N°2- Autumn/Winter 2019
Schumacher College is part of the Dartington Hall Trust, a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and as a charity
(company no. 1485560, charity no. 279756).
Registered office: The Elmhirst Centre, Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6EL, United Kingdom
20 Future of Food
Building a Sustainable System
06 Life after College
Mar Michelle Hausler
in this issue
08 Soil to Supper
Our Food Ethos
My horizon narrows as I amble upwards for hours along a northward trending line between Norway and Sweden undulating between glacial river valley and scoured granite dome; between high snowfield and low heath bog; there is no-one here but me, yet the world — still, silent — resonates with so much.
Tillat deg selv å se at det ikke er noe her, men alt i verden
Allow yourself to see that there is nothing here, but everything in the world
(after Dag Hammarskjold)
I slip into a haze — a personal gloaming in the deepening of the day, under a sun that never truly set — finding, after Tennyson, a land in which it seemed always afternoon. I cross bog, snowfield, river, tundra, granite ledge. I run until I cannot. I've grown fascinated by my limits. Frustrating as they can be to meet head-on, they have become for me an entry into a world beyond my own.
Running for Climate Change
Dr Pavel Cenkl
Dr Pavel Cenkl, the new Head of Schumacher College has set a personal challenge to run, cycle or ski 400,000 vertical feet to represent the 400 billion tons of ice lost annually from the earth's glaciers as a result of climate change.
13 Optimism for the Future
Paul Dickinson, CDP
Climate Run: a challenge for change
10 Out in the World
05 College Life
New Barn for outdoor events
03 Running for Climate Change
Dr Pavel Cenkl
16 College Campus
Old Postern Repairs
I began Climate Run in 2014 inspired in part by the power of the earth’s tendency to rebound after glacial retreat, and the very visible, tangible effect that glacial melt has on the very earth itself.
This flow of this isostatic rebound resonates with me as a runner; the narrative of glacial growth, recession, and rebound is an ancient echo of a runner’s rhythm along the trail – one that encourages me to slough successive layers that have kept me from deeper understanding of the places I enter into through the simple pattern of step, rebound, repeat.
A new barn for Schumacher College
Since beginning in earnest my adventure running enterprise in 2014, my work has grown both outward — into networks and connections with people and places the world over — and inward, becoming profoundly focused on the place where the lines between self and world begin to blur.
After focusing on solo adventures across Iceland, Sweden, Finland, the Faroes, and in the U.S., in 2019, Climate Run has further capitalized on the network of runners, walkers, and others who are similarly outdoors-minded to try to achieve a shared goal.
In this case, it is to climb the equivalent of 400,000 vertical feet over the year. Whether the dozens of participants have chosen to approach this individually or in groups, the goal represents a way to build community across distance and build intention for our running practice.
I began Climate Run in 2014 inspired in part by the power of the earth’s tendency to rebound after glacial retreat, and the very visible, tangible effect that glacial melt has on the very earth itself. This flow of this isostatic rebound resonates with me as a runner; the narrative of glacial growth, recession, and rebound is an ancient echo of a runner’s rhythm along the trail – one that encourages me to slough successive layers that have kept me from deeper understanding of the places I enter into through the simple pattern of step, rebound, repeat.
Out In The World
Supporting Young Activists
Four hundred thousand vertical feet represents approximately 0.0001% of the 400 billion tons of glacier ice that are lost annually to climate change — most of it in the northern hemisphere. And to hold this — or, really, any intentional connection to processes larger than ourselves — is a resoundingly positive step forward.
STUDENTS and staff christened the new barn with an autumn feast.
The barn, designed and built by Ambrose Vevers was formerly on the Dartington campsite and has now been rebuilt next to the Craft Education building.
The Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA), a group of psychologists working with the University of Bath, have reported findings which, they say, show, the tone of discussions around climate change are severely affecting children and young people.
They claim language which conjures apocalyptic visions is prompting a rise in reports of ‘eco-anxiety’– even to the point where some children have been prescribed medication. Paul Dickinson says it time for positive optimism.
It is almost 20 years since Paul Dickinson launched the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an international non-profit organisation that now reaches into over 90 countries around the world.
He was keenly aware that governments were not moving fast enough with legislation but that businesses could take the lead in reducing their carbon footprint and that their investors and stakeholders could act as a powerful voice.
"I’ve observed that in the climate change community we are not very good at communicating," he says.
"We present people with three scenarios which are either change your lifestyle, live with contradictions or deny there’s a problem. So it means many people end up opting for the latter.
“But there is a fourth way. To use the language of Winston Churchill, we need to start talking more about the ‘broad sunny uplands of the future’. We need to see this as our finest hour.
“We need to see this challenge is about creating a home where there is room enough for us all.”
The estimated global market for low-carbon goods and services is $5.5 trillion. Now CDP works with companies, cities and states across the world to help them assess risks and opportunities associated with climate change, water security and deforestation.
“The greatest democracy in this world is how people spend their money,” says Paul. “The way people spend their money is how they are voting every day.”
Paul left school without any real qualifications due, he says, to feeling “very uninspired” by the education system. After a brief foray into the world of work he decided to study for A Levels and went on to university driven by a desire to get involved in politics.
“I think it was at that point I realised politics wasn’t for me. I could see that the bus was being driven by technology. Politicians were right at the back of the bus.
But once again he was disappointed and left half way through the first term to work for an annual report design company.
Paul said he realised corporations, not governments, represented the true power on earth.
WE need to change the language we use to talk about climate change according to Paul Dickinson, founder of the Carbon Disclosure Project.
"We need to see this challenge is about creating a home where there is room enough for us all.”
Forward to the Future
Paul Dickinson : Carbon Disclosure Project
Let's look to the sunlit uplands of the future
It was in 1997, while studying for a business degree at the University of Bath, that Paul first came to Schumacher College.
He met Stephan Harding, now the College’s Deep Ecology Fellow and still recalls how the conversation they had, though very light in tone, was a moment of epiphany, as he realised the true impact of changing global temperatures.
“I said something flippant about how nice it would be to have warmer weather and Stephan gently replied – ‘Well if we lose the Gulf Stream it will be freezing cold here and we don’t have enough snow ploughs.’
Within three years Paul had launched CDP and he says he directly attributes the first seed of that idea back to that conversation with Stephan. He says half the senior management at CDP have spent time at Schumacher College.
So what advice would he give to young change-makers who are feeling anxious or uncertain about their future?
“If people want to make a difference they can go and work for an NGO or in government and that’s great but particularly for those people who want to work in business there’s a huge amount of opportunity.”
He cites key areas such as renewable energy, electric vehicles or food science.
He says he has huge admiration for the teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who simply urges people to listen to the advice of scientists but he acknowledged there were enormous challenges by those who continue to ignore it.
But here again he feels the tone of our conversations is key.
He is concerned that while people continue to make fun of the language and appearance of world leaders such as Donald Trump, they are missing the fact that the United States pulled out of an agreement on climate change that had taken 8 years to build - a decision that will have ramifications for everyone on the planet.
“He (Trump) turned a diplomatic triumph into a catastrophe - that will go down in the history books as a low point.
“It is galling that this generation of adults is allowing this to happen. It turns my spine to ice.”
“I think it was at that point I realised politics wasn’t for me. I could see that the bus was being driven by technology. Politicians were right at the back of the bus,"
Paul Dickinson, founder of the Carbon Disclosure Project.
Food at Schumacher College
Soil to Supper
Schumacher College is vegetarian and tries to grow much of the fruit and vegetables that go to the College kitchens on site, or the food is sourced locallly wherever possible. Any surplus vegetables go to cafes and restaurants on the Dartingon Hall Estate or to Food in the Community, a charity that offers food to those on a very low income.
Schumacher College has been Highly Commended in the finals of the recent Green Gown Awards in the category of Sustainable Food and Drink.
Each year the national awards ceremony acknowledges a commitment to sustainability in education. Schumacher College was one of nine finalists selected in its category. Dr Mona Nasseri and Dr Pavel Cenkl attended the gala event in Glasgow along with representatives from over 100 universities and colleges from the UK and Ireland.
Forward to the Future
Paul Dickinson : Carbon Disclosure Projects
Life After College
Can money work for people and planet?
“I realised we can change notes and coins but it doesn’t work if we don’t change how we relate to money."
Mar Michelle Hausler
Life after College
MAR Michelle Hausler’s wake-up call was, ironically, when she fell asleep at her own birthday party.
As her friends celebrated around her, it was clear her lifestyle of 100-hour weeks as a city trader had taken its toll.
Working for the likes of JP Morgan and UBS in one two year period she pulled in £100m for her employers – and out-performed most of the other members of her team, who were predominantly men.
She had all the money and possessions she ever needed but she knew all was not well.
That was over a decade ago and now, after a long journey of self-exploration, Mar has launched a number of new ventures aimed at helping people to have a better relationship with money.
“I realised we can change notes and coins but it doesn’t work if we don’t change how we relate to money, " she said.
The first seeds of an idea were sown while spending time in an intentional community in Brazil.
For her thesis as part of her MA Economics for Transition, Mar Michelle (pictured right) worked with the Piracanga community as a social practioner to work with them to develop a community currency.
Two years on, and the inkiri currency, which is pegged to the Brazilian real, has changed the way locals relate and co-operate, illustrating, she says, that it is possible to change economies from within.
Since then Mar Michelle has carried out a number of workshops with almost 1,000 people and has now refined a methodology which she presents in a series of online workshops called Give & Take Lab.
In addition she is also piloting a new project that examines how we can achieve sustainable development goals as well as taking care of our well-being. She has been exploring how can we realign the two so that they work together.
Mar Michelle is now working with colleagues using gaming to help explain the process and to make it appealing to young people, aged between 12 and 16. She is also in talks with an organisation that wants to use it as a team building exercise.
"People are looking to the private sector to do something to address climate change but we can all do something ourselves," she said.
"I know that sometimes we can all feel a bit disempowered by events around us – but I want to reassure people that we do have an effect and we are all connected."
STUDENTS enrolling on courses at Schumacher College for 2020 will pay nearly a third less in fees in a bid by the College to increase accessibility to ecological education.
British and European students will now pay £8,000, a drop of more than £6,000 for tuition fees and international students will see a tuition drop of almost £4,000.
And for the first time the College is also introducing blended learning programmes to allow students to combine work and study.
Head of College, Dr Pavel Cenkl, said that this was a significant step forward for the College:
“This is personally very important to me as I feel that making education more accessible is crucial to the future of our planet."
In addition MSc Holistic Science, which has been running at the College for over 20 years has returned to the programme portfolio. Dr Andy Letcher is leading the programme with Stephan Harding who was recently give the title of Deep Ecology Research Fellow. Applications are now open to students wishing to enrol for 2020 and more detailed information about the programmes are available here
LISTEN: What Holistic Science Can Do For Us Now
College drops fees for new look programmes
How can Holistic Science inform our world view and change the way we do business, manage healthcare, address the challenges of climate change and artificial intelligence?
WHEN Nick Loosley launched a pop-up restaurant offering three course restaurant-quality meals, using unwanted food, cooked by volunteer chefs and with a ‘pay as you feel’ ticket price, some thought it was a recipe for chaos.
But it has been so successful that he is about to launch a second project, which will be at a permanent site, open five days a week and serving around 150 people a day.
Nick, who lives in Auckland, New Zealand had already worked as a restaurateur before taking the MA Economics for Transition at Schumacher College.
But he had become increasingly concerned about the amount of good quality food that was ending up in landfill – around one third of all the food.
"Our most sacred times of sitting together at the table have been taken hostage by microwave meals.
"I wanted to see how we could solve problems in a food system by cooking and sharing together."
Kindness can be good business
Out in the World
“Everybody sits at shared tables so you could be next to anyone. Food is a powerful way for people to engage and everybody, whatever their circumstances is treated equally.
The meals at Schumacher College were a big part of the inspiration for me – it’s about people stopping what they are doing and sitting down at the table. That’s the heartbeat of the College. Food can have a huge influence on people.
Nick graduated from the college nearly five years ago but he admits the lessons of sharing around food can benefit everybody in more ways than they expect.
“I remember there was one student who came from Mexico and he had servants at home so through working in the college kitchen it completely changed so many of his ideas about the ecological crisis and nutrition.”
Obviously I did not get paid for the first two year it was hard work and there were lots of setbacks but when I see 300 hungry people get fed and all the volunteers coming together to execute the plan
My family is pretty into food but the ritual was an eye opener, spending timein the kitchen was pretty incredible seeing the transformation that’s worked with food.
The success of Everybody Eats has spread around New Zealand and Nick thinks pretty much every city has expressed an interest in trying to set up something similar.
Out in the World
During his course he carried out research in the UK and in Spain and was horrified to see prime cuts of meat and entire wheels of cheese ending up in the bin.
He was struck by the fact that around one third of the food produced globally ends up in landfill – yet hunger is still a major problem in the developed world.
Throughout the project, Nick has been insistent that they work almost exclusively with food that would otherwise have gone to waste.
However the project has had numerous challenges along the way, the most obvious one from the 'pay as you feel' model.
"We do pretty well to cover all our costs. I think you can make the pay as you feel model work but it takes time.
"People do take advantage. We have had a struggle with back-packers and international students but we just sit down and talk to them about what we’re trying to achieve. "
The average donation for a meal is £5 but it can be up to £10. Naturally they are often feeding a number of people from the homeless community but Nick reckons it isn’t just about the food.
“Everybody sits at shared tables so you could be next to anyone. Food is a powerful way for people to engage and everybody, whatever their circumstances, is treated equally.
"The meals at Schumacher College were a big part of the inspiration for me – it’s about people stopping what they are doing and sitting down at the table. That’s the heartbeat of the College."
Photo credit; Liz Turner
"Food is a powerful way for people to engage and everybody, whatever their circumstances is treated equally."
Nick Loosley, alumnus
MA Economics for Transition.
Out in the World
Nick graduated from Schumacher College nearly five years ago but he admits the lessons of sitting together and sharing food can benefit everybody in more ways than they expect.
“I remember there was one student who came from Mexico and he had servants at home but through working in the College kitchen it completely changed so many of his ideas about the ecological crisis and about the importance of nutrition.
"My family is pretty into food but the ritual at College was an eye opener, spending time in the kitchen was pretty incredible seeing the transformation that’s worked with food.
The success of Everybody Eats has spread around New Zealand and Nick thinks pretty much every city there has expressed an interest in trying to set up something similar.
While he is enjoying the success of his venture, he has a word of caution for anyone thinking of embarking on a similar project.
"Obviously I did not get paid for the first two years, it was hard work and there were lots of setbacks but when I see 300 hungry people get fed and all the volunteers coming together to execute the plan - that is a great feeling."
Mark Taylor, Director of Ecology on the Dartington Hall Estate:
“We will shortly be launching a fundraising campaign to fund internal repair and improvements to the building as well as Campus development so that in 2021 the expanding Schumacher community can return to a fully restored home.
What’s particularly exciting for us as educators who value traditional trades, is that we are also in a position to use this opportunity to train a new generation of craftspeople through this project.”
Old Postern repairs get green light
The 15th century building was closed last year after concerns around the safety of the roof. Now scaffolders are due to begin work next month to build a protective shell around the home of Schumacher College so that repairs can begin in the New Year.
Old Postern repairs
"Preserving the character and the atmosphere of this building is important to us, particularly as we have so many international students who really appreciate it. For them the opportunity to study somewhere as special as this is a big part of their experience.”
Old Postern Repairs
THE HISTORIC importance of the Old Postern, the home of Schumacher College for nearly 30 years, has led to it being added to the At Risk Register produced by English Heritage.
The medieval parsonage, which dates back to the 15th Century, has housed a number of well-known people from the half-brother of Richard II, to the celebrated botanist William Keble Martin, as well as the Elmhirsts when they first bought the Dartington Hall Estate in South Devon.
The Old Postern closed last year due to safety concerns around the roof, however, earlier this year the College was given a gift of £2million from a generous benefactor.
Mark Taylor, Director of Ecology for the Dartington Hall Trust, which manages the Estate, said everyone was delighted that the historic value of the building had been acknowledged by the Heritage At Risk Register.
"We realise that we are in a very fortunate position, unlike many other organisations that have valuable and beautiful buildings, in that we have money to repair the roof."
He said the project team was now working closely with Historic England and South Hams District Council and looking forward to starting repairs very soon.
In addition there will be opportunities for students and members of the public to understand more about traditional slate work in the context of a 'live project.' It is hoped that as many of the materials as possible used in the project will be sourced locally. Mr Taylor added:
Could leaving the European Union catalyse a dramatic re-design of many of the entrenched systems of the sourcing and distribution of food? Could this be the time for education to take the lead and signpost an alternative future?
Could Brexit enable change for our food systems ?
Future of Food
Building a Sustainable System
AS Brexit uncertainty continues and with it the potential impact on our food system, there are moves afoot to see if education can light the way.
Caroline Aitken, of Whitefield Permaculture, has been working with Schumacher College to develop a new course to equip people wanting to work in the food industry – and wanting to make a difference from the grassroots up.
And it could be one of the first of its kind in the UK that trains people who want to innovate in food and farming business in an ethical and sustainable way.
“We felt that it was a really important way to offer a positive solution. We’re trying to shift the system of food and farming literally from the ground up without waiting for legislative policy, government grants or worrying about Brexit.
“There’s a really good news story in food and farming. It involves environmental regeneration, reviving the rural economy, public health and biodiversity. The fact that people cannot afford good food is a key social issue, " she added.
According to research by the Sustainable Food Trust, for every £1 spent on poor quality food another pound is spent in loss to biodiversity, pollution and damage to public health.
In addition, a report by the Inter Academy Partnership, a network of science institutions looking at international health policy, concluded that the existing system of global food production has to change radically.
It is currently responsible for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions, more than all emissions from transport, heating, lighting and air conditioning combined.
And yet this comes at a time when the United Nations calculates that in the UK alone, 8.4m people are struggling to afford a meal.
The idea for a new type of qualification came about as a result of Food Cultures research carried out by Caroline for the College two years ago. She was convinced it was possible for education to help lead the transition to a more sustainable food system.
She discovered common themes such as a lack of business skills from new-starters, as well as a lack of overall understanding of how the industry works, partly as a result of career changers who didn’t have a background in the food industry.
Patrick Holden, from the Sustainable Food Trust, admitted when he began his career in agriculture, it was a very steep learning curve:
“I had no background in it at all, I was from London and came to it fresh. What I was looking for was not just the practical, agricultural stuff but also the cultural and social aspect.
“We need to get people who are serious about running sustainable businesses, or making their existing businesses more sustainable.”
Those new to the industry are also pioneering new business models which are paving the way for future generations.
Engaging with local communities for veg box schemes, adding value to farm produce by producing items such as ice cream and cheese or sharing processing facilities to keep costs down are just some of the strategies that are emerging from the ground-swell of small-scale sustainable food production in the UK.
Kath Dalmeny, chief executive of Sustain, a charity representing over 100 different organisations advocating for better food and farming, feels that as food is such a universal concern it can be an ideal focus for sustainability.
“It’s something tangible and affects everyone, so it can be a great motivator for change. When we’re thinking about the future of food we have to look at where our future farmers are going to be coming from.
“We need to learn from the pioneers who are finding ways and making it work.”
“The question shouldn’t be ‘why is good food so expensive’ the real question should be ‘why is bad food so cheap?’"
Pilgrimage to Gaia
Mon, 06/04/2020 to Fri, 09/04/2020
With Stephan Harding, Satish Kumar and Fiona Tilley
There is an ever-growing rise in people choosing to take time out of their daily lives to walk pilgrimage routes in the UK and other well-known places around the world. This course will explore the different ways intentional walks are nourishing people’s lives; from the Deep Time Walk, to forest bathing, to sacred pilgrimages and labyrinths to protest walks and pilgrimages for change. During the week there will be an opportunity to experience different styles of pilgrimage as well as meet those who have crafted the art of being a pilgrim in their lives.
Short Course Calendar
Schumacher College delivers a unique brand of small-group experiences that embrace the learning through head, hand, heart. Join us to discover things about yourself, make deep friendships with students from around the world and create lifelong connections.
Short Courses at Schumacher College
Winter Schumacher Experience - 2020
Mon, 3/02/2020 to Fri, 7/02/2020
With Fiona Tilley
Immerse yourself for a week in the vibrant community of Schumacher College. This course is designed to give you space to enquire into what has meaning in your life, and what role you wish to play in the world, while also being inspired and invigorated by some of the concepts and ideas the college is based upon and participating in the rich daily life of the Schumacher community.
An Exploration of Eldering
Mon, 02/03/2020 to Fri, 06/03/2020
With Colin Campbell, Lynn Alderson, Fiona Tilley and Mary-Jayne Rust
This course will give people who are entering older age an opportunity to explore what eldering means in their own lives and with their peers. We will examine practical eldering and the ways in which people already work in those capacities as well as the deeper journey and the inner qualities that arise. This week will be a space for those seeking to both share their stories and discover the means by which they may be more actively engaged in their own communities and across the generations. If you are at this point of change in your own lives, aware of the difficulties but excited by the possibilities come and share with us.
Finding What Matters: Learning the Vital Dance of Consciousness and Body in the Second Half of Life
Thu, 16/01/2020 to Sun, 19/01/2020
With Robin Rose Saltonstall, PhD
If you are in the second half of your life, then you know that one of the signature experiences of this time is feeling more strongly about ‘what matters’ and simultaneously experiencing a change of capacities in the physical matter of oneself. Welcome to the Dance of Complementarity, a ‘both/and' of increasing consciousness and changing body. Living ‘both/and’ is a leitmotif in the pilgrimage of ageing and is an essential undertaking in the journey to health and well-being in the second half of life. Choreograph your own healthy, potent, and wise second half of life dance.
Deep Ecology Reviving
Mon, 25/11/2019 to Fri, 29/11/2019
With Per Ingvar Haukeland and Stephan Harding
As the global crisis deepens, there is renewed interest in deep ecology as a philosophical and practical foundation for compassionate engagement with the world’s problems. This course brings deep ecology right up to date by reviving our deep ecological senses with new ways for connecting to our place and to the community of all beings and by developing our own personal ecological wisdom using the powerful Tree of Life model.