Was talking to Ilyse the other day and we came across the idea that there is a spectrum that describes the types of person that would be nice to attract to RainbowAcre and that being able to cater to all of them is a nice ideal to strive for.
While at Golden Nectar we saw two examples of this spectrum.
A family from Reno was there that day to attend the tour with us. They were a bit older (maybe in their 40’s) and my understanding is that they were stopping at various farms on their vacation in this part of the country. They had lived the bulk of their lives in the city but were very interested in learning about the farming lifestyle and possibly moving out to the country in the near future.
After the tour the family left and Ilyse and I worked with Adam to do various chores. Adam is a WOOFer who was interning at Golden Nectar and who dreams to work in the agricultural field in the near future (good luck to him).
What we have here are two very different types of people. Namely, one type of person who is curious about the idea of the country life and one who has been living it. Both share an interest in learning but their different backgrounds require different approaches to teaching.
The bulk of the educational ideas that I have heard being passed around revolves mainly around using the classroom as a vehicle for teaching. This has been done at other places, whether pro bono or for a nice tidy source of income, to great effect. Classes could be taught about permaculture, about composting, or about how to take care of bees. Perhaps tours could be given once a month to introduce people to the land and the way of life.
Volunteers, whether they be local or WOOFers, can be a great source of cheap labor. They could learn with their hands while helping decrease our workload.
In the past I have flirted with the idea of someday opening a hostel on my property to in some way give back to all the hostels I’ve used when traveling. This or a Bed & Breakfast type setup might help lure those people who wish only to visit for a short time and capture a glimpse of something they are unaccustomed to.
Let’s keep our minds open to all the different types of people out there. If education is a goal, then I believe being able to teach in varied ways to people with different levels of commitment to the agricultural life (and different socioeconomic statuses) is important.
P.S. As a very large aside I read an article about some prisons instituting gardening classes reaching some level of success. VERY neat.