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New Local Back-to-Basics School Without Walls Seeks Instructors

Written By Editor on 11/6/17 | 11/6/17

The Grindstone Center for Sustainable Living is a grassroots, community-based school without walls developing workshops on sustainable, back-to-basics living. The workshops will be based at instructors’ locations across Schoharie County and will allow students to unite information with experience by learning through onsite, hands-on participation. The workshops will be presented by local subject experts—farmers, artisans, and other knowledgeable folks.

When asked why she created The Grindstone Center for Sustainable Living, founder Cathleen Berry had five reasons:

FOOD
According to feeding
america.org, the estimated number of food-insecure individuals in Scho­harie County is about 3,470. With a population of 31,913, that means almost 11% of our population is food insecure. We can reduce that number by teaching people how to grow their own gardens and preserve the harvest, make their own bread, butter, and baby food, and cook wonderful, healthy meals

LIFESTYLE
Our homesteading skills are disappearing. When was the last time you repaired your chicken coop or made your own basket or quilt? We ingest chemicals for instant cures to minor health issues, instead of opting for natural remedies that might take a little longer to work. We buy harsh cleaning supplies instead of making natural ones, without regard for their impact after we flush them down the toilet or throw their containers in the trash. We want to offer workshops on these skills and more, to encourage a simpler, more wholesome and natural way of life.

PREPAREDNESS
From hurricanes to winter storms, we know weather-related disasters are a part of life. They can wreak havoc on us through power outages, destruction of property, and loss of life. And then there are the technological dangers of today. Recently cited by several reliable news sources, the security firm Symantec is “warning that a series of recent hacker [Dragonfly 2.0] attacks not only compromised energy companies in the US and Europe but also resulted in the intruders gaining hands-on access to power grid operations—enough control that they could have induced blackouts on American soil at will.” How many of us are truly prepared to live without power? We’ll be offering workshops in many facets of living off the grid. Together with the efforts of SALT, OES, and many other organizations in the county, we want Schoharie County to be well-prepared for the next, eventual, disaster to hit us.

TOURISM
It’s a big thing in Scho­harie County, and the Chamber’s tourism committee is working hard to increase tourism here. The Grindstone Center for Sustainable Living wants to contribute to that effort. We’ll be marketing our workshops to surrounding counties. Our goal is to bring in attendees to our workshops who may need gas, meals, and overnight lodging, and while they’re here, take in the multitude of events and activities we have to offer.

INCOME
There’s a lot of practical knowledge in this county. We want to help folks make a little extra money by sharing their expertise. Our instructors will be paid based on the number of students and the length and complexity of the workshop.

The Grindstone Center for Sustainable Living is currently seeking instructors. There is a comprehensive workshop listing on their Facebook page. If you have the skills and/or knowledge to teach one of these classes (or have an idea for a class not listed), download the 2018 Instructor Application and apply. Once enough instructors have been confirmed, a meet-and-greet planning meeting will be held, probably sometime in November. Workshops will begin in April.

Contact Cathleen Berry at cathleenmberry@gmail.com, (518) 815-0819, or message her on Facebook.

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