Agroecologist Portfolio - May 2017CV Header

Agroecologist Statement

My work as an agroecologist is the implementation of my commitment to creating not only a different food system but a different way of life that transforms social, ecological, economic and inter-species relations. Agroecology in practice underpins the actuality of achieving individual and collective autonomy and freedom from oppression and this is why I engage with this work.

I refuse to do any work that in any way justifies, rationalises, normalises or encourages adaptation to a world of oppression. I cultivate a critical political literacy that influences my decisions as to where I apply my energy.

I commit to developing myself as an agroecologist through pro-active self-education, attending events and courses, and undertaking different programs of study. I critically interact with scientific literature, while embracing diverse forms of knowledge making and observing the power relations that shape these. My main teacher is the land, and it is in a reciprocal relationship that I continue to develop my ecological understandings of this world.

I actively participate in struggles for food sovereignty. My niche in this movement is researching and spreading plant-based systems that play a role in dismantling industrial animal agriculture.

Where there is a financial exchange for my time facilitating learning, giving consultancy advice, and managing projects, I will commit to creating opportunities for accessibility, through tools such as sliding scales, gift-based courses, securing grants to ensure accessibility and so forth. I will respect myself and honour my financial needs but refuse to financially exploit others.

I undertake paid work to support me to meet my necessary economic needs by working in cooperative, liberatory ways with focuses that are congruent and supportive of my organiser goals and objectives.

Services Available

Design Services

Land-based Design Services include consultancy support to design:

  • Home gardens
  • Small holdings
  • Farms
  • Orchards, Nutteries & Forest Gardens
  • Community Gardens & Projects
  • Medicinal gardens
  • Therapeutic gardens

Services can include:

  • ‘Walk and talks’ for on-the-day advice and support
  • Detailed site survey, soil assessment & site research
  • Client interviews for individuals & group visioning for group and family projects
  • Pre-purchase assessment to observe land to assess if it will meet your needs
  • Base map preparation and concept design integrating leading knowledge in agroecology, permaculture, and sustainable food system design
  • Full design reports with detailed costings, planting plans, implementation plans and resources

Project Support

  • Support groups with design processes to increase the impact of their work
  • Grant research and grant applications
  • Marketing and social media utilisation
  • Developing partnerships
  • Event design and management
  • Group communication and facilitation
  • Patrix elimination, dealing with internal and external oppressions that affect your systems
  • Freelance campaign support
  • Freelance writing, including articles, blog posts, magazine features, website copy, leaflet and factsheet text, press releases, reviews, interview and event features.

Educational Services

  • Designing and facilitating workshops or sessions at events, gatherings and conferences
  • Designing and facilitating sessions as part of longer courses
  • Designing and facilitating new courses
  • Delivering any of the below courses, workshops or talks
  • Giving feedback on session designs
  • Consultancy services for community and adult learning initiatives
  • Project design and/or delivery for community and adult learning initiatives 
  • Main Advising or Skill Flex Advising sessions for Gaia University Associates
  • Design Support and Personal Support Tutorials for Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design Apprentices
  • Freelance tutoring and advising for learners not in formal programs in my fields of interest

Please email nicole@emptycagesdesign.org with your needs and opportunities for collaboration.

 

Evidence of Continuing Development & Learning

Qualifications

MSc Political Agroecology with Gaia University International, 2013 - present

MSc undertaken with an action-learning and action-research methodology, centred on how we can accelerate the speed and scale of a transition to agroecological practices around the world, with a strong focus on Western Europe. Thematic areas include the socioeconomic relationships of agroecology, alternative economics, agroecosystem design, soil care, agroforestry, repression, collective models of food production, anarchism and global political movements, animal agriculture and speciesism, the role of education and critical pedaogogy, and more. FFI: http://www.emptycages- design.org/?page_id=3182

Bsc Integrative Ecosocial Design with Gaia University International, 2011 - 2012

Action-learning degree with recognition of prior learning. Degree was focused on developing my ecological and social design competencies, with critical thematic explorations of food sovereignty, small-scale agriculture, permaculture design, anti-oppression design frameworks, sustainable organising, self care and more.

Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design, Permaculture Association GB, 2011 - 2014

The Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design is a qualification developed by the Permaculture Association GB that involves the accreditation of ten designs (land and non land-based), as well as engagement in the field of permaculture.

 

In progress:

  • Certificate in Applied Agroecology, Mesa, May 2017 - present
  • Royal Horticultural Society Advanced level 3 certifcates in principles of plant growth, health and propagation & principles of garden planning, construction & planting, 2012 - present
  • Diploma in Arboriculture, Horticultural Correspondence College, 2015 - present

Short Courses

  • Polytunnel Course, one-day course, Somerset, May 2017
  • Plant Identification, one-day course, Somerset, July 2016
  • Pond Design and Construction, one-day course, Somerset, July 2016
  • Mushroom Cultivation and Identification, 3-day course, Somerset, November 2015
  • Food Sovereignty, 3-day course, Somerset, October 2015
  • Chromatography Workshop with Jairo Restrepo, Gloucestershire, July 2015
  • Keyline Design Course with Own Hablutzel, 3-day course, Somerset, June 2015
  • Agroecology, 5 day Course with Miguel Altieri and Clara Nicholls, Devon, May 2015
  • Seed Saving, one-day course, Somerset, February 2015
  • Nursery Course with Niels Corfield from Edible Cities, two-day course, Somerset, February 2015
  • Paulo Freire Formation Programme, The Freire Institute, 2015
  • Communities Buying Land, one-day course, Birmingham, November 2013
  • Sustainable Woodland Management with Ben Law, 5 day Course, Sussex, November 2013
  • Permaculture Diploma Tutor Training, November 2012
  • Somerset Food Sovereignty Skillshare, Somerset, October 2011
  • Permaculture Design Support Intensive, Somerset, September 2012
  • Agroforestry, one-day course, The Institute of Organic Training and Advice (IOTA), September 2012
  • Regenerative Agriculture with Darren Doherty, 7-day course, Sussex, September 2012
  • Gaia University Advisor Training, September 2012
  • Permaculture Training of Teachers Course, Designed Visions, Sussex, March 2012
  • Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector, Sussex, 2012
  • No-dig gardening, one-day course, Somerset, February 2012
  • Ecological sewage treatment & rainwater harvesting, 3-day course, Centre for Alternative Technology, Wales, May 2011
  • Starting a Food Cooperative, Somerset, May 2011
  • Permaculture Design Support Intensive, Somerset, May 2011
  • Apple tree grafting, Shropshire, March 2011
  • Living Willow Sculpture Course, Somerset, February 2011
  • Maintaining an Orchard, Somerset, January 2011
  • Studies with the Open University, Milton Keynes including Environmental science & Environmental studies, 2009 - 2011
  • Certificate in Horticulture, ACS Education, 2009-2010
  • Permaculture Design Certificate includes. 200 hours ‘Permaculture systems’ & ‘Advanced
Permaculture’ modules, ACS Education, 2009-2010, Tutor: Martin Powdrill
  • Certificate of Herbal Studies, 2009, accredited by British Herbal Medicine Association, distinction
  • Advanced Diploma in Herbalism, 2009, School of Natural Health Sciences

Practical Skills

  • Propagation 
  • Mulching

  • Soil care 
  • Fruit growing 
  • Veg & salad production 
  • Permaculture Design 
  • Medicinal plant cultivation 
  • Wild foods 
  • Sustainable Woodland Management 
  • Arboriculture 
  • Agroforestry system design 
  • Composting 
  • Technical drawing 
  • Landscape reading 
  • Surveying

Research Interests

Political agroecology, horticulture, plant-based system design and care, agroforestry, forest gardening, plant-based fertility and urban agriculture, European access to land and food sovereignty movements, seed sovereignty, prison abolition, transformative justice, anarchism, most specifically anarchist agroecology and the political economy of food systems.

Agroecology Articles and Publications

Professional Positions

Founder & Director of Empty Cages Design - the framework for my self-employment and personal engagement in the fields of agroecology.  Includes website and social media platforms, freelance writing and research, tutoring and advising, and consultancy services. My previous website was called Wild Heart Permaculture (established in 2011), which transitioned to become ECD in 2013.

Founder & Director of Feed Avalon CIC - Social enterprise working towards local food resilience in Glastonbury, Street & surrounding villages. (2013 onwards)

Key Achievements

  • Two-year ‘Growing Glastonbury’ Project, £40k project funded by People’s Health trust, working with 20 mentors to support 200 households to learn how to grow food. Regular gardening clubs, skill shares & more
  • EAT (Education & Training) Project, designing & convening comprehensive programme of courses and workshops in food system skills
  • Establishing community kitchen
  • Grassroots organising including community food forums, seed swaps, harvest shows & more

Co-manager, Brook End - 4-acre smallholding, education & demonstration site, 2011 - present

  • Becoming Permaculture Learning & Network Demonstration Centre with Permaculture Association GB
  • Establishing kitchen gardens, medicinal herb garden, orchard, polytunnel, greenhouse systems & more

Gaia University Advisor, February 2013 - present

  • Supporting associates working towards Bachelor degrees and diplomas in ecological and social design.
  • Leading advising sessions, reviewing output work and working as part of a team to support associates.

Diploma in Applied Permaculture Tutor, with Permaculture Association GB, November 2014 - present

  • Actively supporting apprentices undertaking the diploma, giving feedback on their design work and learning pathways.

Project Officer, Somerset Community Food (2011 - 2014)

Key Achievements

  • Delivering £250k Somerset Land for Food Project, an access to land project for community food production in Somerset
  • Growing Resilience Project (see teaching experience)
  • Producing access to land handbook & series of short  films about community access to land
  • Initiating Incredible Edible Somerset, grassroots network & online platform
  • Establishing Somerset Master Gardeners network in partnership with Garden Organic, to support 20 volunteers mentor households in growing food
  • Organising several county-wide conferences & events, including access to land tour, local food feast & community growers gathering

Agroecological System Design Experience

  • Brook End, 4-acre smallholding and permaculture demonstration centre. Extensive design & management of multiple on-site areas (ongoing)
  • Flight Farm, Gloucestershire, kitchen garden design, 2015
  • Southdown Farm, Somerset. 29-acre farm, forest garden design, 2014 
  • Brook Farm Animal Sanctuary, Northamptonshire, design project for increased biodiversity, climate mitigation & soil erosion prevention, 2013
  • St Werburghs Medicine Garden, design for community allotment & herbal medicine teaching space, 2012
  • Greenacres, smallholding re-design for increased food production, food resilience & nature connection on Somerset levels, 2012
  • Home garden & spiritual space, Shropshire, 2011

Client Testimonials

"Working with Nicole on our permaculture plans for the farm was brilliant - she is a good listener, sensitive to the needs of all involved, inspiringly knowledgeable and practical, and really puts her heart into her work. Having someone objective to bounce ideas with, and wholly supportive, with such an informed overview, was invaluable. I would recommend her to anyone beginning a permaculture project."

- Melodie Mayne, Southdown Farm

Agroecology Teaching Experience

Agroecology-related Courses Designed and Faciltated

  • Growing to Sell Course. Two-day training in scaling up food production for market. Co-taught with Tim Lawrence & Hannah Hughes, March 2016, May 2015, February 2016, Somerset.
  • Liberation Permaculture Course, Weekend course exploring principles of permaculture applied to social change. Co-taught with Pandora Thomas, Graham Burnett & Rafter Sass-Ferguson. September 2015. Essex.
  • Food Sovereignty Course co-taught with Mama D. Three-day introduction to food sovereignty and popular education. October 2015, Somerset
  • Community Horticulture Course. Designed new qualification - Certificate in Community Horticulture (Level 2 APT Award) as part of the Growing Resilience Project with Somerset Community Food. 14 learners graduated with the certificate. The course involved taught sessions in organising and educational skills. As well as six public events, where the learners delivered workshops relating to the six principles of food sovereignty. Learners also undertook projects in their own communities as a basis for their action learning. More than 40 different learners were involved in the project. January - June 2014, Somerset.

Convened Courses and Learning Events

  • Polytunnel Growing, one day course, May 2017, Somerset
  • SoilHack Gathering, three-day gathering, May 2017, Somerset
  • Nutrition Day School, March 2017, Somerset
  • Seedy Sunday Seed Swap, March 2017, Somerset
  • Cooking Basic Essentials, March & April 2017, Somerset
  • Cooking with Nuts and Seeds, one day course, February 2017, Somerset

2016

  • Introduction to Fermentation, one day course, March 2017, October 2016, June 2016, Somerset
  • Cooking with Beans and Pulses, one day course, November 2016, Somerset
  • Introduction to vegan cooking, one day course, June & October 2016, Somerset
  • Pond Design and Construction, one day course, August 2016, Somerset
  • Mushroom Cultivation Course, one day course, July 2016, Somerset
  • Plant Identification, one day course, July 2016, Somerset
  • Avalon Wildflower Park Open Day, April 2016, Somerset
  • Glastonbury Community Seed Swap, March 2016, Somerset
  • Planting for Pollinators, One day Course, March 2016, Somerset
  • Community Food Forum, Glastonbury, January & October 2016, Somerset
  • Reclaim the Fields European Assembly, January 2016, Warsaw, Poland

2015

  • Reclaim the Fields International Action Camp, August-September 2015, North Wales
  • Earth First Summer Gathering! August 2015, Derbyshire
  • Anti-Speciesism & Anti-Patriarchy Talk, June 2015, Bristol
  • Introduction to Permaculture Course, Taught by Graham Burnett, May 2015, Somerset
  • Community Food Forum, Glastonbury, March 2015, Somerset
  • Nursery Course, Taught by Niels Corfield of Edible Cities, February 2015, Somerset
  • Fruit Tree Pruning Skillshare, Taught by Carol Stone, January 2015, Somerset
  • Reclaim the Fields European Assembly, January 2015, Nottinghamshire

2014

  • Avalon Abundance Course, 6-week training in food harvesting & preservation, September - October 2014, Somerset
  • Community Food Forum, Glastonbury, October 2015, Somerset
  • Reclaim the Fields Gathering, August 2014, Scotland

2013

  • Community Growers Gathering, October 2013, Somerset
  • Radical Herbalism Gathering, June 2013, Somerset
  • Incredible Edible Somerset Open Gardens, Organised more than 22 workshops supporting 190 people to learn, September 2013, Somerset
  • Good Food For Everyone Forever, Talk in Glastonbury with Colin Tudge & Local Food Feast, over 80 people, September 2013
  • National Extreme Energy Gathering, Manchester, April 2013
  • Access to Land Tour, 4 public meetings & educational info nights in Somerset, January - February - May 2013

2012

  • Permaculture Design Support Intensive, Led by Aranya, September 2012, Somerset
  • Incredible Edible Somerset Open Gardens, Organised 9 workshops supporting 134 people to learn, September 2013, Somerset
  • Reclaim the Fields Gathering, July 2012, Cumbria
  • Incredible Edible Somerset Conference, July 2012, Somerset

2011

  • South West Food Sovereignty Skillshare, Glastonbury, October 2011, Somerset
  • Torganics Field Trip, organised with Transition Glastonbury, September 2011, Somerset
  • Reclaim the Fields Gathering, August 2011, Bristol
  • Monkton Wyld Field Trip, organised with Transition Glastonbury, June 2011, Dorset
  • Permaculture Diploma Support Event, Led by Aranya, May 2011, Somerset

Agroecology-Related Workshops Designed and Facilitated

2016

  • Food sovereignty and Vegan Agroecology Talk, People’s Harvest Forum, San Fransisco, December 2016

2015

  • Animal Liberation and Food Sovereignty Talk, People’s Harvest Forum, San Fransisco, December 2015
  • Composting Gender, Food Sovereignty Gathering, October 2015, Yorkshire
  • Permaculture & Prisons: Designing a world without the Prison Industrial Complex, International Permaculture Convergence, September 2015, Essex
  • Towards a Liberatory and Vegan Permaculture, with Graham Burnett, International Permaculture Convergence, September 2015, Essex
  • Permaculture & Prisons, International Permaculture Conference, September 2015, London
  • Medicinal Landscaping Workshop with students from Wangeningen University, April 2015, Somerset
  • Seed Sovereignty, Seed Saving Course, February 2015, Somerset

2014

2013

2012

2011

  • Introduction to Food Sovereignty, South West Food Sovereignty Skillshare, Glastonbury, October 2011, Somerset
  • Anarcha Herbalism, short session introducing the politics of herbalism. Reclaim the Fields Gathering, August 2011, Bristol.
  • Liberation Permaculture, short session introducing the politics of permaculture. Reclaim the Fields Gathering, August 2011, Bristol.

Grassroots Agroecology Organising Experience

Long-term experienced organiser in diverse campaigns and collectives working for social change.

Areas of focus: anti-prison work, prisoner support and defendant solidarity, resilience to repression, anti-fracking, land rights, agroecology and food sovereignty, as well as animal liberation.

Skills include: collective organising, consensus decision making, strategic thinking and planning, public speaking, facilitation, conflict resolution, organising events, gatherings, conferences, tours, demonstrations and actions. Research, graphic design, multimedia, social media and website design skills.