Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Sharing Stories, Cultivating Resilience: Speaking of Food in a Changing Climate

Sharing Stories, Cultivating Resilience: Speaking of Food in a Changing Climate

Key Info: 
  • Learn about story-telling as a sustainable change tool from an award-winning scientist and story-teller
  • Learn how to use simple but effective positive visioning strategies to develop stories that have the capacity to catalyse transformation
  • Workshop with others interested in food as a climate change solution

With Laura Lengnick

£ 295.00
Course fees include all vegetarian meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions.
The programme will run from Friday to Sunday afternoon and includes two nights private accommodation with shared bathroom from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure.

We are all members of a global food system that fuels climate change - the 21st century’s most wicked challenge. Yet food is also proposed as a powerful solution, one that has the capacity to cool the planet, feed the world and cultivate climate resilience by regenerating the ecological, economic and social resources degraded by industrialism.

• What are the stories of food in this age of climate change and who is telling them?
• How have these stories shaped our identity, as individuals and in groups? 
• What kinds of stories have the power to catalyse positive change in community? 
• Can story-telling motivate the personal and collective changes needed to cultivate a climate resilient future? 

This course explores these questions through a food system lens using a mix of lecture, discussion and workshop to examine the transformative power of story in human culture.  You will learn about the principles of effective story-telling, the crucial role of the meme in human cultural evolution, and some simple strategies for positive visioning through the use of story such as back-casting, imagineering, and holistic thinking. You will also have an opportunity to begin developing your own stories designed to catalyse the kinds of transformative change needed to put your community on a path to a resilient food future.

This course is for:

• Students of all ages interested to learn more about the role of story in human cultural evolution by exploring what food sustainability means in an age of climate change.

• Writers who are interested in developing some new story-telling skills, especially those that report on issues of food system sustainability and climate resilience.

• Educators seeking opportunities to enhance their courses through the use of food-focused story as a transformational teaching and learning tool.

• Activists working to promote more sustainable food systems through community-based research, education and development programs.

• Policy-makers involved in developing food system policies and programs designed to support local, regional and national climate change mitigation and adaptation goals.

• Researchers who want to engage business, government and community leaders in the discovery and development of climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions in the food system.

• Community leaders of all kinds who wish to explore the potential of story-telling as a catalyst for sustainable development in a changing climate.

What will participants gain from taking part in this course?

• A new appreciation for the role of story in human cultural evolution and practical tools how to apply this in today’s context.

• A better understanding of how the food system both contributes to and offers potential solutions to climate change and other 21st century challenges to our way of life.

• The ability to discover, develop and tell stories with the power to catalyse and support sustainable community change in service to a sustainable and resilient food future.

With Laura Lengnick
Laura Lengnick

Laura Lengnick

Laura Lengnick has explored agricultural and food system sustainability through more than 30 years of work as a federal researcher and policy-maker, college educator, community activist and farmer to understand what it takes to move sustainability values into action on the farm, in our communities and as a nation. Trained as a soil scientist, Laura’s research in soil quality and sustainable agriculture systems at the Beltsville Agriculture Research Center in Maryland was nationally recognized with a USDA Secretary’s Honor Award in 2000. She led the academic program in Sustainable Agriculture at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina for more than a decade, where she also served as the Director of Sustainability Education. She has a long history of collaboration in community-based research, education and advocacy for sustainable agriculture and food systems. Laura has grown organic vegetables and fruits for community supported agriculture projects and has developed her smallholding near Asheville, NC using biointensive and permaculture principles. Her award-winning 2015 book, Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food systems for a Changing Climate, explores climate change, resilience and the future of food through the adaptation stories of some of America’s best sustainable farmers and ranchers. You can learn more about Laura and her work at

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.

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.