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
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.
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 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. www.otterlieffe.com
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. www.emptycagesdesign.org
How to book
To book please email firstname.lastname@example.org for a booking form and course information pack.
Please feel free to email any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!