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.



8 Responses to “News and Winter Classes”

  1. Crunchy Chickenon 17 Nov 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Very cool! Have fun in Boston!

  2. karenon 17 Nov 2008 at 7:28 pm

    I can already say I will be in the garden planning class in Feb. Can’t wait and need my dose of “Sharon” on more than the occasional basis. I am moving forward with my life but need to connect with people more than just on a blog.

  3. graceon 17 Nov 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Sharon…will want to participate in the AIP in
    March…but being a late comer, am not sure
    what that means and is that the same class
    fee as the first? And do we reserve a place now? Also…am in New Mexico. So…things
    are different in the Rio Grande Valley South
    Central N Mex. Will this class accomodate
    that? Lots of ??s Thanks, grace
    Maybe, you should just refer me to a past

  4. Sharonon 18 Nov 2008 at 8:20 am

    Hi Grace - The AIP and Garden Planning classes will have a slightly higher cost than the others, because there’s going to be more stuff included - Aaron has a bunch of new things to add. I’ll notify people about the cost and details after Thanksgiving. And yes, we’ll be talking about dry climate gardening, and bringing in some material on that as well.


  5. Julie Masonon 18 Nov 2008 at 8:37 am

    I love your blog, Sharon! Here I was looking out at the first snow on the ground of the season, and in a few short sentences you turn my thoughts to next year’s garden. For a full 60 seconds, I could smell the earth and feel the sunshine. Thank you.


  6. Brendaon 19 Nov 2008 at 9:07 am

    Sharon - You’re killing me! Tell me about a class I want to take, but don’t let me sign up yet… Harrumph! Still, garden construction is going slow, and I haven’t gotten to garden design yet. Maybe I’ll be ready when the class starts :-)

  7. Susieon 19 Nov 2008 at 9:25 am

    Hi Sharon-

    I love your blog! I’m super-interested in both the food storage and garden design classes– what a great thing to do in January. But I have a silly question– what does an online class entail? I can kind of guess, but realized that I’m actually not sure how it works. Thanks!


  8. Sharonon 19 Nov 2008 at 9:38 am

    Hi Susie - There are three parts to the food storage class - the first is an online discussion group where the participants explore the topic o’the day and whatever else is on their minds. Then there are additional blog posts, and the phone discussions. The other two classes will probably also include a design component - ie, help doing garden layout, maybe even some video stuff. Unfortunately, I live out in the boonies, where there’s no wireless service, no cable modem, no nada - so I have been limited to linking to visuals and mostly text only.

    Does that answer your question? If not, let me know!


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