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See what students had to say:

5 star rating

Title immediately caught my attention; suggested a very timely topic and examination of critical issues.

Michael Newton

Excellent: I have purchased Surviving the Future & Lean Logic, and I am certain to be reading and referring to them going forward.

Excellent: I have purchased Surviving the Future & Lean Logic, and I am certain to be reading and referring to them going forward.

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5 star rating

truly brilliant so far

Carolyn Schmidt

I am deeply appreciating the effort and love that Philip and Shaun, along with everyone else at Sterling College, and the class participants, are bringing to this course. The twice-weekly live webinars are crucial for my sense of belonging. M...

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I am deeply appreciating the effort and love that Philip and Shaun, along with everyone else at Sterling College, and the class participants, are bringing to this course. The twice-weekly live webinars are crucial for my sense of belonging. My hard copies of Lean Logic and Surviving the Future arrived last week, and I'm getting a great deal out of reading and re-reading, related to the group discussions. The Covid-19 situation, in addition to many other profound potential lurches (feels like we could be living through a *paradigm shift), has deprived me of my daily human neighborhood social contact network. So the timing of this class is working for me on many levels.

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5 star rating

dark realities and culture

Rupa Shah Flynn

It is heartening to see these conversations curated by the lean logic and how it gets contextualized honestly and with integrity. No easy answers, but the approach is well thought through and workable - comprehensive enough to be applied contextua...

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It is heartening to see these conversations curated by the lean logic and how it gets contextualized honestly and with integrity. No easy answers, but the approach is well thought through and workable - comprehensive enough to be applied contextually. The discussion on multiculturalism was inadequate for mutual learning as it was not shared in the main zoom room and was used as a vague 'catch all' for race, poverty, inclusion, exclusion, beliefs, indigeneity - conversations we need to have. I have been very grateful and impressed by the maturity and diversity and integration, self reflective and critical, accepting and honest exchanges. I would really like to meet you all in person. It is becoming clear to me that within Fleming's work are the hidden insights which stem/hold back the imbalances of 'protectionist' and xenophobic approaches, whilst making sure that what is protected benefits the whole community and nature, donut economics in interconnected 'seed of life' design seems compatible :) I am finding ways to take this forward, have had a couple of 'interviews' as I review my studies to direct them more into localism, how we make the interconnections which work as we know promotes wellbeing. I have also been impressed that the faculty of the course do pay attention to our contributions and help to make it interactive, using our enquiries as well as challenging them in good humour and to enlightening effect. I learned yesterday that Warren Buffet is redirecting his resources in this direction, which shows the change of heart happens to anyone when open to the facts and to love of family/community/national futures and planet beauty. 'Culture', used in a broad sense of overarching systems, is controlled by capitalism with all its exponential growth, 'myth of progress' (Greer?), so it is impressed upon me that the structures (grammar) and vocabulary of this restorative work is applicable anywhere and with diversity in mind. Overpopulation - have always felt the asians and blacks were to blame all the time for that! But poverty and the rights of women are actually the underlying factors, ad I feel the SDGs (UN) are echoed here. We can make humane and reasoned and respectful options for women. Slowly overcoming the questions I have had over how truly inclusive this approach is, and at the same time, seeing Fleming put in the insights from history and science and philosophy that warn us wisely. A warning is not to discourage, but to proceed with open eyes and careful attention.

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5 star rating

Essential

Gary Piazzon

We hope it will be repeated, not just for myself and my wife but so that this dialogue may spread and engage others in envisioning, learning and preparing for the uncertainties ahead.

We hope it will be repeated, not just for myself and my wife but so that this dialogue may spread and engage others in envisioning, learning and preparing for the uncertainties ahead.

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5 star rating

Very thoughtful.

Catherine Lowther

Very thoughtful, full of important ideas and information.

Very thoughtful, full of important ideas and information.

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5 star rating

I am very much enjoying the symposium.

michelle bradley

I am very aware that I stand at the centre of my world and what resonates with me in the offerings. I have also taken lots of side roads to other content beyond the symposium while digesting the material offered thus far. Thank you.

I am very aware that I stand at the centre of my world and what resonates with me in the offerings. I have also taken lots of side roads to other content beyond the symposium while digesting the material offered thus far. Thank you.

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5 star rating

Just what is needed right now

Jennifer Wilkins

As I'm catching up with the material since I engaged slowly at the start, it has become abundantly clear how much careful thought and care Phil and Shaun have put into the course design and content. The videos are highly-relevant, thought-provokin...

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As I'm catching up with the material since I engaged slowly at the start, it has become abundantly clear how much careful thought and care Phil and Shaun have put into the course design and content. The videos are highly-relevant, thought-provoking and interesting. Your communication style with course participants is friendly, inviting and engaging. I'm looking forward to continuing to the readings, more videos and the high-quality presentations. Thank you so much!

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4 star rating

Almost excelent

Olli Tammilehto

The course was as good as distant learning can be. Zoom meetings are not the same as real. Also the large number of participants was a problem. Perhaps it would have been good to divide us to smaller permanent groups.

The course was as good as distant learning can be. Zoom meetings are not the same as real. Also the large number of participants was a problem. Perhaps it would have been good to divide us to smaller permanent groups.

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5 star rating

An extraordinary line-up of thinkers, writers and do-ers.

Rutger Clarke

This was my first experience of online learning, and being a huge fan of Fleming's ideas, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to participate. I didn't leave with a single disappointment. Shaun and Philip really did Fleming’s ideas an incre...

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This was my first experience of online learning, and being a huge fan of Fleming's ideas, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to participate. I didn't leave with a single disappointment. Shaun and Philip really did Fleming’s ideas an incredible justice. The course curated an extraordinary line-up of thinkers, writers and do-ers, interweaving them all into a compelling 8 weeks journey of deep thought and bonanza of possibility. What a privilege it was to spend 8 weeks with all these great minds, absorbing, and sharing our visions of the future. I am inspired, and in awe, and eternally grateful to all that contributed. I joined, and left this course knowing there are most certainly dark times ahead, but I have never felt so equipped to deal with them. The course was undoubtedly worth every penny. I really appreciated the modest fee, without which I wouldn’t have been able to participate. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this course.

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5 star rating

A really thought provoking and inspiring course

Cathy Hearne

This course has provided me with a really good picture of the human predicament and a valuable network to help support me on my path for survival into the future. The webinars, required readings and other recommended content have been fascinating ...

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This course has provided me with a really good picture of the human predicament and a valuable network to help support me on my path for survival into the future. The webinars, required readings and other recommended content have been fascinating and educational. This course has also helped to give me focus, support and comfort during this challenging time. It has been an honour to be on this course and I hope to participate in more online courses with this college in the future. Thank you to all the teachers and other participants for this fantastic journey.

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5 star rating

My Deep Gratitude

Kira Janelle

Thank you for this class. It was such a pleasure, I'm not sure I can call it a class - more like a book club with really cool people! All the speakers were excellent and dovetailed with Fleming's work perfectly. Even though it delved into a very p...

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Thank you for this class. It was such a pleasure, I'm not sure I can call it a class - more like a book club with really cool people! All the speakers were excellent and dovetailed with Fleming's work perfectly. Even though it delved into a very painful, overdue reckoning of the world, it also provided a beacon of hope and clarity. I hope this class will be held in the future. As we can see from the recent protests, there are many people in the world who are waking up, and would benefit from such profound guidance.

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Got a question?

Contact the School of the New American Farmstead directly to inquire about this course or others.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does this course work?

    This course is designed to offer a balance of flexibility and interactive opportunities for participants. Broken down into weekly content, with weeks running from Monday-Sunday, each week will contain a mix of readings, videos, audio recordings, discussion forums, and live webinars.

  • How often will there be live webinars?

    The course features two webinars per week--one with Shaun and Philip and another with different internationally-recognized experts each week.

  • Who are the internationally recognized experts?

    We are thrilled to be joined by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Rob Hopkins, Kate Raworth, Martin Kirk, Lucy Neal, Nate Hagens, Richard Heinberg, and Vandana Shiva as special guests in our live webinars.

  • When will the live webinars be scheduled?

    In an effort to accommodate participants from as many time zones as possible and to work within reason for the instructors (Philip/Eastern US and Shaun/Western Europe) most live webinars are scheduled for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays beginning at 12PM Eastern US/5PM Western Europe. There are some exceptions to those times, and all webinars will be recorded and available to course participants.

YOUR FACILITATORS

Philip Ackerman-Leist

Dean of Professional Studies

Philip Ackerman-Leist is the Dean of Professional Education and The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College, featuring onsite and online courses that inspire artisan skills and lifelong environmental stewardship for adult students of all ages. Philip is also the author of A Precautionary Tale, Rebuilding the Foodshed, and Up Tunket Road, all published by Chelsea Green Publishing. He farmed and taught at Brunnenburg Castle & Agricultural Museum in the Italian Alps before going to Green Mountain College in Vermont, where he was Professor of Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems at Green Mountain College and established the first online graduate program in Sustainable Food Systems in the U.S. He manages a grass-based herd of rare breed cattle, American Milking Devons, on his home farm in Pawlet, Vermont.

Shaun Chamberlin

Shaun Chamberlin has been involved with the Transition Network since its inception, co-founding Transition Town Kingston and authoring the movement’s second book, The Transition Timeline. He was also one of Extinction Rebellion’s first arrestees, chair of the Ecological Land Co-operative, and has spoken at venues from Occupy camps to parliaments. In exploring the cultural narratives charting society’s course, he has written and edited diverse publications, including drawing together Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival, and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy from the work of his late mentor David Fleming. He is also executive producer of the new film The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation? His website is www.darkoptimism.org.