I am co-founder of the social enterprise RESEED, which stands for Radical Education in Social Environmental and Entrepreneurship Development.
More than fifteen years ago, when I was doing research on post-apartheid land reform and its effects on rural livelihoods in South Africa, I met many talented women and men working in communities to protect and create healthy, safe, and productive environments. Their visions for the future were bold but also grounded in the context and complex insights gained from experience of their places and regions. I recognised that this was the kind of knowledge and engagement that could never be fully grasped in the classroom.
Together with my South African research collaborators, Laura Yeatman and the late Gerhard Strydom, we designed the Regional Sustainability field-study program that would bring community-based organisations, government agencies, NGOs and university students to exchange ideas, experiences, and views in ways that would shape longer term relationships for creating positive change in the region.
From 2002 to 2015 I successfully ran the program in South Africa while lecturing in Geography at Monash University. In 2013, after more than a decade of successful field trips, current and former students of the programs felt that a new organisation was needed to sustain and grow this radical experience of learning for university students. So, the alumni, led by a core group of students from the 2013 trip, partnered with me to form RESEED.
I am thrilled to partner with alumni of the program to build RESEED as a unique social enterprise that aims to radically change modes of university-based learning and ways of engaging with communities to create flourishing environments and livelihood.