Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

How to share sustainability-oriented skills in workshops?

The owner of the ranch where my son has his riding lessons asked me this morning if I would be up for this challenge. I've doing with her what I do with everybody showing the slightest interest in homemaking, radical or not. Lending books, sharing my experiences and projects, successfull or not, breadmaking, grassfed meat farmers "hunting", gardening, cooking, canning and so on. Actually, we've been sharing thoughts and ideas, debating means and possibilities, just talking.

She seems to think I could share what I know in workshops on her ranch. She said she will be ready when I'm ready. So I need to prepare the workshops. Which is a bit of a challenge.

I know how to do things, I know because I learned all my skills since I was a child. For example, I baked 1st bread, from start to finish, when I was 6. I have been canning extensively all kind of food for 4 years now but my mother showed me how to can high-acidic food early on. I know how to transform semolina and flour in couscous (rolling couscous) from my grand-mother, and how to dry and use cow manure as a fire fuel from my aunts, I make the pasta we eat the way my mother showed me, we never buy croissants since I master those perfectly, and so on, and on. 

Or I know because I feel I should make my own stuff  and I self-taught myself, through books, internet, friends... I make my own paints, and I threw myself so heartfully in developping paint recipes that work, that I have to refrain myself sometimes from stopping on curbs to pick-up old furniture, that I don't need, just for the thrill of painting and finishing it with my homemade paint. Soap making and natural cosmetic, well, suffice to say I made a living of making and selling them for few years in the past.

Having a university education and an extensive homemaking education and excelling in both was considered the Nec Plus Ultra of successufull "rearing" of girls where I come from. So here, I never, ever attended a single workshop in anything in my life. Except maybe, if you want to call them "workshop" the Home Ec courses at school in my teen years.

So I'm at loss as to how to translate that knowledge in the form of workshop.

I would be very gratefull if you share a few tips and advice, or direct me to ressources to get a sense of the "workshop" type of knowledge transfer.

Thank you,



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Zoubida, here are a few "tips" I trired  to follow in my 39 years in the training/workshop world with the US Government. I'll be on the street doing my own workshops on localvore and local food security in  about 14 days when I retire.    Have Fun and God Speed!  Let me know if I can help or answer any questions you might have after reading my dissertation?! LOL!


Be Accessible and Be Human.   Be yourself, be personable and reachable. Make your workshop personal to the customer.  After all, you are teaching people how to change their lives from consumerism to sutainability. This is defintely a human and personal/emotional trait!  You are your workshop!!!

Keep it Simple and Fun!   Sustainability is serious stuff and can be downright scary for some.  Talk with your audience and not at them!   Engage them in your conversation.  Remember, these people are your friends.  How would you talk with those friends sitting around your dinning room table or on the back porch??  Have fun amd play.  Teaching is NOT all work!!  Make the environment one that folks want to come back too and be with you.

"So What?!"    Answer the question "So What" about everything in your workshop.  When you answer that question with just a yea, ok . . .  then change it.  Your goal is to stand out from the crowd.  Why?  Well, trust me, it's not about the money.  That comes with your sucess and takes care of itself. It's  about how you can  help your customers find a solution to their problem with your knowledge.  "So what" isn't going to cut it. 

Other ideas/tips: BE MOBILE BE MOBILE BE MOBILE!!!    Did I say be mobile???  ;)  Have a mobile website  so you can be reaced  by folks using smart phones.  Use social influence marketing  and social media outlets  to your advantage (Facebook, Twitter, etc).  This is how we commuicate today.  If in doubt, ask a teenager!


Thank you so much SC Papi. Everything you wrote makes so much sense, but I wouldn't have thought of it actually, all caught-up in the details and loosing the big picture.

And I appreciate you offering help too and will come back asking more if needed. Right now takling that project seems so much easier after reading you.



Wow - since I am a novice I wish I could attend.  Good luck in your venture.


Canning across America offers some good guidance for conducting canning classes and it might be a good resource for you.

Chirtene, I wish you could come, and act as a quality control critic too. :-)

Pat, thanks so much for the link. It will certainly help me for canning classes and I can see how I can adapt the info to other topics too.

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