Gaeia supports Jamie’s place on The Future of Farming course

Gaeia recently paid for a bursary for a place on the Agroecology - The Future of Farming? course at the innovative Schumacher College. Jamie Innes was the lucky recipient, and Gaeia’s financial adviser Olivia Bowen wanted to find out how he got on. jamie scholarshipJamie Innes, recipient of Gaeia’s Schumacher bursary

Who or what has inspired you most in your life?

Different people have inspired me at different stages in my life. I grew up in a city with very little contact with nature.  But I did live next to a zoo which I visited regularly and I really enjoy David Attenborough programmes and wildlife documentaries on television...

What made you come here to  Schumacher College?

Colin Tudge. I initially read his book, The Secret Life of Trees, because  my main horticultural interest is trees. I then heard that Colin was giving a lecture in London but about the Campaign for Real Farming. Colin’s lecture was inspiring and renewed my interest in what got me into gardening in the first place - growing veg.  He encouraged students to attend the course here and apply for bursaries. I had a great week and the bursary really lessened the financial blow.

How will you use your experience from the course to benefit your community, work and life?

I would like to put a case for instigating a vegetable garden at Kew where children can learn about growing vegetables and begin to understand more about where their food comes from. This would provide an engaging platform and access point for children to become interested in plants and learn about the importance of sustainability. I’m also interested in plant conservation and it seems only sensible to address the source of our problems whilst also dealing with the consequences. ‘Modern’ intensive agriculture is probably the single greatest threat to plant biodiversity.

How would you describe the Schumacher course to a stranger?

It’s an all encompassing look at farming in a sustainable way:  diversity , mixed farming (you can complete cycles and loops which would otherwise create waste), looking at support systems and communities,   the marketplace and how to sell produce. There was also a chance to describe what we have now and envisage what the solutions could look like. This course had a holistic approach and looked at each aspect of farming i.e. horticulture, livestock and arable and how you can bring them all together.

What is the biggest impact the College has made on you and your practice?

It was great to understand the importance of animals in farming. This was something I had little knowledge of prior to the course but made complete sense when considering their role in recycling nutrients and increasing fertility. The fully integrated mixed farm should be the norm if we are to successfully provide food without destroying the planet. The Schumacher College Bursary Fund is an integral function of the College and consolidates its vision and ethos to create a warm community centered on equality and opportunity, irrespective of race, religion, social background and financial constraints, to ensure that Schumacher College retains its unique position as a true centre of excellence open to all. Clients may wish to support this valuable enterprise, by making a donation     HSSCHBlog/131213

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