Hands-On Lessons in Self-Sufficiency
In 2014, while we were taking our lunch break from our work at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, we discussed our desire to share age-old techniques and traditions in cooking, nourishment and healing. Fueled by a mutual passion for learning “new” skills, and having recently attended a workshop in our friend’s kitchen, we wanted to create a space where more of these hands-on skill-sharing events could take place. From that meal, the Lost Skills Workshops were born.
We took the idea to our boss, who approved the concept, and we got to work. We weren’t sure how much interest there would be in the community for classes teaching crafts and skills that may have traditionally been passed down to us from generation to generation, but we were truly amazed when, six weeks later, the sold-out workshop series began in the back room at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre.
In its first configuration, the Lost Skills workshops revolved around skills that we wanted to learn. It was important to us that the classes would be taught by people we knew in the community who had mastered these skills and incorporated them into their everyday lives. Based on those criteria, the first round of workshops included Wild Edibles & Apothecary, Fermented Beverages, Natural Dye, Fermented Foods and Leather Smithing. Our hope was that by the end of the classes, the by-products of learning these skills would be a sense of empowerment and the ability to be more self-sufficient.
The workshop series really opened our eyes to the wide variety of skills and techniques available to us. As we moved through the workshops, we began to realize the power that rested in a community’s ability to share information and skills. By learning these skills, we were also learning a new way to interact with the world around us, one that allowed us to be more responsible in our everyday actions. The classes enabled us to relearn a way of being that had previously been lost to us.
Over the next two years, through many life changes (and often because of them) we watched as certain skills took roots in our own lives. When we were ready to revisit the idea of another workshop series, we found that there was one singular concept that had changed our lives the most — the role of food and the ways we interact with it, namely through cooking.
Inspired by research done at The Weston A. Price Foundation on ancestral cuisine and Michael Pollan’s recent book, "Cooked:A History of Transformation," we developed the second set of workshops based on the skills that we used the most in our own lives related to cooking, health and herbalism. The second series included Bone Broth, Herbal Vinegars & Fire Cider, Ancient Grains & Sourdough and Herbal Apothecary, intended to encourage nourishment and healing through the things people eat and drink.
Although we are still interested in all types of “lost skills,” our love and passion for the transformative effects of food remain most important to us. In the future, we hope to host more community based workshops and are interested in finding ways to provide skill-sharing sessions at area farmers’ markets and other events. Until then, we will be learning all that we possibly can and look forward to sharing space with you in the future, to become a little less dependent and a little more self-reliant!
For more information on the Lost Skills Workshops, including dates and topics for upcoming events, visit the St. Augustine Amphitheatre website.