Nicole Vosper

Nicole Vosper is a permaculture designer, gardener and community organizer based in Somerset, UK. She came to Gaia University having avoided the traditional university system; her life experience had made her realise that life is too short to dedicate energy to anything she is not 100% passionate about. From the age of ten Nicole's dominant life interest has been working to end animal exploitation, a journey which has taken her around the world and to prison and back. In prison, however, she was given the opportunity to complete a permaculture design course via distance learning while working in the prison gardens.

This experience completely changed her life and perspective, and Nicole now seeks to integrate her passions for animal and human liberation with permaculture design and wider land use practices. Ultimately realizing that how we relate to the land shapes all of our social relations, Nicole's research interests are now orientated around how we can establish ecologically and socially beneficial systems without exploitation.

In her accelerated Bachelors Nicole is focusing on developing her family's smallholding into a permaculture education center and resilient ecosystem. She has explored her work as an organizer in local community food movements, learning from peasant movements in the Global South about food sovereignty and farmer-to-farmer models of spreading agroecology techniques. She is also exploring the liberation permaculture framework and the wider practices of regenerative land use and design, to give her the baseline set of skills she needs to be an effective designer and organizer.

Before Gaia University, Nicole worked in social care, as a Youth Editor for Positive News and as a full-time grassroots organizer for numerous campaigns. Despite dropping out of college she never lost her love of learning, instead she focused on learning by doing and studying occasional part-time courses with the Open University. Now with Gaia University she has finally found a system of self-education with a network of support, from all four corners of the globe. No longer do her projects have to be sidelined, instead they can take center stage as they become the focus of her learning.

Nicole works part-time for a local food charity, Somerset Community Food, supporting groups to bring more land into community food production and is an organizer with Transition Glastonbury and Reclaim the Fields, working on all levels to reclaim the food system. She is also crafting a livelihood, Wild Heart Permaculture, offering design services and convening courses.

"I have never felt so liberated in my life until I started with Gaia University and realized that I was completely responsible for my own learning. The fact that I can design my pathway completely around my own desires, projects and commitments to changing this world has been the ultimate empowerment. No longer does study have to feel like a distraction from everything else I want to do, now I can be supported by a worldwide community to maximize the effectiveness of my work and focus energy on the most important areas of my life.

Nothing is devalued and learning can be harvested from everything in your life - from your reading to your relationships, the entire time you are on your Gaia University path you are supported to reflect, design and take action to leverage the positive impact of your pathway. I would encourage anyone who finds the traditional education system in their country disempowering, or oppressive, or limiting to their creativity in any way to consider taking a leap into the world of Gaia University. Life is too short to focus your energy on anything that you do not 100% hold in your heart. This is why I have chosen this pathway, one of the best decisions I have ever made."