Folk School Redefined: The Homestead Atlanta

| 9/4/2015 8:28:00 AM

Tags: folk schools, urban homesteading, traditional skills, Darby Weaver, Georgia,

A World Disconnected

Looking through the activities of my daily life, it is almost unbelievable how many gadgets and gizmos I rely on to function.  From the alarm that sounds at 4:30 AM to get me to market, to the little smart phone that keeps my business in order and connects me almost magically to the network of human beings invested in my wares and offerings.  Many of these items do what they do without my awareness of how they do it; they were made somewhere I’ve never been and the process of their manufacture, for all I know, is done by a room full of wizards. 

This sense of groundlessness associated with key tools in daily life is even more prominent in urban environments.  An accelerated evolution of technology, centralizing of powers, profits, and production, and the inconceivably complex system of capital we use to hold it all together exacerbates society’s addiction to convenience.  With 80 percent of the population living in cities, humans are more vulnerable than ever before and that nagging feeling of discontent has spurred some into action.

Folk and Homesteading Schools

It is the idea behind Folk or Homesteading Schools to reintroduce us to the wisdoms and craftsmanship of our ancestors.  There was a time, not so long ago,  that a community of individuals had to work together to survive, dividing up tasks and trades to cover all bases.  Creative expression was rooted in purpose; beautiful handmade tools, clothes, and comforts were of the highest quality and held within them the intention of the caring hands that manifest them into being.  Modern day Folk Schools have a difficult line to toe between being centers for educating those who will reestablish personal resiliency in our communities and simply being a place for nostalgia, another distraction from the difficult times we face.


The Homestead Atlanta

One Folk School making prosperous strides in restoring empowerment in human communities is doing so in a challenging setting.  The Homestead Atlanta was founded 2 and half years ago by Kimberly Coburn in the enormous International city of Atlanta, Georgia.  Coburn saw in her own life and in the lives of those around her the ways that individuals had been forced to cede control over their own existence.  The immense diversity in cultures, life experiences, and perspectives further divided and separated communities and avenues for sharing were difficult to come by.  Through The Homestead Atlanta’s partnership with Georgia Organics, Coburn has facilitated hundreds of workshops all over the city in an attempt to open that avenue of community and communication and restore a sense of resilience among the people of Atlanta.


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