It has taken me this long to finally get to an EXperimental COmmunity education class, despite months of good intentions. But in a way I’m glad I waited, because I think ‘Some Herbalism‘ will prove to be an excellent example of what grassroots, community driven, and free education can be.
I arrived fifteen minutes late to the first class today due to the silly mistake of thinking the address was ten blocks north of where it actually was. The living room of the class facilitator was entirely PACKED with well over twenty people, mostly young, lots of crusty punk/hipster type kids, everyone enthusiastic and ready to listen and learn. In spite of my developing cynicism for the fate of humanity as a whole (more on this later, it’s unavoidable really), I can’t help but think that we must be in for some sort of positive sea change when you can get a couple of dozen people together on a Thursday afternoon to talk and learn about an essential aspect of alternative and local health care.
The topic of this first class was White Oak Bark tincture, and the facilitator not only harvested twigs and purchased enough vodka for us all to make our tinctures, but created a handout describing proper harvesting, uses of the tincture, and a general step by step explanation of creating any sort of bark tincture. After a relatively brief introduction on the class in general and the tincture preparation specifically, we all got to shaving our bark off our branches and chatting about this, that, and the other. I’m already expecting to make some wonderful acquaintances at the very least as a result of this class.
This class, like all others in the EXCO ‘curriculum’, is free. I don’t think I can say that enough, because while I have the utmost respect for most professors and can potentially see myself becoming one someday, I think true skills sharing in a community cannot have a price. Instead it is rooted in passion and compassion, an authentic desire to share what one loves and knows with others. Though it’s still at least a year away, I am delighted by the prospect of creating a space for this sort of priceless skill sharing and idea generation in the future house that Ben and I will have. Education comes in many forms, all of them valuable.
What kinds of classes would you like to facilitate? What free community classes would you take if they were available?