Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Guts and Gaia

Guts and Gaia

gaia woman
Key Info: 
  • Hands on experience of fermentation techniques
  • Discover the importance of a healthy 'microbiome' in our bodies
  • Understand the gift of deep belonging and deep ecology
  • Take a Deep Time Walk on the historic Dartington Estate
  • Learn to make sourdough using leaven originating from Russia

With Stephan Harding and Julia Ponsonby

Fee: 
£ 325.00
Course fees include a two-night stay in private accommodation with shared bathroom and all vegetarian meals.
Fee also includes any field trips, materials as well as all teaching sessions. The programme will run from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. If you would like to take this course as a non-residential participant, please call us on Tel: +44 (0) 1803 847237.

We know the importance of maintaining healthy bacteria in our gut in helping us fight disease and maintain overall health. But we are only just beginning to understand its impact on our mood?  Medicine may explain that the molecules produced by our individual ‘microbiome’ - our gut flora of bacteria, fungi, viruses and archea - can affect the patterns of neuronal connections making us feel happy or down. But could there also be something else?

A great way to begin the new year, this special weekend course will be led by Stephan together with his partner Julia Ponsonby, the head chef at Schumacher College.

Stephan will help participants understand the deep connection between the bacteria in the earth - bacteria which are our most ancient ancestors - and the bacteria within our bodies. How it is possible to be deeply connected to our living planet through our own microbiome?

Julia will invite you into the college kitchens, where you will get the chance to experiment with techniques of fermentation, such as those used in sourdough bread and kimchi - foods which are essential to good gut health.

She will be using a sourdough starter, given to her many years ago, by teacher and founder of the Real Bread Campaign Andrew Whitley.  It came all the way from Russia and is used to make Borodinsky Rye bread which is regularly eaten in College.

You will also get the chance to explore the 1,200 acre historic Dartington Estate and Gardens which includes cafes, shops, cinema and a deer park.

Join Julia and Stephan on a joyful and inspiring journey to understand the gift of deep belonging and of deep ecology, given us by the teeming organisms of our microbiome, our partners in Gaia.

*The Booking Deadline gives us an accurate idea of course participant numbers at approximately 6 weeks before the course is due to run, at which point we confirm the course, add additional time for people to book on or cancel the course. We encourage people to register early for courses as places are limited.
 

With Stephan Harding and Julia Ponsonby
Dr Stephan Harding FLS

Stephan Harding

Stephan coordinates and lectures on MSc Holistic Science, teaching on the core models of the programme, as well as on several short courses at the College.  He was born in Venezuela in 1953, and came to England at the age of six.  Since childhood Stephan has had a deep fascination with the natural world which led 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.  He later returned to Venezuela where he was a field assistant for the Smithsonian Institute, studying mammalian diversity in the rainforest and in the lowland plains. He also spent two years as Visiting Professor in Wildlife Management at the National University in Costa Rica. 

In 1990 Stephan was one of the founding members of Schumacher College where he worked closely with James Lovelock, with whom he has maintained a long-lasting friendship and scientific collaboration.  They were jointly appointmed as founding chair holders of the Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and the Environment at the University of Oslo.  At Schumacher College Stephan has taught alongside many of the world’s leading ecological thinkers and activists, including Arne Naess, Fritjof Capra, Vandana Shiva, David Abram, James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis.

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.’

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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

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.