Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Gaia’s Kitchen 2021

Gaia’s Kitchen 2021

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 accommodation and all vegetarian meals. Fee also includes any field trips, materials as well as all teaching sessions.

October 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.

mince pies

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 will also prepare chutney, sauerkraut, minced fruit for minced pies and a fruit cake which can be eaten at Christmas.

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.

pastry cutting

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

After eight years working in rural South India on village health and development projects, Caroline returned to the UK in 1987 to work at the Schumacher-inspired Small School in Hartland, Devon, where she taught for 14 years. Her MSc dissertation, As if size mattered: education for sustainability and the human scale approach was published by South Bank University in the collection, Journeys around education for sustainability (2008).  For some years she worked for a regional regeneration programme, promoting a sustainable future for Devon market towns.  A facilitator at Schumacher College since 2002, she is also a freelance writer, researcher and serial volunteer with local charities. In 2020 she published Love Made Visible: The Life and Work of Dora Scarlett, the biography of a remarkable woman whose clinic provided free health care in a remote area of Tamil Nadu for over forty years.

“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.”

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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.