This section details how I have designed my pathway on the basis of my survey and analysis processes.
Below is a learning contract which articulates my commitments and strategic focuses. Also detailed are the core action learning cycles that I have identified that create a container for my learning processes, projects and commitments. To the right are summaries of my output intentions, as well as an overview of my SMART goals.
I am undertaking this MSc for the purposes of maximising the strategic impact of my work in:
- Increasing my ability to effect the future of the fate of millions of farmed animals around the planet
- Supporting my self and others to achieve social justice for humans & nonhumans, accelerate ecological restoration and support the building of a regenerative culture
My commitments are:
- To dedicate a minimum of 16 hours per week to self-directed learning
- To take responsibility for my own self-care
- To utilise all Gaia U services, community calls, pauses and extensions to skillfully make the most of my program
- To use the Gaia U support structure to optimise my focus, productivity and creativity
- To maintain an effective action learning support system for myself to optimise all my life experiences, project work, relationships and more as opportunities for growth
The strategic focuses of my Masters (brief):
1. To observe, collate, create & disseminate the most effective skills, tools & practices of community organising that can accelerate the speed and scale of the application of agroecology practices & principles and radical social change.
2. To research, collate, create & disseminate practical & applicable knowledge for plant based system design and care.
3. To research the hypothesis that plant-based systems without produce from domesticated animals could feed current human populations in temperate climates.
4. To support myself to become a skilled community organiser, permaculture practitioner, writer, teacher, researcher and agroecologist that can be of service to all beings and have the widest & most strategic impact possible in achieving social justice for all beings & ecological restoration.
Core Action Learning Cycles
It became clear to me when completing my BSc with Gaia University that no matter how much desire there is for focus or simplicity, life is too complex to keep an output packet to one theme. Balanced with project work, commitments, the dates of opportunities (for example courses to support you gaining a new skill flex) not to mention emerging themes or personal processes that are unexpected, it has been more effective for me to use Outputs as a container for my action learning coupled with intensive thematic exploration.
The three pillars of my action learning include:
- This could involve a thematic focus e.g. prison abolition, animal liberation, financial permaculture and so forth that I give attention to through reading, study and so forth.
- Documentation, tracking and processing of my own engagement via my projects and commitments.
- Consciously exploring 'How can these patterns be used for ecological restoration & social justice? What community action needs to happen for their implementation?'
Agroecological System Design & Care
- This could involve zooming in on a thematic focus e.g. nut tree cultivation, agroforestry and so forth. As well as 'zooming out' and exploring its connection to wider land use practices and their implementation (interlinked with community organising above).
- Documentation, tracking and processing of my own land-based design work, such as at home or through consultancy projects.
- Ongoing collation of best practice and research around plant-based systems.
Personal & Professional Development
- Self Care: How am I looking after myself during this process? What patterns am I observing in myself, any re-stimulation?
- Spirituality: Integrating spiritual practices & beliefs into my work & life as an ongoing action learning cycle.
- Professional skill flex development: Using learning opportunities to stretch my skill flex edges & gain new skills.
For example, I could be intensively reading about energy systems, peak oil & energy politics, while simultaneously reflecting on my own role in an anti-fracking campaign, documenting my research and observations of resistance to extreme energy and then practically re-skiling myself in DIY solar panel construction. All of these can be integrated into an output. This integrated approach is how I have designed my output packet periods (see right).
Output 2: Healing & Resistance
The aim of this output is to explore my own radical edges and optimise how I organise with others for social change. A large thematic area is prison abolition, as well as healing and resilience to repression on a personal and community-movement level.
Output 3: Antispeciesist Agroecology
The aim of this output is to explore the histories, impacts and consequences of animal agriculture and explore what tools, methodologies and approaches are being used to end animal oppression, evaluate their effectiveness and explore what an antispeciest agroecology could look like and how it could be achieved.
Output 4: Cultivating Regenerative Cultures
The aim of this output is to focus on the market garden, nursery & herbal enterprise planning centred at Brook End, as well as the relationships with my own business Wild Heart Permaculture and my design of an integrative polycultural right livelihood. This is placed in the context of understanding regenerative economics and financial permaculture and the role of community organising in redesigning our economic systems.
Making my Goals SMARTER
It is clear I have an extremely ambitious learning pathway. In order to make it feel achieveable, I find using SMART targets an extremely useful tool.