Potluck! Cheesemaking! Handbook! More!

September 20 – Fall Potluck Featuring Friends & Farmers Co-op

Friends & Farmers Cooperative members will be joining us to co-host the fall local foodie potluck – informal, family-friendly get-togethers, sponsored by Spring Creek Homesteading and the Borough of State College Public Works Department – on Thursday, September 20 at 6 p.m. at the State College Borough Building, 243 S. Allen St. Please RSVP so we can keep a count and plan accordingly. (Email  or call 237-0996)

Come on out to share some great food and learn more about the co-op, and how you can get involved in creating a new, local, member-owned grocery store!

October 13 – Cheese-making Workshop With Adam Seitz in Spring Mills

The first fall Spring Creek Homesteading Reskilling Workshop is now open for signups. Home Cheese-Making with Adam Seitz  will be held on Saturday, October 13, from 12 to 4 p.m. at Adam’s home in Spring Mills – address available upon signup. Class size is limited to 8 people. Suggested donation for this class is $12 per person.

Adam writes: “The full cheese-making process takes several days/weeks between culturing, pressing, brining, and waxing, but I am going to shoot to have some blocks at each stage of the progression ready so we can go through each step during the four hours rather than having multiple dates.”

Three other workshops are currently scheduled – awaiting only location confirmation:

  • Beginner Quilting with Mary Ellen McMahon –  Saturday, November 10, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Beginner Meditation – Saturday, December 1, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Making Decorative Apple Elves with Ingrid Fowles – December 8, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Three others are tentative, pending date, time and location confirmation:

  • Building a Top-Bar Bee Hive with Matt Poese and Josh Lambert
  • Making Homemade Sausage with Steve Bookbinder
  • Installing Insulation for Energy Efficiency with Dean Fenton

As soon as I know, I’ll post the details of those workshops and how to sign up.

Reskilling Workshop Program – Retool Underway

I’m adjusting the way the workshop program is organized, partly to reduce the workload on me, and partly to hopefully better match the program structure with the instructors’ planning and teaching habits. Potential instructors often tell me they’re interested, but – like everyone – they’re busy with work and family and life, so it’s hard for them to nail down dates, times and locations, which makes it very difficult to put together and distribute the fliers in a timely way. (I hate nagging!)

To respond to that reality, I’m going to :

  1. coordinate classes on a rolling basis, rather than try to put together an entire quarterly schedule at one time
  2. aim for smaller class size goals (8-10 rather than 15-20) and
  3. have the instructors set and collect the course fees themselves

Plus I’m going to keep searching for other organizations’ homesteading-related offerings – cooking, woodworking, pottery and so forth – and posting links to those at the blog at the Reskilling Workshops page, and circulating those opportunities to my email list, which is approaching 600 addresses, many of whom forward the messages to their own contact lists.

My job via Spring Creek Homesteading will be to:

  • help instructors find venues to teach in, if needed.
  • provide microfunding for supplies, if needed.
  • publicize the classes through the blog/list-serve/community calendars etc.
  • help connect students to teachers for sign-ups.
  • provide liability coverage for the classes under the Spring Creek Homesteading policy.

Right now, I’m trying to follow-up with a few more of the fall instructors and venues, and building a list of all potential instructors that I’ll ping once or twice a month with a reminder about the opportunity to reach and teach the large – and growing – pool of interested Centre Region homesteaders.

If you have a workshop idea and are eager to teach, please email me to sign up for the instructors ping list.

Spring Creek Homesteaders’ Handbook

For the last few weeks, I’ve been working with the big picture information, adding bits, organizing things. My earlier plan was to collate the material in separate topical resource pdfs, to be combined at the end into a kind-of local food system status report. (When I started on that project in July, I also removed the online “Directory” page, but I’ve since put it back up, so online links to regional sustainability-related organizations are there again.)

My revised plan is to create a single Homesteaders’ Handbook, with  the first edition going to print in mid- to late-October, and then doing an update annually to add new information and correct errors. The content includes tangible, physical parts of the local food system, and the target audience is current and prospective urban or suburban homesteaders in Central Pennsylvania, plus local government representatives who see a role for government in promoting public nutrition and food security as part of public health.

Here’s a rough-rough-rough early draft of that handbook:  Homesteaders Handbook 9.9.12 (PDF)

As I keep working on it, as always, reader assistance would be great. Please send in additions, corrections, clarifications, stories and other data if you can.  And, as always, I’m especially interested in what hasn’t worked in projects you’re involved with: where the obstacles have come up and what you’ve been doing to move around those obstacles. That’s extremely useful information – that messy stuff right at the border between what’s now and what’s next.

Other Miscellaneous Fall Happenings

  • Homesteaders Hang-Out: Monthly Saturday morning coffee dates at Websters’ for Centre Region homesteaders and local food folk to get together and share the pleasures and challenges of developing the skills involved in cooking and growing more of our own local food supplies. Here’s a Doodle Poll for the first Homesteaders Hang-Out.
  • Community Cook-Along: Sociable meal prep! Recipe sharing! Local foodie camaraderie! Bring your own recipes, ingredients, supplies, dishes, spouses, children, beer, wine, etc. to a church kitchen and prepare three or four meals at one go, to freeze for later use.  Here’s a Doodle Poll for the first Community Cookalong.
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