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

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

Course dates: 
Friday, 12 October, 2018 to Sunday, 14 October, 2018

With Laura Lengnick

Fundamental to our identity as a species, crucial to the health and well-being of our communities, the way that we eat fuels the 21st century challenges that threaten our way of life. How do we resolve this dilemma? This course explores the transformative power of story as a catalyst for personal and social transformation in this age of climate change. In this week-long intensive on transformational story-telling skills, you can learn how to tell stories that spark the kind of social learning needed to put us on the path to a resilient food future.

At A Glance

  • Learn about story-telling as a sustainable change tool from an award-winning scientist and story-teller with more than 30 years of experience using story to promote sustainable food systems through work as a researcher, educator, policy-maker, community activist and farmer.
  • Learn how to use simple but effective positive visioning strategies to develop stories that have the capacity to catalyse both personal and collective transformation.
  • Workshop with others interested in food as a climate change solution to discover and develop stories that support your vision of a resilient food future.

About This Course

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.

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

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