MSc End of Year Presentation with Gaia U – Agroecology, Prison Aboltion and more

After five long, hard and incredible years, I am finally about to graduate with an MSc Applied Agroecology!

On the 13th November 2018 at 10am US Pacific Time (18:00 UTC), I will be hosting my End of Year Presentation.

The presentation is 45 minutes followed by questions and answers and feedback. The whole call is 1.5 hours but you can stay as long or as short as you like. I would really appreciate folks being there.

The call will go over what I have learnt during my MSc in the fields of agroecology, food autonomy, prison abolition and more. It will share outcomes of my projects, as well as key learnings. It will also share the back story of how I manage my learning pathway and my life to make things happen. So it’s a good chance to also learn more about Gaia University and its approach to education.

To register visit:



Queer Ecology Course

Why this course?

Queer and trans folk often need to live in cities for our safety, community and survival. Permaculture and other land-based work can seem distant, irrelevant or too based on cis and hetero realities to include those of us at urban queer edges. Yet our desire to connect with the land is real and learning more about ecology and permaculture design can increase the social and ecological health of our communities. It’s also just really good to get outside in the green sometimes.

As queer, working-class activists, we know first-hand how alienating courses and events can be when our needs are not centred. In addition, biology as a study is so dominated by cis-heteronormative ideas and so misused by biological essentialists that accessing this knowledge can be a particular challenge.

We also know that ecology is queer as fuck, that animals and plants and all the beings we share the planet with have had every imaginable sexuality, sex and gender for as long as there has been life. We love that, we honour it. And we want to talk about it all day long.

This course is ecology for queers, because it’s super useful and totally beautiful to know more about our world. But it is also queer ecology in and off itself. Queer botany. Queer animal behaviour. Queer herbalism. Queer ethnobotany. And sure; Queer soil, Queer design and Queer farming too.

What the course will include:

This one-of-a-kind course will support learners to gain a basic understanding of:

  • Queer Ethnobotany – cultural relationships with plants through history, with a lens that challenges cissexist and heteronormative versions of history
  • Plant identification – through a queer botany lens
  • Food growing and agroecology
  • Soil ecology and soil care practices
  • General ecology and ecological principles
  • Non-human sexuality and gender – be inspired by the queers of the animal kingdom and the beautiful diversity existing in our world
  • Permaculture principles and the permaculture design process
  • Herbalism – including practical medicine making
  • Trans herbalism – including a session with a medical herbalist on herbs for supporting with transition

Practical Information

When: Saturday 25th – Wednesday 29th May 2019

Where: The course takes place at a 4-acre smallholding in Somerset called Brook End (5 miles from Glastonbury). It is a permaculture demonstration site with vegetable gardens, polytunnels, a large medicinal herb garden, orchard, woodland and field. Accommodation is camping, with hot showers, wood-fired sauna and beautiful local walks. There is also indoor accommodation reserved for people with health needs that make camping unsuitable.

The food will be vegan as a default but we aim to cater for diverse diets, allergies and health needs.

We want to do everything we can to make this course as safe and relevant and accessible to folk in our communities as we can. We also recognise that this is a process and not a simple matter of good intentions. If you have needs or concerns that you think we haven’t addressed, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

Course contributions

We believe that our course can be useful to our queer and trans communities. We also recognise that those same communities are almost defined by marginalisation, including access to money. We are working to apply for funding and to do other fundraising to make this course as financially accessible as possible.

For those who can afford it independently we are asking for a contribution of £300 to cover the course costs including 5 days camping, all food and meals, and course materials. There will also be sliding scale places available at £200 and £75 for those needing financial support to participate.

About the Facilitators

Otter Lieffe

Otter is a white, working-class, femme, trans woman. She is also a grassroots activist, the author of two novels about queer environmental activism and has been teaching and facilitating for nearly two decades. She once-upon-a-time dragged herself through a university degree in ecology and conservation and then decided to do something real with her life.

Nicole Vosper

Nicole is a white, working-class, queer femme and dedicated plant geek. She is an anarchist organiser focusing on dismantling the prison system. She has a BSc Integrative Ecosocial Design and MSc Applied Agroecology from Gaia University, as well as a Diploma in Permaculture Design. She has helped to develop Brook End as a permaculture demonstration site for the last 7 years, supported hundreds of people to grow food and is currently organising national SoilHack gatherings sharing grassroots knowledge on soil science. She is also a passionate folk herbalist running a Solidarity Apothecary supporting people experiencing repression with plant medicines.

How to book

To book please email for a booking form and course information pack.

Please feel free to email any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

Please note as of the 21st December 2018, this course is now closed for bookings. If you would like to be kept on the waiting list for the second course, please contact us!

Eat Like it Matters – Food Politics and Nutrition Course

A weekend course taking place near Glastonbury in Somerset exploring food politics and the challenges to our food system today with an emphasis on nutrition.

When: Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd April 2018

Where: Brook End LAND Centre in Compton Dundon, just outside Glastonbury and Street in Somerset

This weekend course is an opportunity to develop your knowledge of nutrition, increase your practical skills in foraging, fermenting and cooking, and collectively explore the politics of food and nutrition with an amazing group of people.

This participatory course will include sessions on:
• Nutritional science
• Plant-based diets FAQs
• Health at Every Size, body positivity and dismantling the diet paradigm
• Food sovereignty vs food security
• Decolonizing the food system
• Intersectional food activism
• Cooking as community building

Learners will collectively prepare and share meals developing their skills catering, foraging, fermentation and using food waste. The course will also serve as an exchange of community and radical food initiatives and projects.

Cost: This course operates on a sliding-scale, donation basis from £35 – £125. This includes all meals and accommodation. Free places are available to those in need.

How to book: To book please email

Practical Medicine Making Course – Fundraiser for Herbalists without Borders

I am super excited about this course taking place in April:

This weekend residential course is a fundraiser for Herbalists without Borders Bristol. Learn practical herbal medicine making skills.

When: 28th – 29th April 2018

Where: At Brook End LAND Centre in Compton Dundon – just outside Glastonbury and Street in Somerset

By the end of the course you will know how to make:
• Ointments, Balms and Creams
• Herbal Vinegars and Oxymels
• Medicinal Tinctures
• Cough Syrups

You will also learn:
• Basic wildcrafting
• Effective harvesting, drying and storage of medicinal plants
• Herbal ethics and sustainability
• Holistic approaches to digestion and immunity
• How to start a Herbalists without Borders Chapter in your area
• Recipes for medicines used by Herbalists without Borders

Cost: £275. This includes all meals and camping accommodation at a beautiful 4-acre permaculture smallholding with hot showers and a sauna. Please contact us if you need financial support to participate.

About the Tutors: Becs Griffiths and Annwen Jones are two passionate and experienced medical herbalists who run the Rhizome Community Herbal Clinic in Bristol.

About Herbalists without Borders Bristol: HWB provides free herbal healthcare to asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in collaboration with herbalists, herb growers, and local migrant support projects. It is a completely grassroots project and the donations from the course will directly go to materials for the clinic. Learn more at:

How to book: Please email Nicole at

Plant Nursery Design Course

Feed Avalon are hosting a two-day course in how to start your own Plant Nursery. It will be taught by Niels Corfield who has a wealth of experience as a professional nurseryman. Learn more below.

What: Nursery Course

Where: Brook End LAND Centre in Compton Dundon, near Street and Glastonbury

When: Wednesday 7th & 28th March 2018


This course will cover the theory and practice of establishing and operating an edible plant nursery that is nancially viable and a size that is manageable for you.

The course will cover:
• Designing a commercial nursery – how to get started
• Understanding the di erent nursery and propagation options
• Running a commercial nursery operation, including: irrigation, feeding and pest management
• Becoming self-su cient in propagation materials
• Hands-on nursery design practice
• Seasonal propagation activity
• Managing stock, sales and purchases
• Marketing of edible and unusual plants, online and face- to-face

You will be provided with info and resources to take away including plant lists, stock tracking spreadsheets, template plant labels, a Course Reader with info on everything taught. You will leave with increased con dence, clarity and creativity to put your new knowledge and skills into practice.

Cost: This two-day course, including lunch costs £120. We have free and subsidised places available. Please email for more information.

How to book: To book please email

Practical Composting Course this March

Learn all about how to make and use compost at the Red Brick Building Community Garden in Glastonbury.

When: Thursday 8th March 2018, 9.30am – 4pm

The course will cover:
• What is compost?
• Life in the soil
• Bene ts of composting
• Building healthy soil
• Domestic and community scale composting solutions and other related systems e.g. leafmould, grass cuttings, cardboard, using comfrey, humanure, no-dig and biochar, and bokashi systems
• Specialised composting including cooked food waste
• Soil types and growing media

There will also be time to answer any compost-related queries for your own system or site.

About the Tutor: Nicky Scott has 30 years experience of composting expertise, written several books and co-designed systems, advised schools and business throughout Devon. Visit his Dr Compost site:

How to book: Please email

Free Course: Basic Meals on a Budget

This course I’m organising with Feed Avalon starts this week!! Check it out:

Over four weeks, folks will learn some great cheap and easy recipes. Dinner included in the evening. All welcome!

What: Want to eat well but limited by budget and lack of cooking skills? The course will give learners vital shopping, budgeting and cookery skills. In order to transition to a healthy, ful lling and ethical diet as their budget allows.

Sessions will cover shopping inthe local area, menu planning and budgeting, buying co-operatively, making bread, soups, cooking with herbs and spices, using lentils, using flour, and healthy takes on popular classics – including fast food and desserts.

We will make dishes and share together at the end of the class.

Where: Unit C1 Thriveability Hub, Northover Buildings, Glastonbury, BA6 9NU

When: 6-8.30pm on these dates –

• Thursday 18th January
• Thursday 25th January
• Thursday 1st February
• Thursday 8th February

Booking preferred but drop-ins welcome. Email to book:

Free One Day Course: Improving Soil Health

Taking place near Glastonbury, this free one-day course explores how to promote and preserve soil health in practice. Learn simple testing methods and management techniques for better soil health.

When: 28th February 2018 9.30am – 5pm

This course provides an introduction to the soil health principles and how they can be applied to a growing operation. We will learn simple testing methods to measure soil health and soil carbon.

The course explores management techniques for better soil health: cover crops and crop rotations, amendments, biochar, composting and more. Using problem-based learning methods, this course will enable learners to generate solutions for their own growing sites.

About the Tutor: Niels Corfield is a designer, educator and consultant, working to create regenerative landscapes and farms in the UK and Europe. This year he is coordinating a research trial of organic no-till cover crops across a number of sites in the UK. He has been supporting and consulting on small-medium UK farms since 2012. He is the director of Edible Cities, a successful design consultancy and plant nursery.

How to book: Please email

Cooking with Beans and Pulses – Short Course this weekend

My co-op, Feed Avalon, is hosting this wicked course on Saturday. There are still places left! Email me at to book

What: Cooking with Beans and Pulses – Short Course

When: Saturday 20th January 2017, 11 – 5pm

Where: Unit C1 Thriveability Hub, Northover Buildings, Glastonbury, BA6 9NU


A cheap and tasty source of protein, minerals, vitamins and micronutrients, beans and pulses make a great ally for both healthy eating and economic survival. This course will share healthy vegan recipes with beans and pulses being the principle ingredient. We will cover cooking with pulses from soaking to cooking times, focusing on slow food cooking and preparation. The recipes will be of an international flavour yet combining organic, seasonal produce.

The class will include:

• Learning to make wholesome meals with beans and pulses
• Exploring different pulses and their principle uses and history
• Learning which pots to use and cooking times
• How to prepare delicious meals on a budget
• How to combine pulses with other ingredients for optimum taste
• Food and recipes to take home

Cost: £35. Max 14 places, please book early. Free and financially-supported places available, please email for further information.

How to Book: To book please email