This annual spring event brings people together to learn practical skills in hands-on classes focused on housing, clothing, and feeding ourselves in a world without fossil fuels. In addition to dozens of classes taking place over two days, we will also have a social aspect: camping, meals, a documentary screening, and perhaps music. This event will happen June 1–2, 2019 in Cooksville, Wisconsin. This will be the pilot year of what we hope will be an annual festival of classes related to sustainability, DIY, hands-on, and individual or community self-sufficiency.
Some classes are an hour and others can take up the whole weekend. The list of classes below have been confirmed and may expand through the end of January. At that time a schedule will be announced and registration will open in early February.
Backyard Permaculture, $60 (+5 materials fee)
Learn how to integrate small scale changes to your home and garden to make a more sustainable landscape without breaking the bank. Bring along photos or a diagram of your property, and go home with your own designs for a sustainable yard! Instructor: Hawthorn McCracken
Creating Sacred Space, $40
In our busy and hectic lives, we often do not take time to care for ourselves or our spiritual health. In this course, we will discuss ways in which one can integrate spiritual practices, ethical living, and sacred spaces into daily life. Central to this is creating time and space to give thanks to our home and the land that sustains us — by working to improve the landscape, we also heal ourselves. This class is LGBTQIA* affirming. Instructor: Hawthorn McCracken
Eco-Dye Workshop, $80 (+$10 materials fee)
Allow Nature to mark its beauty on cloth. Using leaves, flowers, plants, vegetable skins, as well as rusty bits, each participant will place, steam and dye cloth. The results are stunning! The instructor will provide sample pieces of cloth and one silk scarf for dying/printing to take home with you. Instructor: Kelly Larson, Living Arts Studio
Sat. 1:00–5:00 p.m.: Dying
Spoon Carving, $140/day (+$10 materials fee)
Learn to carve spoons, butter spreaders, and other small useful items using a slyod knife and carving axe in this series of courses over the whole weekend. Instructor will provide wood and tools but you may bring your own, too. You will be able to take home what you’ve carved as well as information about purchasing your own tools. Instructor: Tom Bartlett, sylvaspoon.com
Sat. 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.: Carving with a sloyd knife (the basic techniques) AND
Sat. 1:00–5:00 p.m.: Butter spreader carving (continues from morning) $140
Sun. 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.: Introduction to axe carving AND
Sun. 1:00–5:00 p.m.: Carving continues (continues from previous classes) $140
Wonders of Wool, $120 (+$40 materials fee)
Beginning Spinning on a Drop Spindle For thousands of years, peoples throughout the world have spun fiber for clothing, rope, and countless other uses. In Europe and the Middle East, the most common fiber for textiles and clothing was wool, spun into yarn on a drop spindle and then woven into fabric. Unlike the spinning wheel which was developed in the 15th Century, drop spindles are an inexpensive, portable means of spinning everything from fine fabrics to rug yarns. In this class you will learn the basics of using a drop spindle to create a “singles” yarn and then plying two singles together to produce a functional yarn that can be knitted, crocheted, or woven into a finished object. Instructor will provide you with spindles and 4 oz. of wool, both of which go home with you. Instructor: Holin Kennen, the Dancing Lamb
Sat. 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.: Spinning on the spindle AND
Sun. 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.: Plying into yarn (continues from previous class)
Save Your Own Seed and other Considerations, $20 (+$10 materials fee)
Each year our plants make seeds and other means to reproduce themselves. By learning to save your own seeds through separation, drying, fermenting, and other processes, we can save many of our favorite plants and put our fingers on the evolutionary scale. In this workshop, we’ll learn about saving seeds and practice processing some samples. Students will take home five seed packets. Instructor: Clint Freund
Introduction to Sharpening Knives and Tools, $40
Learn to sharpen your knives, chisels, and scissors by hand on a variety of stones and mediums. Throw away those cheap, store-bought guides and jigs, come explore the world of sharpness, leaving with knives sharper than you’ve ever had and the knowledge to put a fine edge on them whenever you like with the just the skill in your hands. We’ll cover regrinding, straightening, honing and stropping, and cleaning and restoring an abused blade. We’ll also discuss blade types and edge geometry as well as hand methods in comparison with sharpening “tools” and grinders. Bring your own knives to sharpen. Instructor: Todd Fleming, Fox Wedge Woodworking
Tackling Invasive Plants, $60
Invasive plants are a pervasive problem across Wisconsin, impacting our natural areas and even human health. At this workshop, learn how to identify, map, and manage invasive plants as we work to remove invasive plants from a local property. We’ll cover identification of both common and new invasive plants in the area and provide identification resources. Mapping tools and tips will help you learn how to approach mapping invasive plants to help develop a management plan. We’ll also discuss different management techniques and species-specific management options.
Sat. 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.: Commons Oak Grove, $60
Sat. 1:00–4:00 p.m.: Residential Yard, $60
Chainsaw Basics, $20
An up close and personal discussion of the common chainsaw with a local arborist. Course will highlight chainsaw safety, basic maintenance and proper chainsaw use. Instructor: Kyle Mallon, Mallon Tree Service
T.B.A.: Commons Oak Grove
Mushroom Inoculation and Growing, $20 (+ materials fee)
Attendees are invited to assist and learn the process for inoculating hardwood logs. Materials fee covers a log for you to bring home. Instructor: Rae West
T.B.A.: Inoculating Logs with Shiitake Spawn
T.B.A.: Inoculating Woodchips with Winecap Spawn
Introduction to Wild Foods, $60
Through a plant walk to identify edible plants, we’ll talk about seasonal availability and taste some wild foods. Instructor: Melody Karklin Knudson
Kids will have the opportunity to learn in age-appropriate educational programming while their parents are in their own classes. We’re excited to have Andrea Fourness, an experienced educator from the Deciduous Learning Network, to head up this segment of the skill share. Kids will visit various classes to see what is being taught and complete small projects, such as planting in a garden, visiting our local oak grove, and more.
Kids will likely be split into age groups (3–6 and 7–12 years old) with an appropriate number of adults to help facilitate their day. We ask that kids be at least three years old, able to feed themselves and toilet trained. Meals are included for kids and they can eat with the group or their parents (please specify omnivore, vegetarian/vegan, and any diet restrictions). Each morning or afternoon session costs $35.
Sat. 9:00 a.m.–12/1:00 p.m. (includes lunch with parents or group)
Sat. 1:00–5:00 p.m. (includes dinner with parents)
Sun. 9:00 a.m.–12/1:00 p.m. (includes lunch with parents or group)
Sun. 1:00–5:00 p.m. (does not include dinner)
Meals at the event will be catered by Wendigo, a family-owned restaurant in nearby Stoughton., Wisconsin. Wendigo is well-known in the area for partnering with local farmers to get their produce and proteins with which they make incredibly tasty food. We’re excited to be working with them on this event, but you can get a sneak peek of what you’re in for ahead of time: https://www.wendigostoughton.com/
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available Friday dinner through Sunday lunch on site. Omnivore and vegetarian/vegan options will be available, but do let us know about any specific needs or allergies in the comments when you register. Meals can be purchased individually but a discount is offered for the whole day or weekend. We encourage you to purchase your meals ahead of time as a courtesy to the Wendigo staff, and a limited amount of day-of meals may be purchased (subject to availability and a slightly increased price).
You are asked to bring your own reusable plate or bowl and utensils as we are a low-waste event (washing stations will be available). Thank you for helping us keep things sustainable.
Breakfast: $10 (Vegetarian/Vegan)
Lunch: $12 (Ominvore, V/V)
Dinner: $15 (O, V/V)
Three Square Meals: $32
Whole Weekend: $60
Camping and Lodging
Coming soon, but in short, tent camping spots will be available on a green lawn in Cooksville. The Cooksville Farmhouse Inn will have a shared farmhouse available for up to eight people for Friday and Saturday night. Air BnB may have local beds available and hotels in nearby Stoughton and Evansville are also available.
Portable restrooms will be available as well as a limited number of indoor bathrooms.
This section will be expanded soon.
Cell signal is weak in Cooksville except for US Cellular customers. WiFi is available at the institute, across the street from the commons.
We’re looking for volunteers for the event. Volunteers will get a free or discounted entrance fee. Some tasks can be completed before the event. Contact email@example.com to be added to the volunteer list.
And if you’re already excited about this event, check out our friends at the Wisconsin Permaculture Convergence, held every fall.