ABOUT TARWEED FOLK SCHOOL
Our mission is to tend to the land, ourselves, and each other through the sharing of practical arts and place-based skills here in the heart of the Willamette Valley.
We are tenders. Tarweed Folk School stewards opportunities for community-based, hands-on learning to all ages. In 2023 we are hosting three summer weekends of half day, full day, and multi-day classes at Greenbelt Land Trust's Bald Hill Farm, Coyle Outside, and Highland Woodshop, taught by local educators, craftspeople, scientists, tradespeople, small business owners, and members of our Willamette Valley communities. Read below to learn more about our values, folk schools, tarweed (the plant), our steering committee, and our partnerships.
WHAT IS A FOLK SCHOOL?
The folk school idea blossomed in rural Denmark in the 19th century, inspired by the work of poet, philosopher, and educator Nikolai Frederik Severin (NFS) Grundtvig, who proposed the idea to help Denmark transition to a more grassroots model of social development. The idea then spread through Europe and the United States, seeding varied and diverse communities for lifelong, non-competitive, hands-on learning.
In Danish, Folkehøjskole simply means "folk high schools," but the idea revolved around what Grundtvig called "the living word"-- an approach that emphasized practical, hands-on knowledge, skills, and crafts, but also -- through individual and shared social experience -- connection, community, equity, and joy! Folk schooling gives people the space to gauge their own progress according to their own needs and desires, free of grades, certificates, and external measures.
Learn more about folk school history and find a directory of country-wide folk schools through the Folk Education Association of America.
WHAT IS A TARWEED PLANT?
Tarweed species found locally: Madia madioides (woodland tarweed), Madia elegans (common tarweed), Madia sativa (Chilean or Coast tarweed), Madia gracilis (slender tarweed)
Tarweed has grown in the Willamette Valley and greater Western region since time immemorial. It is found in the oak savanna, coastal, and woodland biomes of where we live. Indigenous peoples of this region relied on it heavily for food, harvesting after controlled burns and often using it in trade at Willamette Falls.
As part of the sunflower family, tarweed suggests resilience and resistance to destructive forces, and the power of life to survive and thrive.
We also love tarweed for the beauty of the flower, and the human story of reciprocity between the land and people, who used controlled burns in the oak savanna in order to be able to successfully harvest tiny seeds from sticky stems, and also encourage the oak trees and other wildflowers.
In November of 2019 a group of us began envisioning what a folk school could look like in our community. We met monthly for over three years to share food, stories, chores, and craft as we developed our vision for the school. We have a commitment to lifelong learning and work as educators, makers, parents, business owners, and more.
Greenbelt Land Trust, Highland Woodshop, and Coyle Outside are generously hosting all Tarweed Folk School classes in our 2023 season.
Tarweed Folk School is a project of Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation & Development (CPRCD), a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Corvallis, Oregon. As our fiscal sponsor, Cascade Pacific RC&D enables Tarweed Folk School to effectively operate as a non-profit with all of the benefits thereof, so we are able to apply through CPRCD for grants, receive tax-deductible donations, and focus on realizing our mission and values in our inaugural season of growth.
We are fortunate to work with some amazing local and national organizations as our partners.