Course Catalog

Current course offerings

Homesteading 101 (not offered until 2023)

Students will be familiarized with and have access to some of the leading thinkers, communities and social movements for a more land-based, productive and self-sufficient livelihood. The course is intended for individuals, families and professionals who want to get an overview of the current risks we are facing as a globalized society, and hear from a variety of experts on how to approach a more landed, self-sufficient existence as a way to mitigate risk and prepare for crises. A big part of the course will prepare students to build connections to local communities, offering several expert level perspectives on how to build communities of practice, local economies, and navigate uncertainty through relationships. We will hear from experts who have deeply considered perspectives on the challenges we are facing in our society including: risk, complexity, and global supply chain issues. From many of these same experts we will explore their approaches toward mitigating the worst crises such as: localism, homesteading, systems thinking, alternative agrarian communities, bioregionalism, permaculture, historical precedents for agrarian societies, and disaster preparedness. We will then move the course toward specific approaches to preparedness, offering experienced perspectives on: finding and acquiring land, access to water and energy, small livestock, large livestock, infrastructure, permaculture, and taking an iterative approach to building resilience.

Homesteading 101 self-guided

Same content as synchronous course above, and students get access to course videos with experienced homesteaders and high level experts in topics like permaculture, systems science, and risk preparedness; a Further Homesteading Resources document curated by lecturers and mentors; and a Homesteading 101 Plan given to students in the synchronous course. Action steps for the Homesteading 101 Plan are guided around the following topics: land acquisition, soil, shelter, security, energy, water, food, community, and health.

Home Economics 101

More and more people are becoming interested in self-reliance and home production. Join us in Home Economics 101 to learn how to:

  • Turn raw milk into fresh cheese, kefir, yogurt and sour cream
  • Preserve food like jams, jellies and pickles through canning
  • Make all natural soaps, detergents and home cleaners
  • Mix your own herbal remedies
  • Cultivate a sourdough starter and bake fresh sourdough bread from scratch
  • Ferment juices, sodas, hot sauce and sauerkraut at home to promote gut health
  • Preserve foods through freezing and drying methods
  • Manage dry goods for maximum storage
  • Brew a batch of beer
  • Repair or build using basic carpentry and woodworking methods

Homeschooling 101 self-guided

Tens of thousands of families have recently become interested in homeschooling. If you are:

  • curious if homeschooling is right for your family
  • already experimenting with homeschooling but interested in learning about the range of approaches
  • sending your kids to traditional school, but want to be more involved in their education outside of school hours
  • a new parent trying to consider the range of possibilities for your child’s education

Then this class is for you! Over five sessions you will hear from various homeschooling veterans about their approach and philosophy, mistakes to avoid, and how to do homeschooling in a way that fits best with your family.

Each session will be taught by a veteran homeschooling parent with a different orientation, including:

  • Classical
  • Traditional/classroom model
  • Unschooling
  • Waldorf and Montessori inspired Project Based Learning
  • Charlotte Mason with an emphasis on practical home economics

By the end of this course new homeschooling parents will:

  • Have a clear reason articulated for choosing homeschooling for their family (can be especially useful to new parents choosing whether or not to homeschool as their children age)
  • Identify the homeschooling approach(es) that most resonate with them
  • Have a plan for implementing homeschooling within your own family – managing around work and other family activities
  • Know the best tried and tested resources for each philosophical approach
  • Be aware of how a typical day would look across approaches, to be able to fit into family life
  • How to avoid the worst pitfalls many new homeschooling families face
  • Know all the tested tips for a smooth journey into homeschooling and adapting throughout your child’s life

Course offerings in partnership with universities

Sustainability or Regeneration?

In this course we consider the concepts of sustainability as defined by the United Nations in the Brundtland Commission of 1987 as, “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” We unpack measures of sustainability including economic, social and environmental. We then push back on the idea of sustainability by introducing the concept of regeneration. In this concept, economic, social or environmental resources not only stay the same, but become better. We then apply the use of these concepts to the workings of Rizoma Field School and partners. Students will partake in a course-long project assessing sustainability/regenerativity of a Rizoma Field School partner. The course culminates in a presentation with practical outcomes for improving the sustainability/regenerativity of a community partner with actionable items.

Globalization and Social Movements

In this course we will consider the social problems arising from globalization from consumer issues to worker issues. We consider modes of regulation and attempts at curbing environmental and social ills of borderless corporate entities such as free trade or fair trade. Then, we will consider several modes of social movements that have arisen in response to neoliberal globalization. We examine successes and failures of different models of social movements. Then, we will compare social movement structure (hierarchical versus horizontal) and differential outcomes. Finally, we will consider the hands-on work of Rizoma Field School in the context of international social movements. We will critique the work of Rizoma Field School in terms of social movement outcomes, and consider modes of improvement with the potential to do real-world actions as an outcome of this course.

Sociology of Food and Agriculture

In this course we will explore the founding of the Sociology of Food and Agriculture in the context of the environmental movement in the United States of the 1970’s. We will see the early scholars’ critical look at industrial agriculture, and the social problems arising from that mode of production, distribution and consumption. We will then focus on alternatives that have arisen out of this critique of industrial agriculture including: local, sustainable and organic. We explore the definitions and limits of each of these highly-studied alternatives. Finally, we explore other alternatives such as household subsistence food production, tool/resource sharing, community gardening, and other modes of production and consumption. Throughout the course, we will consider the work of Rizoma Field School, community partners, and Rizoma Farm in the context of course concepts.

Environmental Sociology

In this class we will start by understanding the context of the founding of the subdiscipline of Environmental Sociology by Bill Catton and Riley Dunlap at Washington State University. We will then consider the major themes of environmental sociological research included (but not limited to): Human Exceptionalism/ New Environmental Paradigm, Treadmill of Production, Ecological Modernization Theory, Environmental Social Movements, Risk Theory, and Post-Materialism Theory/ Environmental Values. We will then turn our attention to the research on the horizon of environmental sociology on solutions for or responses to environmental problems. We will consider these solutions in the context of the work of Rizoma Field School and community partners — seeing how research matches with the practical reality of those doing the work of sustainability.

Spanish Immersion 1

This class is geared toward beginning Spanish speakers (no Spanish experience required). In this class students will be introduced to the basics of Rio Platense (Uruguay and Argentina) common phrases and pronunciation. Basic grammar lessons will be required via a ‘flipped classroom’ model in which students get lessons outside of classroom time and use the classroom space for immersion practice. Specific cultural practices and ways of communicating will be explored via weekly excursions to use Spanish skills in context.

Spanish Immersion 2

This class is geared toward intermediate Spanish speakers (prerequisite Spanish 1 and 2). In this class, we will navigate the Spanish of the Rio Platense Region (Uruguay and Argentina) by reviewing common language in an immersion context. In the classroom, we will speak entirely in Spanish, exploring Rio Platense culture through Spanish language. We will also take weekly excursions into an immersive environment to learn language in context.

Other potential course offerings: Cheese making, beer making, wine making, sustainable livestock farming, cyclical waste systems, small-scale energy systems, sustainable building

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