Homesteading Education Month Successes: A Permaculture Gathering and Homesteading Conference

Reader Contribution by Jennifer Kongs
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The first International Homesteading Education Month is underway. We’ve heard from several event hosts that their events were great successes and that there are already plans to hold a similar set of activities next year. Below are two reviews — complete with photos — of fun, hands-on learning that took place as part of this worldwide experience. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the listings of homesteading events in your area. There’s still plenty of time to register an event yourself, too, so you can participate in your own community. 

D Acres Permaculture Farm & Education Center 

The 2012 New Hampshire Permaculture Gathering was held Saturday, August 25, 2012, at D Acres Farm in Dorchester, N.H. Co-sponsored by D Acres of NH, NOFA-NH, Central NH Permaculture Group, and Greater Seacoast Permaculture Group, the event was an exciting success with over 75 people in attendance from around the nation. Low clouds early in the day seemed to suggest rain, but the weather held off and participants were not waylaid. By mid-morning the farm tour of D Acres Permaculture Farm & Education Center had grown to quite the throng, full of interest, enthusiasm and probing questions as to the inspiring development of D Acres’ permaculture homestead model. D Acres staff served a farm-fresh lunch midday, provided from the farm’s many gardens. 

The afternoon offered an outstanding array of skill-sharing workshops and hands-on learning from practitioners around the state. Topics covered included: Intro to Permaculture; Composting; Buidling Soil Fertility; Intro to Beekeeping; Hand-Hewing Skills; Bread-Baking; and Soap-Making. A potluck dinner and music by the Goodhues Band capped off the evening. We look forward to building on the momentum of this event and furthering the permaculture movement within New Hampshire and New England. 

Mid-America Homesteading Conference 

More than 50 people from five different states came together at Joliet Junior College’s Conference Center on Sept. 1 to take part in the first Mid-America HomesteadingConference. During each of the six-hour sessions, people chose between three different topics, such as composting, pastured pork, canning, solar energy, beekeeping, natural home dairy, making herbal tinctures, and more.

From speakers to attendees, everyone came away energized and motivated and looking forward to next year. One person told conference organizers at the end of the day, “I’d register for next year right now if I could!”

When asked on the evaluation forms which sessions were their favorite, many participants stated that they enjoyed them all and couldn’t choose.

One of the favorite speakers was Cathy Lafrenz of Miss Effie’s Country Flowers in Donahue, Iowa, who spoke on gardening, canning and marketing your homestead business.

On Sunday, a post-conference goat workshop was held at Antiquity Oaks Farm in Cornell, Ill. The hands-on workshop was limited to 10 participants who learned about basic goat care, housing, fencing, health, nutrition, how to administer medicine, breeding, birthing, milking, cheese making, soap-making, and more.

Plans are already underway for next year’s conference. A half-day pre-conference canning workshop and full-day cheesemaking workshop are being considered. 

Jennifer Kongsis the Managing Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine. When she’s not working at the magazine, she’s likely working in her garden, on the local running trails or in her kitchen instead. You can find Jennifer on Twitteror .