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Urban education classes: Homestead Atlanta

Hand carved salt cellars (all photos courtesy of Homestead Atlanta)

Hand carved salt cellars (photos courtesy of Homestead Atlanta)

If you build it, they will come.

Or at least that’s what Kimberly Coburn hoped when she began Homestead Atlanta, a new urban educational program teaching the “lost arts.”

Modeled after the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, Homestead Atlanta offers a variety of classes that it says will help people “reconnect with forgotten heritage skills and explore innovative sustainable living sources.” Think mushroom cultivating, organic gardening, cheesemaking, hand spinning, metalsmithing.

An ad copy writer by day, Coburn also started Crop Mob Atlanta, a group that calls themselves “wannabe farmers” and come together to work on local farms. Coburn explained her decision to start both Crop Mob and Homestead, “I’m not naturally an organizer, but if I want to do something and it’s not here, there must be others that want it too.”

She approached Georgia Organics and forged a pilot partnership program. As the fiscal sponsor, Georgia Organics offers its members discounts on classes offered at Homestead Atlanta.

Instructors come from as far as North Carolina to share their passion for their subject matter. Coburn says they take a Montessori approach: You don’t come to class to make something. Rather, you acquire a skill by making something.

Homestead Atlanta’s classes began last month and early favorites have included wooden salt cellar carving and a class on fermentation, which covers items like kimchee, sourdough and mead.

Fermentation class

Fermentation class

Classes range from $30-$45 (plus supply costs for some). Locations vary by class but have included Bella Cucina and The Indie-pendent.

Future plans may bring a dedicated space and access to tools that individuals can’t afford, like a floor loom. Coburn says she’d also like to develop tracks so that folks can pursue their passions at multiple levels.

So, what will it be? Home brewing? Vinegar canning? Food forestry?

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

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