Jun 242012

Homegrown Hideways in Berea, KY

By Dave Cooper

Are you worried about how peak oil and climate change will affect your life?  Do you want to live a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle?  Do you want to spend less time stuck in traffic and more time stuck in the garden?

“Raising Backyard Chickens” is one of 65 workshops offered at the Whippoorwill Festival – Skills for Earth-Friendly Living. Photo by Jessa Turner.

The Whippoorwill Festival is a four day festival in mid-July near Berea, Kentucky (just south of Lexington off Interstate 75) that seeks to promote sustainable living by sharing earth-friendly living skills with one another in a positive, healthy, family-friendly atmosphere.

Running Thursday July 12 through Sunday July 15, Whippoorwill celebrates Kentucky’s Appalachian heritage while helping prepare our minds and bodies for a future world of climate change and a diminished supply of fossil fuels.  The festival is a low-cost event ($20 per person per day) with simultaneous workshops, tent camping, healthy and home-cooked meals, guest speakers, plus old-time and mountain music, dancing, and story-telling in the evenings.

Many Whippoorwill workshops are led by experts with years of skills and knowledge in fields such as cob construction, forest ecology and wild mushroom identification.  In order to encourage leadership development in Appalachia, other workshops such as hide tanning, primitive nutrition, fermentation, and salamanders are led by young people and relative novices.  Discussion groups on topics such as voluntary simplicity, deep ecology and quantum physics allow participants to share their thoughts and experiences with each other in an informal atmosphere.

In addition, local craft workers, sustainable businesses, and non-profit organizations will have booths and tables at the festival to promote their issues and their earth-friendly businesses.

Berea has a long and strong tradition of Appalachian craftsmanship that is well known in Kentucky, but the Whippoorwill Festival broadens the market for these craftspeople by attracting attendees from Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, and West Virginia.

In the spirit of the book Last Child in the Woods, the festival encourages kids at the festival to play outdoors.  In fact, children 16 and under are free.  The facility for the festival, HomeGrown HideAways, has a nice clean creek with woods and trails on the property.  Unstructured activities for children, such as playing in the creek, building dams, and climbing trees are encouraged.  There is also a lake nearby.

In the evening, the Reel World String Band will play acoustic and mountain favorites from their 30 years together.  Other bands include Cincinnati’s terrific young trio The Tillers, Berea’s favorite harmonizing threesome Sugar Tree, and an excellent singer/songwriter from Knoxville, Jack Herranen.  Louisville’s Appalatin, a fusion of Latin and Appalachian folk music from the band member’s homelands in Central America, the Andes and Appalachia, will also take the Whippoorwhill stage.

Food for the festival will be prepared by the Knoxville chapter Food Not Bombs, a national volunteer collective that prepares dishes using donated and surplus food.  There is no cost for meals but donations to Food Not Bombs are gratefully accepted.

Confirmed workshops for the 2012 Whippoorwill Festival:

Making Cool Stuff out of Junk  – Growing Herbs – Eco-friendly Rain Barrels – Dendrology (Tree Identification) Walk – Egret’s Cove Intentional Community Tour – Forest Ecology – Earth Ovens Field Trip – Mushroom Innoculation & Cultivation – Primitive Nutrition – Hobo Stoves – Basic Bicycle Maintenance – Herbal First Aid – Gasifier Stoves and Biochar – Dumpstering Discussion Group – Deepening our Connections/Deep Ecology – Mushroom Wildcrafting and Foraging – Fruit Trees – Home Weatherization – “How To Survive Without a Salary” Discussion Group – Stick Tag – Natural Building – Waste Veggie Oil Diesel Auto Conversion – Cob Construction – Backyard Chickens – Forest Gardening – Fire Spinning/Poi – Humanure and Composting Toilets –  Fermenting Kim Che and Sauerkraut – Rocket Stoves – Repairing Cross Cut Saws – Old Time Ballad Singing – Saving Your Trees – Deer Processing – Salamanders – Voluntary Simplicity Discussion Group –  Weeds – Anarchy Discussion Group – Pirate Radio – Quantum Physics – Songwriting Circle – Edible Wild Mushrooms – Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics – Movement Medicine – Unjobbing: Making Your Passion Your Livelihood – Hula Hoop Dance – Kids Activities – 3 Ways to Make Rag Rugs – Roots and Non-Timber Forest Products – Eco-Art – How to Play the Banjo – Hide Tanning – Walk: Reading the Landscape/Developing Your Natural Senses – Urban Gardening/Seedleaf – Auto Roadside Emergency Repairs That Anyone Can Do –  Playing Native American Flute – Worm Composting – Creating Group Theater Performances – Silkscreening – Breadmaking – Making Salve from Woodland Herbs – Salamander Springs Farm Permaculture Tour – Tarpology – Friction Fire (making fire with primitive tools) – Fiber Arts/Hat Felting – Reclaiming the Thrift Store Wool Sweater – Cooking Over an Open Fire – Indian Cooking

The festival website is at http://www.whippoorwillfest.com/ The event is co-sponsored by the Bluegrass Sierra Club, Kentucky Heartwood, Mountain Justice, Sustainable Berea, and the Berea Festival of Learnshops.  A complete schedule for the festival can be found at the website.  We hope to see you there!

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