The first Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures were delivered in 1981 by Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, and Hazel Henderson. They emphasized the importance of vibrant regional economies at a time when the focus of the nation was on an expanding global economy.
Much has happened since then. The promise of the global economy has faded in face of ever greater wealth disparity and environmental degradation. There is growing interest in building a new economy that is just and recognizes planetary limits. Schumacher speakers have been at the forefront of this movement.
This year's Lectures are titled: Cattle and Kelp: Agriculture in a New Economy
Bren Smith, Executive Director of GreenWave and owner of Thimble Island Oyster Co, has pioneered the development of restorative 3D ocean farming. His farming model is designed to restore ocean ecosystems, mitigate climate change, and create blue-green jobs for fishermen while ensuring healthy, local food for communities.
In the 1960's, while working on the interrelated problems of increasing poverty and disappearing wildlife, Allan Savory made a breakthrough in understanding what was causing the degradation and desertification of the world’s grassland ecosystems. He went on to develop the resource management methodology he named “holistic management.” Since then thousands of land, livestock and wildlife managers have been able to reverse land degradation in a manner that makes, rather than costs, money. In 2009, Savory formed the Savory Institute, which focuses on restoring the world's grasslands and facilitating the realization of enduring returns for the land and all who depend on it.