Archive for November 17th, 2008

News and Winter Classes

Sharon November 17th, 2008

Hi Folks - First, I want to apologize in advance - the next couple of weeks will be much less post-full than usual.  I’m headed off to Boston for a few days of mixed business and pleasure on Thursday, and will be posting occasionally from the road.  Eric and the kids will be coming up to join me for Thanksgiving early next week, and the tryptophan will probably get me a bit ;-) . So expect things to be a little slower than usual.  And apologies if you try to reach me and don’t hear back for a few days.  I’m not ignoring you, just in transit.

 I do want to let you all know that I do plan to run a series of classes this winter, and I thought I’d let you know the schedule and open the first one for registration (unless you are registering simultaneously for one or both of the later classes, I’d ask that you not send in payment/registration for the later two classes quite yet, since I get confused easily - I promise, I’ll announce registration for those very soon). 

All classes are taught online, and you don’t have to be online at any particular time.  While there are “class days” when I’m devoting myself to the class, you are free to read material and ask questions/participate whenever it is convenient for you.  All classes include one 15 minute scheduled personal phone call (assuming you want one - some people elect not to have one) to explore any questions you don’t want to ask in the group, or just to get to know one another.  Phone calls usually take place in the evenings (EST) on the class days, but things can be worked out for those who can’t do those times or who are many time zones away. 

Ok, class schedules and information. In January, I’ll be teaching “Food Storage and Preservation” a class I’ve taught several times before, and the subject of my current book project _Independence Days_.  This time, the class will cover all the usual materials - building up a reserve of foods, managing and organizing it, preserving of all types, special dietary needs, etc…  but will also have as an emphasis community level food security - ways you can make not just yourself, but your community more food secure.  Half of each week will focus on setting up your personal reserves and getting comfortable with different methods of food preservation, while the second half of each week will take the approach that all of us become more secure if other people besides us have food.  We’ll talk about how to talk to our neighbors about food security and introduce the topics into our community, how we might make use of existing resources like coops and facility kitchens, ideas for teaching food storage and security in your community, handouts and resources, and how to integrate food preservation and storage into the idea of local eating.  This class will be useful to people who are just beginning to set up their food storage, those who don’t have a lot of room for food storage, and will rely on community food security, and those who want to take a next step and make their locality more food secure. 

Class will meet every Tuesday and Thursday from January 6-29.  Cost is $125, and I do have a few spots for low income folks, so email me if you would like one.  In the past a few kind souls have donated additional spots for those in need - if you’d like to offer a scholarship, email me.  Enrollment is limited to 30.  You can send payment to me through paypal at [email protected] or by check to Sharon Astyk PO Box 342 Delanson, NY 12053.

There are two more forthcoming classes, and I’m very excited about these.  Both will be a new structure and format and I think offer some really exciting new material.  I’m going to be teaching two classes with Aaron Newton, and Aaron will be bringing his design skills, his knowledge and his sense of humor to the project in ways that will be deeply enriching and wonderful.

 In February, Aaron and I will be teaching “Garden Planning and Design” as everyone starts thinking seriously about planting season.  Aaron is a landscape architect by profession, as well as my co-author of _A Nation of Farmers_ and also lives in North Carolina, so he’ll have a perspective on warm climate gardening and design issues that I don’t.  Our collaborations have always been very fruitful, and I think this class is going to be straight out wonderful.  Our goal is to help people make maximum use of the space they have, whether small city lot or rooftop or as Monty Python put it “huge tracts of land” ;-) .  We’ll consult on what to grow, where to grow it, and how to create gardens that aren’t reliant on garden centers and unsustainable resources.  I’m very excited about this class.  We’ll start taking reservations for this class shortly.

And in March, I’m going to teach “Adapting In Place” again, only this time, Aaron will again bring his astounding design and architectural skills to the project of making do with what you have, where you are.  I think the class will be richer and better for it - Aaron and I have both been working on making our respective places into the right places to adapt and weather coming changes, and we think that our combined experience will be really helpful to people now coming up against the reality that a lot of us are going to stay where we are.  Again, I think both classes will be wonderful - I learned a lot when I taught the AIP class this summer, and it was literally a life-changing experience for me and for some of my students.  With Aaron participating, I think it can only be better.

I’m really looking forward to teaching again this spring, and I hope some of you will be able to participate.  And, as always, if you don’t want to participate in the classes, don’t worry - each class will include several blog posts that allow people to follow along here as well. 

 You can register for the food storage class by sending me an email to [email protected].  If you do plan to take more than one of the classes, you can let me know about that when you email - otherwise, I’m taking reservations for just food storage at this point, but will open all the other classes for registration in early December.