Please click on the headings below for more information.Alcohol, illegal substances, firearms and dogs/ pets are prohibited at the event. Only Service Animals are permitted by law.
The 9th Annual Florida Earthskills Gathering will take place February 6-10, 2019.
This Florida convergence, taking place since 2011, is a unique mix of resident and migratory earthskills practitioners. The Florida-based instructors are joined by many instructors from other gatherings such as Rivercane, Falling Leaves, MAPS Meet, ROOTS Rendezvous, and Firefly. Many of the instructors and participants from northern latitudes journey south to enjoy the mild winter and beautiful environs that North Florida offers.
Each day at the Florida Earthskills Gathering starts with a community breakfast at around 7:30 (Wednesday's breakfast will be at 8). Morning Circle is at 9:00am (10 am on Wednesday). Aside from a later start on the first day (Wednesday) morning and afternoon classes are held from 10:00 am – 12 noon and from 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm. Lunch is on your own and dinner is served around sunset. Breaks leave time for games, trade circles, and visits to the AnceSTORE. Each morning opens with sunrise yoga, and evenings are rich with live acoustic music, drumming, dancing, storytelling, and friendship around the fire circles.
We’ll ring a bell to let you know when meals are ready, and we’ll blow a conch to open and close workshop blocks. A central info board provides class listings, directions to class locations, and other important information about the gathering.
Our Closing Circle is at 5pm Sunday.
We are fortunate to have a lovely new site this year, located at the Wells-Humphries Farm, at 9744 228th St, O'Brien, Fl. 32071. Within five miles of the Suwannee River, this site contains both open pasture land and forested areas, as well as a nature preserve. Within a few minutes drive from the site, there is a public access spring called Little River Springs. See video of spring here
Early Bird Registration will be opening soon!
We may accept donations of Needed Items/Food and can negotiate trades of such items for admission at our Wish List/Trades page. Thank you!
What to Bring
- Camping gear, with excellent rain proof strategy.
- Bedding for warm and very cold temps.
- Dishes, mug, and utinsels
- Headlamp/flashlight (red or blue night vision option is helpful)
- Comfortable walking shoes
- A cart for hauling gear/water to your camp.
- Bring a chair if you are uncomfortable sitting on the ground.
- This is winter in Florida – average temperatures range from 40 to 70, but it is not uncommon to have lows in the 30s or 20s, so bring warm clothes and raingear. It also may be quite warm, so layering is best.
- Day pack with water, snacks/lunch, extra layers, notebook and pen/pencil.
- Sun hat and sun protection.
- Bring Food: Lunch will be on your own and, though we have vendors selling food, they may not have the quantity or type of food that you are accustomed to. Bring your own alternatives and back up provisions. Especially if you want to have meat/ animal protein, please bring your own to supplement what the kitchen and vendors are offering. Vendor may sell coffee, but it is best to have a plan to make it for yourself if needed.
- If you would like to hone your self-sufficiency skills and provide for others at the event, please consider setting up your own camp kitchen where you and a few neighbors could take turns cooking meals for eachother. (and making coffee/tea) We do get feedback that our community kitchen does not provide the amount or types of food that everyone prefers, so in order to encourage cooperation and take some pressure off the kitchen, please consider the gathering as an opportunity to practice these skills (with leave no trace protocal) and get to know your neighbors through planned meal sharing. Safely spaced and operated, contained, above ground fire use (grill, camp stove) only. A fire extinguisher will be required at any personal camp kitchens.
- Bucket with snug fitting lid for packing out all trash.
- Drinking water. We will be at a new site, and plan to sanitize the existing well, however we recommend that you bring your own drinking water as a back up.
- Cold showers may or may not be available this year, please plan to bring what you need for personal hygiene in case we are not able to provide showers. (Think five gallon bucket, wash cloths, quick dry camp towel, biodegradable soap, privacy screen, etc. )
- John Kraus may be offering a tool reconditioning station and instruction, so bring your old axe, knife, drawknife, scissors, nailclippers or other similar edge tools- bring your sharpening stone and equipment so you can do it yourself. First come first serve!
- Review the class descriptions for those you are interested in and bring the tools or materials needed for the class. (commonly mentioned: sharp non-serrated fixed blade knife, drums, pruning shears (Felcos), sharp scissors, buckskin)
- Seeds for the seed swap (well-kept, less than 5 yr old, non-invasive seeds)
- Drums (to be played before 10 pm, unless scheduled drum circle is permitted to run later)
- Yoga mat for morning stretching clases.
- Swim suit (there are public access springs nearby)
- Bring items to trade simlar to those (and with the same exclusions) as you would find in the AnceSTORE (see below). There may be both youth and adult trade blankets.
- Pocket money for the AnceSTORE, some class materials fees and for purchasing lunch from food vendors.
What to Leave at Home
Please keep in mind that in Suwannee County, events of this size are required to have police officers present. If you are traveling from other states, please make yourself aware of Florida laws. Furthermore, alcohol, illegal substances, and firearms are prohibited at the event. Dogs/ Pets are also prohibited at the event. Only Service Animals are permitted by law. Please see here for expected behavior of Service Animals.
Electronic devices of all kinds are discouraged, and generators are prohibited. Please do not bring firewood for the gathering from more than 50 miles away, as it may harbor organisms harmful to the local ecology.
Tuesday night is a camp-wide potluck dinner, so bring enough food for yourself and some to share around. This potluck meal is participant organized and is an opportunity to meet your neighbors. Wednesday- Sunday, all instructors, work-traders, and campers will be invited to share in a community breakfast and dinner created in our donation- and volunteer-based kitchen. Lunch is on your own. Food vendors will be available for lunches, and some breakfast and dinner options. Coffee will be available by vendor. Full-day visitors may join up for evening meals and activities if they wish. If you have a large amount of foodstuffs to offer, please email email@example.com to donate or inquire about trade for partial admission.
Camping is primitive: there are no hookups of any kind. Camping areas will be designated for loud camping, quiet camping, family and elder camping and vehicle camping. A drop-off zone will be provided for the tent camping areas, so please plan to haul your gear on foot or bring your own wagon. There is a fee for RV/bus spaces which are only available with special arrangements made well before the event. Vehicle camping areas do not have hookups and generators are not allowed, so please be prepared to dry-camp. Camp only in designated areas to minimize disturbance to the site and to allow for the flow of the gathering. Please be mindful not to camp under the live oak trees, as they may be shedding branches; we have found that even those branches/ trees that do not appear to be dead can come down unexpectedly.
Arriving Early or Leaving Late
Campers are welcome to come on Tuesday (campwide potluck dinner, and Lighting of the Ancestral Fire at Sunset) and leave on Monday, the days before and after the event. Opening circle convenes at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Instructors who wish to arrive early and work-traders involved in setup and breakdown will be given further instructions. Closing circle is around 5pm on Sunday and then dinner will be served around sunset.
Ride-Share and Parking
We encourage participants to ride-share in consideration of the Earth. If you have space for someone to ride with you to the event, or are in need of a ride, please add a post to our Facebook event listing, here.
We will have people to welcome you and guide you toward parking and camping upon arrival. When parking, please stay within the flagged areas to avoid impacts to the land. There will be limited parking for RVs and buses, with pre-made arrangements.
Children's Programs and Youth Activities
Kids programs at Florida Earthskills this year will include activities for all age groups, toddlers through teens! Youth Village will be a home base for kids, and will include a morning circle for youth, a childcare co-op for toddlers and craft projects for younger children. Each morning, experienced instructors will take youth ages 9-12 out on woods adventures. Each afternoon, there will be a variety of classes geared specifically for youth. Special youth activities include building a fairy village and hosting a trade blanket especially for kids to trade their handmade items! All participants in the Youth Village are encouraged to bring treasures they would like to trade with each other. Whenever possible, please bring items you make yourself or those handcrafted by someone you know.
The themes of the classes and activities for the Youth Village this year will center around Wilderness Skills, Herb Crafts, Fibre Arts, Music and Movement, and Storytelling. Come out and play with us!
Please remember that all minors must have a legal guardian with them at the event unless other arrangements are made with the core organizing team well in advance. All children should be supervised by their guardian or a guardian-appointed adult at all times unless they are in a supervised class for kids. Children should not be at adult classes unless with a guardian or guardian-appointed adult or if previously discussed with the instructor. Please help your children be aware of potential hazards on the site.
Teen Camp is not a class but a place; a place where teens can gather, be listened to, supported, mentored, work on projects, share food. sing, play games, or just hang out. Staffed by experienced mentors, we will strive to create a safe space where our young adults can be themselves and gather with other teens. Our teen camp staff will model what it means to be vibrant and alive adults connected to the earth and looking out for the village.
The Ancestor Fire
Together, our community kindles and tends the Ancestor Fire. It glows day and night; come sit a while and feed the fire and all our ancestors with your finest thoughts and feelings. In spirit, they will feel and know we try to honor them with our highest selves. It is sacred ground, consecrated as a place for people of all ages; dedicated to the teaching stories and life stories of us all, our songs and prayers, ceremony, councils and counsel, joy and laughter and grief, quiet reflection, a place for the wisdom in us all to emerge. It is a place for our village elders to gather in council, to revere our ancestors, seek wisdom and co-create with all a good life for all generations, born and yet to be born. It is a place for elders to hear your voice and for you to hear the village elders’ voices.
As we all continue to bless this ground, our prayers, songs, hearts and minds will be received and radiated by the flames that send them out to other fires where people gather for sacred purpose, projecting healing and blessings to help us in time of need. The fire freely gives our souls the warmth of the finest thoughts, feelings and words from all the ancestor fires ever tended in every land, among all peoples stretching back in time to our tribal origins.
Caring for the Land and Residents there
Our gathering site is also a family farm and a nature preserve, so please be mindful of your impact on the plants, animals, and people who call this place home.
Again, when parking, please stay within the flagged areas to avoid impacts to the land. Camping and fires will be in designated areas only. Please be respectful of areas marked "no access" or "private". Throughout the event, please do your best to avoid injuring any vegetation, especially the plants and areas that are marked or flagged. Please do not leave garbage or litter on the land. Harvesting of vegetation is not permitted unless approved by the land owners via the site manager.
Fires will be limited to those designated by the Site Coordinator. Camp stoves and grills may be used with care at your campsite. A fire extinguisher must be present in any camp where there is use of fire. No on-ground fires at personal camps.
Water and Energy
Please be kind to the land and pack out your belongings and trash. Please do not dispose of cigarette butts or any kind of garbage on the land. We require that you pack out all your own trash (or better yet, don't make any trash at all!). We strive for this event to be free of packaging and garbage of all kinds. Please bring a bucket with a snug-fitting lid to contain any garbage for the car ride home :)
Showers may be available this year, but please plan to bring what you need for personal hygiene. (Think five gallon bucket, wash cloths, quick dry camp towel, biodegradable soap, privacy screen, etc. )
First Aid and Hygiene
Wash your hands!
The gathering is graced by a fully stocked first aid station, complemented by the skills of herbalists, medics, and wilderness medicine practitioners. Our event is also within a short drive of an emergency room for more serious injuries or illnesses. We provide several hand washing stations at key locations such as the meal line, toilets, youth village, and first aid.
A trade blanket will be set up several times during the event, usually in the hour before sunset. The trade blanket is an amazing opportunity to trade things you have made with your own hands, as well as tools, raw materials, books, used or new outdoor gear, food, clothing and other items of interest to natural, crafty earthskills folks. Same items permitted/restricted as at the AnceStore. There will also be a trade bazaar, and a Freecycle area.
Instructors and participants alike will have a place to sell their wares in the AnceSTORE. This is a place to sell handmade goods and trade wares appropriate to the skills being shared at the gathering. The store will be open at certain hours for customers to browse. Please price your wares taking into account that 20% will be used to cover the cost of running the store and sales tax. Examples of items to sell include handmade soaps, bee products, canned goods, herbal medicines, handmade or re-purposed clothing, buckskin, handmade jewelry, tools, books, music, handmade decorations, etc. The AnceSTORE will NOT sell artifacts, parts of protected or regulated species, firearms, illegal substances or alcohol (medicinal tinctures welcome). All sales are cash only, so bring some pocket money.
Leadership for the Florida Earthskills Gathering is shared by a core group of dedicated, community-oriented earthskills practitioners. Event leaders for 2019 are Terisa “Wren” Shoumate, Ross Morton, Jessie King and Kito Reed. A great deal of guidance and footwork is added through the dedication of multiple coordinators and past organizers, providing many insights and perspectives that help to shape this event.