Nelnamar at Great Lakes Folk Festival, August 13 and 14

Nelnamar has been asked to partner up with Merilynn Rush from After Death Home Care, and Callan Loo from Peaceful Crossings, to represent more options in times of death at the Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing.  There will be a workshop at noon, at which Home Funerals and Green Burials will be discussed, and we'll share a booth in the Green Arts section of the festival.

This has been my first exposure to "Reskilling" workshops, which has made an appearance due to the Transition Initiative.  Apparently the whole Transition concept is rooted in permaculture, but has grown from its Irish roots into a worldwide movement.  Towns commit towards local, sustainable, fossil fuel independent lives...on a neighborly level.  Have you ever driven your car behind a huge trash truck, destined for the landfill?  I have recently, and finally realized that our fossil fuels are completely intertwined in our daily lives.  Buying food local partially to avoid shipping food cross country is one thing, but trash...things we don't even want...that's another ball game.  The problem is, there's not many folks out there who have the skills that would allow them to break away from the fuel centered system ...hence the reskilling workshops!

I asked Lynne Swanson, curator for Folklife Programs, a few questions about the Reskilling concept put into action in Michigan:

I like the title of your Programs and Activities...Everything Old is Green Again.  Was it difficult to find folks with an old skill to teach?
No it wasn’t difficult to find individuals with traditional skills to pass on in our Re-Skilling Workshops.  MSU Museum’s Michigan Traditional Arts Program has worked for 35 years with traditional artists and practitioners.  We looked into our files  - and also borrowed some teachers from the Ann Arbor ReSkilling Festival.

Did festival organizers get the Reskilling Workshop idea from the Transition Initiative?
Yes, we attended the Ann Arbor ReSkilling festival and found that the programming lineup was very similar to what we were trying to achieve – so it was a happy coincidence.