Who we are:
A network of volunteers committed to building community through earthskills gatherings in NE Ohio. We live all over the NE Ohio region and beyond. Among our group we have farmers, herbalists, builders, healers, teachers and students of all sorts.
Most of the team met each other in 2018, when we came to a meeting at Kelly’s Working Well Farm in response to a Facebook event posted by Red Beet Row education farm. One thing most of us seem to have in common is we are seeking community! Many of our organizers moved to the area recently, or returned to the area after living years away. Many of us were seeking nature-centered community with grassroots social justice in our hearts. We came together over ideas of collective liberation from dominant culture and oppressive practices, towards a vision where all our needs are met sustainably off the land, in community, and humans are free to live intertwined with the natural world.
We are not our own legal organization at this point. We are legally a “project of Kelly’s Working Well Farm,” in Chagrin Falls, which is a democratic education farm teaching children practices and principles of sustainable agriculture, natural building, and social permaculture. It’s like a school for homeschoolers, and the education is kid-directed. The kids decide what they learn next, and also how to deal with disciplinary problems with other kids. It’s pretty cool.
How we get there:
We build community by organizing together. During 2018-2019 our team of 10-20 volunteer organizers put on several fundraisers, community dances, and the big event – a large annual skillshare.
We organized a 3-day weekend Skillshare in August of 2018 and again in 2019. The event drew 200-300 people, including all-volunteer teachers, organizers, work-traders, and paying attendees. We had workshops all day, awesome healthy community meals, dancing and music at night, a tent devoted to the healing arts, natural building demonstrations, overnight camping with cabin options, and more. We redesigned our written language and Morning Circles to aim for an inclusive atmosphere where everyone felt safe and invited to learn. We struggled to keep everything as low cost as possible.
What we found is that our location (different each year, but always in a rural setting) was inaccessible to many people we care about including. What we liked about the setting was the ability to connect with nature, breathe clean air, see the night stars, find wild medicine and mushrooms in the workshops because there were trails with forests established enough to have them, swimming in the lake, and more. But, of course, this is a privileged space. The fact that the natural world has become a privileged space is an immeasurably painful loss to humanity.
We also learned that we were doing too much – the amount of work and stress it took to put on all these events was burning out our all-volunteer team. 2021 is turning into a year for us to regroup, revision, and recruit. We reflect on the ideas and visions that brought us together in the first place, and ask more people to join us.
We think we are still imagining a large multi-day “Reeds & Roots Skillshare” in the summer or fall of 2022, but we are recruiting more organizers and teachers to help shape what that looks like, where it is located, how it is accomplished, or even if it’s a 3-day event at all! We hope to better be on target with our vision.