Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Great Reskilling

Posted by Bel
from Spiral Garden

Something which keeps popping up for me in conversations and community work lately is the term 'reskilling'. And I see it's now part of our new header banner here at the Co-Op blog!

Reskilling is "re-learning the skills that our grandparents took for granted, such as how to use hand tools, how to build our own structures, how to mend and make clothing, how to make our own medicine, how to forage, grow, preserve and store our food."
Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Town movement

The Great Reskilling refers to how society-at-large will be affected by Peak Oil, Climate Change and Economic Crisis in the coming decase or so.

When considering topics for our local Simply Living Workshops, we first identified the people within our community who have these 'old skills'. We then went about planning our workshop series, which includes:

growing food, including climate-specific workshops
food forests
storing and preserving food, including lacto-fermentation
sourdough bread baking
home medicinals
first aid
weaving and fibre crafts
alternative building and energy
crisis comprehension
keeping poultry
home dairying
fermented dairy products
animal husbandry - general
raising and using livestock - from hoof to horn
horse care - basic

Which skills have you learned since reading this blog, or otherwise researching simple living? Which skills do you think we need to add to our list above?


mollymakesdo said...

What a great list, you could add a variety of clothing/sewing related classes. A few that come to mind are
*Stain removal (tried and true treatments that don't come from a bottle in a shop)
*How to do your laundry properly with or without electricity
*Specialty Clothing Care - leather, wool, silk, etc.
*Basic Clothing Repair - closures, split seams, basic patches, hems, handing stitching etc.
*Advance Clothing Repair - replacing entire sections of fabric, advance patching and general clothing re-purposing
*Basic and Advanced Clothing Constructions - reading patterns, altering patterns, darts, seams, interfacing, basic tailoring (good to know to make quality outerwear) etc.
*Shoe Repair
*Shoe Construction - if you can find a willing cobbler in the area

(I wish I was near by - I'd offer my ex-professional costume maker knowledge, I used to teach a lot of this stuff except the shoes construction)

Non-clothing related
*Garden building - raised bed construction, trellis, etc.
*Water storage - natural ways to reduce algae, etc.

dixiebelle said...

From my Urban Homesteading list:

* growing your own organic food (using Permaculture principles), from propagation, seed saving, organic pest solutions, homemade organic fertiliser, composting, soil conditioning, worm farming, container vege's, harvesting, bush tucker, culinary and medicinal herbs, and more...

* preserving, esp. the food you have grown, including dehydrating, canning (in jars), making preserves, jam and pickles, fermenting and smoking

* raising backyard animals, from worm farms, to chickens, rabbits or maybe even a goat, as well as bees, and fish

* making your own: food from 'scratch' - including yoghurt, labna and cheese; beer, wine and other beverages; bread, crackers and pasta

* making your own: clothes, homewares and presents - from knitting, to sewing, to crochet, spinning & dying wool, felting, reconstructing; woodworking, craft and many more

* making your own: soap, toiletries and beauty products - such as skin care, and hair care
making your own: herbal and medicinal remedies, and gaining the huge amount of knowledge to use them safely

* cleaning, and housekeeping, using homemade natural cleaning agents, and homegrown/ home made tools, plus pest control, equipment repair and maintenance

* first aid, camping and bush

* survival skills

* frugal living - being resourceful, making do, meal planning and using up leftovers

Oh, so much to learn, or find others who know things you don't!

Bel said...

Molly - great ideas, we haven't looked at clothing at all yet! We did do several types of garden constructing in a food growing workshop early this year, it was very popular and one we should repeat when the weather's nice again!

Dixie - thanks for the list! We've covered a lot of the first half of your list, but not much of the second half... Great ideas for us to carry on with over the coming year! said...

Other skills to learn/reskill is how to properly sharpen, saws, planes, axes, knives, hoes, etc and how to make/replace the handles when you break them, because you will.

Tool maintenance when oil becomes too expensive or is not available, what do you do or use.

How to cut firewood using axes, wedges, sledges and saws.

I am just learning how to do some of these things and it is an adventure, but satisfying, fixing and using old tools sitting in the garage.


gardenlore said...

You might also consider shelter maintenance (roof-patching, basic plumbing, that kind of thing) and one that's at the top of my list: bicycle maintenance and repair.

Heather Woollove said...

Felting garments and structure coverings (like for yurts).

Bel said...

Great ideas! gardenlore, we have a bicycle repairer/builder within our community - that's going on the list! Thanks everyone, keep those ideas rolling in. And I hope this post and the comments help others identify some reskilling goals of their own! Don't let these become totally forgotten arts/skills.

Liz said...

Learning to barter skills - when I was unable to take care of my garden, a gardener friend came and did some work on mine for me in return for some homemade cake and jam.