It's not too late to register for Madison Food Camp 2013, taking place Saturday, April 13, at the Goodman Center. Your $15 ticket gets you access to a day's worth of instructional sessions on DIY food projects, from knife skills to beekeeping, sourdough ferments, and making maple syrup from trees in your own backyard.
While some of the speakers might be classified as experts, others are just people who've done it and will show you how to do it, too. That's the spirit of the food camp -- "a low-key affair" that's "all about sharing knowledge and experiences with your neighbors," according to organizers.
A lot of that philosophy stems from the event's organizer, Philip Crawford, who rejects today's negative connotation of the word "amateur."
"Its French origin means 'lover of,'" writes Crawford via email, "while somehow it has become thought of as 'less good.' Lots of us amateurs can teach many things."
Crawford, who is working on a TED talk on the topic of expert vs. amateur, says that Food Camp is "a bit of a pushback on the cult of personality when it comes to learning."
Food Camp is designed to be hands-on with indoor and outdoor sessions.
While you can sign up in advance, choosing your sessions is more on-the-spot and organic ("From 9:30-10 a.m., attendees plan which sessions they'll want to attend. We'll get a little feedback from everyone in order to make sure highly attended sessions aren't being held at the same time," organizers advise.) The day ends with "lightning" talks -- questions or mini-presentations, a kind of open mic for the camp.
Attendees must register online; only a few spaces remain.