planting and harvesting Gaia's produce. At the College we are able to provide half of the fresh food we cook from our extensive gardens which are run according to a variety of sustainable techniques.

As well as polytunnels, a forest garden and perennial growing spaces we also have a 5 acre agroforestry field, where we combine tress with annual vegetable growing. On the course you will have a tour of the gardens with our Head Gardener Colum Pawson, do some gardening and harvest some of the produce you will be using while cooking on the course

WATCH: Get an insight into growing and cooking at Schumacher with these short films

Please note that due to ongoing repairs to our Old Postern building, locations may differ for this course.

Soil To Supper: Sustainability at Schumacher College

Inside the Schumacher College kitchens


With Julia Ponsonby and Colum Pawson, and facilitated by Caroline Walker

Julia Ponsonby

Julia has been at the College since it opened in 1991 when she was a student on the very first course (Gaia Theory 1991).  As well as producing delicious meals for staff and students she has written a cookbook, Gaia's Kitchen, which won a Gourmand World Cookbook award for best vegetarian cookbook.   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 and shestudied 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 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.’

Colum Pawson

Colum Pawson

Colum manages the growing areas around Schumacher College and teaching our horticulture students. Born in Glastonbury, Somerset, Colum admits he is rarely happier than when in a muddy field. He has run a number of small agriculture businesses and also worked as a freelance horticulture consultant. He has run a market garden, worked with community supported agriculture, spent a year as part of an intentional community at Radford Mill, near Bristol, and WOOFed (worked on an organic farm) his way around France and Spain. His spare time is spent walking with his wife and two children, singing and improving his unicycling.

Caroline Walker

Caroline worked on development projects in India for eight years before joining the staff of the Small School, Hartland, a pioneering human scale secondary school founded by Satish Kumar, where she cooked lunch with the pupils and taught Humanities and French. After attending a Schumacher course entitled ‘Education for the 21st Century’ in 1996 she re-oriented her approach to teaching to focus on sustainable futures, became head teacher, and studied for a MSc in Environment and Development Education at South Bank University.

Leaving the school in 2001 she worked as a community facilitator in many of the market and coastal towns of Devon, and ran the Torridge Action Group for Sustainability, a small charity promoting local food and renewable energy. She began facilitating at the College in 2003 on the Roots of Learning courses and has returned regularly ever since.

Now retired from full time work, she does some writing, editing and research – currently transcribing a 19th century Devon farmer’s diaries – and volunteers on a local project teaching young people to cook.

“For me facilitation at Schumacher College is a wonderful opportunity to meet people from all over the world, and to work with participants and tutors to create a truly transformative learning experience. it’s different every single time, but always inspiring.”

If you would like to book onto one of our short courses, you will need to create an account. This is a simple process of choosing a username, email address and password. Once you have created an account you will receive a verification email. Please click on the verification link within to have full access to the site and to make your booking. (You may need to  check your spam folder if you do not see this email.)  We will email you confirmation of your payment and any further communication about your course application.

Residential accommodation for "Changing the Frame"  is at Higher Close, a 20 minute walk from Schumacher College. All meals will be provided at the college.

A place can not be guaranteed unless we receive your deposit or payment on your chosen course. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please do this before making your course application.

Short Course Bursaries create an opportunity for an individual to experience the powerful transformative learning by joining a course that assists the participant to inspire their wider community and benefits from the participant’s own unique contribution. It is our hope that our bursaries support a wide cross section of participation on our short course programme. The number of bursaries available is limited, competition is strong and funding is not always available for every short course. Please be aware that most bursaries are in the region of 10% – 20% of the course fee so please be prepared to raise funding from other sources.  A bursary award is not intended to cover travel or incidental expenses.

Applications are viewed on a case-by-case basis and we are unable to enter into discussions on any decisions. We generally have many more applications for bursaries than we have funding available. We can only offer one bursary per person per year and priority is given to those who have not attended the college or received a bursary before. To help us support as many people as possible, please only apply if you would be unable to attend the course without a bursary.

How to apply for a bursary

NB: Please do not pay your deposit for the course yet. Any applications received where a deposit has been paid will be rejected and the deposit refunded.

Six weeks before the course is due to start all bursary applications will be considered and responded to.  If successful you will be required to accept our Bursary Terms and Conditions.

Please answer the following:

  1. What does a bursary mean to you?
  2. How will your attendance on this course benefit the wider community?
  3. If your financial situation justifies you applying for a bursary, how much are you able to contribute towards attending this course?

Please be prepared to supply an appropriate reference in support of your application.

More about our growing areas and philosophy

We follow ecological cycles as much as possible. Much of the food is grown in the five and half acre agroforestry field – in a system of alley cropping and in the developing forest garden. The field also has fruit trees and bushes; young nut trees; a flock of pasture fed poultry; two wild life ponds, a craft and pollinator garden and a hazel and willow coppice.

Other areas include two herb gardens; four polytunnels; a perennial no dig vegetable garden and several fruit areas. We compost our garden and kitchen waste for use on site, and use green manures for fertility building.

Our students find their time engaging with food growing, and all it entails, a truly transformative time.   Our gardens are as much about nurturing people as plants, and hundreds of students have found the contact with the land and soil to be a rich learning journey.

Integral to the College’s international learning community, you will get to know students, staff and volunteers through daily meetings and shared activities. There is also a diverse programme of events and evening talks, offered by college residents, visiting teachers and local experts.

Help & Enquiries

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+ 44 (0) 1803 847212