The Driftless Folk School has been offering Vernon County residents and others unique learning opportunities since 2006.

Registrar Erin Ford said the folk school was started by a small group of local community members who wanted to establish a place where people could learn new skills, meet new people, and cultivate personal and cultural resilience.

Courses ranging from wild foraging and herbal medicine, to copper bowls, blacksmithing and woodcarving, to hunting and butchering, to DIY natural body product to baking, are held throughout the area, from the campus in rural La Farge to community kitchens in Viroqua to the trails of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. The 2019 catalog features more than 50 classes.

According the to the 2019 catalog, the Drifless Folk School “values intergenerational learning.” Some classes may be suitable for both children and adults; however, due to the nature of many classes, children must be accompanied and supervised by an adult at all times. Anyone who wishes to attend a class with their child must contact the registrar for class-specific age limits. Adults and children all receive the same instruction and opportunity for participation, therefore DFS is unable to offer classes to children for a reduced rate.

Ford said the board of directors includes Simon Stumpf, Steve Carrow, Wayde Lawler, Alyson Morgan and Kristin Martinek.

Questions about enrolling in classes can be directed to Ford at registrar@driftlessfolkschool.org. To sign up for a class, go to driftlessfolkschool.bookwhen.com.

More information about the Driftless Folk School can be found at driftlessfolkschool.org.

What is a

folk school?

According to an Oct. 22, 2017 online Wisconsin State Journal article, “In the 21st century, a boon in folk schools,” “The pure definition of ‘folk school’ goes back to 19th-century Denmark, where N.F.S. Grundtvig developed a hands-on model of learning, with deep roots in the land, cultural heritage and community. Grundtvig’s idea led to boons in the folk school movement in America in the 1920s, 1970s, and early 2000s, said Dawn Murphy of the Folk School Alliance and the Folk Education Association of America.”

According to the Folk School Alliance’s website, there are eight folk schools in Wisconsin — Buttermilk Falls CSA and Folk School, Osceola; Clearing Folk School, Ellison Bay; Driftless Folk School, Viroqua; Folk School at Folklore Village, Dodgeville; Lost Creek School for Wilderness Living Skills, Cornucopia; New Wind Folk School, Port Washington; Shake Rag Alley, Mineral Point; and Thoreau College, Viroqua.

According to the Folk School Alliance, one of the oldest and best-established folk schools in the United States is the John C. Campbell Folk School, also known simply as “The Folk School.” Founded in 1925, it’s located in Brasstown, North Carolina.

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Angela Cina can be reached at angie.cina@lee.net.

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Vernon County Broadcaster editor

Angie Cina is editor of the Vernon County Broadcaster. Contact her at 608-637-5616.

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