Rizoma Field School in the news

regen ag podcast


“In this episode of The Regenerative Real Estate Podcast, Ashley tells a gripping narrative of what led her to Uruguay, the hardships encountered, and the endeavors she has taken on. From raising a family to starting the Rizoma Field School, Ashley’s story is nothing short of extraordinary. Through her lived experience of regeneration, Ashley helps to put the pieces together on how sustainability is couched within social systems that can be drivers for positive change and transformation.”


Damn the Absolute! Podcast

Ep. 8 Embracing Subsistence Agriculture During the Collapse of Industrial Capitalism with Ashley Colby

Jeffrey Howard speaks with Ashley Colby, a sociologist and author of Subsistence Agriculture in the United States: Reconnecting to Work, Nature, and Community (2020). She earned her PhD focusing on environmental sociology from Washington State University in 2018. She is currently pursuing research projects based in Uruguay, where she has recently founded Rizoma Field School for experiential learning in the area of sustainability and agroecology. She is a new member of the Executive Board of the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI) based in North America.


New Dream - More of What Matters

Solutions to the Pandemic Are Hiding in Plain Sight

“I implore you, reader: the solutions we’re looking for do not need to be imagined from scratch, and they should not come from those who built the system that got us here. The people of the Global South, and less privileged communities in the Global North, have developed this livelihood (in many cases) for centuries, and have worked through iterations of success and failure. If we can stop seeing them as people to be taught, and instead as people who have something to teach us, we may just find the future we’ve been looking for.”




Rizoma Field School was used as a case study in a report (below) sponsored in part by the UN Environment Program’s 10 year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns. We are featured alongside the likes of the American company Patagonia, Costa Rica’s biodiversity law, and Keyna’s Green Belt Movement. What an honor!

Our full case study can be found on page 134 of the Annex, and we are featured on page 27 of the main report.

“Sustainable lifestyles policy and practices: Challenges and a way forward”


Initiated by an American family who immigrated to rural Uruguay in order to demonstrate the possibility of living a life of high wellbeing in harmony with nature, the Rizoma Field School was established to pair ideas with experiences in order to facilitate meaningful long-term changes in thinking and behaviour of undergraduate students. The ultimate goal is for students to leave Rizoma not indoctrinated with philosophies, but with an intellectual and experiential toolkit with which to take to their part of the world and their life’s work. Rather than viewing the Global North as a model for the rest of the world to follow, the Rizoma Field School aims to demonstrate that many of the answers to living sustainably can be found in the Global South.”


The long term goal for the growth of Rizoma Field School is the export of this model of education and activism. It plans to develop a highly replicable template that can be shared horizontally through a network of organisations also looking to develop a sustainable future, in both the Global South and the North. The proposed means to achieve this is via fostering partnerships with other individuals working in this area to develop such a model. In the near term the school aims to work with other organizations working toward regenerative futures.”



Rizoma Field School was covered for the WSU Sociology Department News. See article below.

“PhD candidate starts Uruguay site for sustainable living, learning”

“‘It’s just so apparent that people need expertise beyond really technical and specific knowledge bases,” Colby Fitzgerald said.

“They really need to be able to think in a multifaceted way—and experiential learning really helps with that and emphasizes local knowledge.”

The Rizoma Field School hosted their first group of students from the University of Idaho last year and are in talks with the Office of International Programs to host a group from WSU in Spring 2019.”


Millinium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere – Stanford University

Co-director of Rizoma Field School, Ashley Colby, wrote this article for Stanford University-based organization MAHB, whose work focuses on organizations and individuals working in the area of solutions to environmental problems.

Rizoma Field School: Practicing Resilience in a Latin American Context

I was sitting in grad school class and my mind was seven thousand miles away – thinking of a plot of land I bought with my husband in Uruguay, hoping for a future there. As I daydreamed, the discussion in my Environmental Sociology class turned to risk society theory[i]. The theory goes that our global society is faced with multiple overlapping risks, and on top of it we don’t trust the science that is produced to help us understand and cope with the risk. The solution? Citizen science. Make your own knowledge, and share it. Read More


Rizoma Field School: Practicing Resilience in a Latin American Context

We picked Uruguay to settle for multiple overlapping reasons all related to stability: of climate, politics, resources both human and natural. The people of Uruguay hold extensive embedded knowledge about how to live with less, well. Resources like electricity and consumer goods are expensive in Uruguay when compared with the U.S.; so a culture of recycling, sharing and reduced overall consumption has developed. Despite this, Uruguay is consistently ranked among world nations as having extremely high well-being and happiness[ii]. If any one of the predicted environmental crises turns to collapse[iii], it will be countries like Uruguay that will be well-versed in livelihoods set up not only to survive but to thrive. Based on examples of crisis such as extreme weather events in the U.S. where supermarket shelves quickly empty, it seems Americans may want to explore the lived experiences of other cultures that have made do with less for longer. Read More