A 7,000 Acre Classroom

In a little over a year from now, the 25 students taking part in Schumacher College for New Economists will shake out their boots and set foot on Sallie Calhoun’s 7,000 acre Paicines Ranch. Their week at the ranch will include a crash course in impact investing and designing new agricultural models.

When Sallie and her husband first purchased Paicines Ranch in 2001, they intended to lease it out to local San Benito ranchers. Three months into the move their plans changed when Sallie read Allan Savory’s work on holistic management. She was intrigued by the idea that she could dramatically improve the health of her land while at the same time sequestering carbon, improving water retention, and helping to bring back California’s native perennial grasses.

Not one to sit idly by, she soon met with other local ranchers already experimenting with Savory’s methods. During a two-year course with the Holistic Management Institute she visited ranches around the country where Savory’s methods were applied in practice. In her 14 years at Paicines Ranch overseeing a herd of over 2,000 cattle, Sallie has transformed not only the quality of her land and its ability to sequester carbon but also her relationships with other ranchers and the larger public. She now sees the ranch as a ‘giant classroom,’ for the Schumacher Center’s students, but also for farmers, consumers, and urban dwellers alike.

Paicines Ranch is just one stop on the nine-month itinerary of Schumacher College for New Economists. Over the course of the program, they will become grounded in the vital role agriculture and food systems play in a new economy and also in the importance of place-based economic solutions; in how consumption and production are changing in the 21st century; in the changing nature of work, ownership, and the raising of capital; in local currencies and the creation of wealth; in affordable land access for businesses, farmers, and workforce housing; and in how to design solutions not just in but with their communities.

To apply to the College, donate to the scholarship fund, or initiate a process to sponsor a student from your community, go to our website.

Each year, our Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures showcase the best of speakers for a new economy. This year is our 35th anniversary, featuring two innovators in carbon sequestration—Allan Savory, whose work so inspired Sallie Calhoun, and Bren Smith, who is at the forefront of a new wave of sustainable fisherman and ocean farmers.

The lectures take place October 24th in Churchtown, New York. Tickets are limited and may be purchased on our website.