Gearing up for Florida EarthSkills

I consider myself a gatherings veteran. I went to Rainbow gatherings back in the early 90’s, and at least a dozen Pagan gatherings and a hundred SCA events since then. So I thought I would know what to expect when I arrived at the Florida Earthskills gathering last year. For the most part, I was right. There was a wide range of great classes, fun entertainment in the evenings, people in creative costumes, and general gaiety. What set Earthskills apart from every other gathering I have ever been to was the focus on hands-on work. Everywhere I looked there were people making useful things or learning how to make useful things- basket-weaving, rope-making, weaving, hand-built pottery from clay they had just dug out of the ground. There was some administrative, community-building, philosophical stuff too, but the strong emphasis was not just in learning useful skills but actually *doing* them. That resonated with me harder than any gathering had in a long time. I harvested vines and made baskets, I went on long hikes and learned edible plant identification, watched folk singers, swapped oranges from my house for all kinds of little crafts, plants, and seeds, and got to observe (and use!) a composting toilet system. I had an absolute blast.
This year I wanted to contribute, but not teach (yet!). There were people there last year with plants and seeds to swap, but not many. Plants, gardening, farming, permaculture, and medicinal herbs are such a huge part of what Earthskills is all about that I wanted to encourage that more, so I volunteered to organize a seed swap. I’m inviting the visiting teachers from around Florida will bring seeds and maybe even plants for the swap, too. I’m not only looking forward to getting great seeds to add to the garden, but also finally meeting so many people I’ve only communicated with online. Will you be there?

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