Posted in New thinking

The Open College

NSopencollegeFifty years ago in the United Kingdom, they created The Open University.

” With more than 174,000 students enrolled, it is the largest academic institution in the United Kingdom. Since it was founded more than 2 million students have studied the courses.”  [Wikipedia].

Imagine, as we start 2019, if Nova Scotia created The Open College.

What would be the impact on the Nova Scotia Community College? What would be the effect on its relationship to the Gordonstoun Nova Scotia and Kings Edgehill schools?How would this influence the statement by the Principal of the Annapolis Valley campus on the creation of a Centre of Rural Aging and Health at the Middleton site?

Urban Coyote CoverOver the Christmas break, I came across two connections to the Centre for Local Prosperity (CLP). Gregory Heming (Senior Advisor) forwarded to me a copy of his essay, entitled ‘Letter to Wendell Berry’, as well as ‘Conjectures of a Northern Journeyman’, published in Urban Coyote.

From the first essay, Heming notes the following quotation.

” Thomas Merton once remarked that having lost our ability to see life as a whole, to evaluate conduct as a whole, we no longer have any relevant context into which our actions are to be fitted, and therefore all our actions become erratic, arbitrary and insignificant. My work (Heming) intends to promote the importance of community as a discipline of hope, which elevates us to a conduct of wholeness.”

yearRoundVegetableGardenerThe second connection was to discover a reference to the work of Robert Cervelli in the book by Niki Jabbour Year-round Vegetable Gardener. Cervelli (besides his role as Executive Director, CLP) grows vegetables in his cold frame and unheated greenhouse.

Looking forward to 2019, there are two scheduled events at the end of January.

  1. Sensors High and Low: measuring the reality of our world. Workshop at NSCC Centre of Geographic Sciences. January 23-24, 2019
  2. MashUp Weekend: Rural Business Activated. Annapolis Royal Library. January 26, 2019. Supported by AIRO , PeopleWorx and Common Good Solutions.

If we want to establish a Centre for Rural Aging and Health at the NSCC in Middleton, one of the first steps is for the community to define healthy aging for the diverse population of Annapolis County, and beyond. This could be achieved within the larger context of The  Open College.

In conclusion, from the 2019 Annapolis Seeds Growing Calendar (by Owen Bridge, Nictaux) the December entry reads:

“Our region has seen generations of clearcutting, largely exported for pulp, and now for biomass energy. Drive anywhere, and you see forests of crowded conifers, lacking most of the biodiversity they once had. Luckily our bioregion is a very resilient one, and biodiversity can return with more selective and community focused forestry. If policymakers start getting their act together, our great grandchildren might still live amongst a healthy Acadian Forest.”

From my old school friend, Andrew Ronay in England, I have now heard about the University of the Third Age (U3A). Another possible model for Nova Scotia.


To my family and friends. Thank you Edward for the graphics from Florida. And to quote, John DeMont (Chronicle Herald, December 24, 2018).

Home: the place that, more than any other, makes you who you are. That you can never forget.


Niki Jabbour. 2011. Year-round Vegetable Gardener. Storey Publishing.

Gregory Heming. Letter to Wendell Berry. (electronic copy from the author)

Gregory Heming. 2003. Conjectures of a Northern Journeyman. Urban Coyote p.153-162.

John DeMont. Home. Chronicle Herald, December 24,2018

Lawrence Powell. Healthy Aging – NSCC Middleton hopes to make campus Centre of Rural Aging and Health. Annapolis Spectator, December 19, 2018.



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