Regenerative Farm, Food & Enterprise | Dartington Trust - PEP - Promoting Economic Pluralism

Regenerative Farm, Food & Enterprise | Dartington Trust

Based at Schumacher College, this radical new course is designed to help you develop your knowledge and understanding of resilient human-scale food systems and learn the skills needed to design, influence or develop resilient, productive food-based networks and businesses of your own.

How does the programme provide content to ensure students achieve an understanding of a reasonably diverse set of perspectives on understanding economies?

The programme explores the dynamics between ecology and economics, and how that can lead to new natural solutions to create enterpises and improve local economies.New Food Economy This  module identifies new local growing food economies based on regenerative farming that provide a more resilient and sustainable food system. These food economies pose a challenge to existing dysfunctional food systems and will stimulate increased innovation that promotes healthier diets and more locally adapted crops and livestock. Food, Farming, and Enterprises This  module examines the design and development of a food/farm-based enterprise. It will raise the profile of local foods and show how value can be added when regenerative production systems are adopted. It will show how the value of natural land based assets can be enhanced.  The programme explores the dynamics between ecology and economics, and how that can lead to new natural solutions to create enterpises and improve local economies.New Food Economy This  module identifies new local growing food economies based on regenerative farming that provide a more resilient and sustainable food system. These food economies pose a challenge to existing dysfunctional food systems and will stimulate increased innovation that promotes healthier diets and more locally adapted crops and livestock. Food, Farming, and Enterprises This  module examines the design and development of a food/farm-based enterprise. It will raise the profile of local foods and show how value can be added when regenerative production systems are adopted. It will show how the value of natural land based assets can be enhanced.  The programme explores the dynamics between ecology and economics, and how that can lead to new natural solutions to create enterpises and improve local economies.New Food Economy This  module identifies new local growing food economies based on regenerative farming that provide a more resilient and sustainable food system. These food economies pose a challenge to existing dysfunctional food systems and will stimulate increased innovation that promotes healthier diets and more locally adapted crops and livestock. Food, Farming, and Enterprises This  module examines the design and development of a food/farm-based enterprise. It will raise the profile of local foods and show how value can be added when regenerative production systems are adopted. It will show how the value of natural land based assets can be enhanced.  

How does the programme ensure students understand the interaction between economic and ecological systems?

Soil Improving our soil is the foundation of regenerative farming and food programme, from which we can regenerate local economies to build local enterprsies and community wealth. Improving soil health is achieved by a better understanding of how the underground web of life works. The programme will monitor and measure the life of soils in many different situtaions.  The programme also explore the ways soils can help mitigate against climate change and help land management techniques to prevent erosion and degraded soils elsewhere.Principles &  PracticeThroughout the programme, the dynamics beyween ecology and economics will be studied in both principle - the local food economy, and practice - the enterprise. Any new culture -  which means 'to tend to the earth and grow' - will borrow from past experiences of how people treat the earth.

How does the programme ensure students understand how to critically explore real-world evidence, both qualitative and quantitative?

The programme runs through the calendar year - not the academic year - so that students can determine what they want to do with any plot of land, monitor and measure what is going on through the growing season, and then assess and analyse the results. This model can work anywhere in the world with any number fo situations. Schumacher College as experts at hand in agriculture, horticulture, viticulture and arboriculture.The final module is a dissertation that requires students to put their learning into real world situations of their own choosing. They are asked to present projects that reflect real life experiences and put into practical suggestions for developing an enterprise that promotes rgenerative farming and helps local economies.

What pedagogical approaches does the programme use to ensure that students examine the historical context, assumptions and values in all economic thinking?

In the 'New Food Economy' module, it makes clear that the aim is to 'provide a more resilient and sustainable food system' and that this 'poses a challenge to existing dysfunctional food systems.' This refers to the dependence of many food policies across the world of 'leaving it to the markets' - the dominant neoclassical form. Chasing markets means farmers being urged to produce 'more more', which leads to overproduction - and price falls. Even Shakespeare - in Macbeth, knew the evils of a good harvest - the farmer at the gates of hell because of 'th'expectation of plenty'. Throughout the programme, students will be reminded of the consequences of this in terms of impoverished farmers, farmworkers and food workers, of degraded land, of rising obesity, food waste and a few wars too., 

How does the department ensure that the teaching culture and capacity to deliver economic pluralism are continually improving?

Schumacher College is also offering a new Masters in Regenerative Economics MA that 'challenges and offers alternative perspectives to mainstream economics programmes by looking through the lens of ecology as if both people and planet mattered equally.' There will be regular liaison between the two programmes, This will develop, and extend Schumacher College’s thirty-year expertise in teaching ecological thought and practice. It draws upon the College’s unique approach to pedagogy, in which traditional modes of learning are blended with engaged, embodied, experiential and reflective practices that take place indoors and out. Online learning will now be part of any programme, and this will provide novel forms of learning linking the College with the rest of the world - through the earth.

Other information:

This Masters started life as 'Sustainable Farming' but we felt the word 'sustainable' has come to mean 'business as usual', which is not the intent of this programme. 'Regenerative' is a relatively new word, and has come from America where the concerns for the state of their soils is higher profile than it is in UK. They have nearly 300 legislative bills going through most of the States, those on the coast emphasising soils' role in 'Climate Change' while those in the mid West are concerned about the state of their soils. In the UK there has been talk of improving 'soil health' but there are no laws and few incentives to improve. Regenerative farming in the UK is largely farmer led. However, it needs backup research and advice, and we hope the place to get that in the future will be Schumacher College.

Country:

UK

University:

Dartington Trust

Course name:

Regenerative Farm, Food & Enterprise

Department/school:

Schumacher College

Course level:

Taught Masters

Course language:

English

Website:

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Regenerative Farm, Food & Enterprise | Dartington Trust

Regenerative Farm, Food & Enterprise

Schumacher College