In addition to education events (i.e. workshops, on-site tours, etc.) held at Spring Ridge Commons, informal education occurs through self-directed learning and learning opportunities that people create for themselves and others – the concept “skill-sharing” comes into play where people are open to learning anything from anybody, anywhere. No need for teachers or schools, just the willingness to share what you know and can do, with others, who will likewise share their skills with you. People engage with the Spring Ridge Commons as a means to reskilling, they are sharing knowledge and skills through peer to peer networks, and they shift from the role of student to that of skill-sharer.
To assist in this process, there was a map in the centre of the Commons which helped people navigate their way around this edible and educational garden. There are also small signs by some of the plant offering information on their uses, origin and harvesting practices.
An example of knowledge sharing among users of the space: Josh Wagler of Integrated Living Landscapes and on the Board of Directors, Friends of Spring Ridge Commons Society had a regular column “Commons Corner” in the Village Vibe and on the Fernwood NRG web site where he shared with readers what was growing at certain times of the year at Spring Ridge Commons and profiled a Plant of the Month with identifying photo, whether it was edible, how the plant can be used, etc. Plants profiled included: Gooseberry, Stinging Nettle, Wild Salad Green, Chickweed, Sea buckthorn, Pearl Oyster Mushroom + Medlars. He also shared info on work parties happening on site, Bee in the Garden and contact info if people wished to volunteer at Spring Ridge Commons or share their ideas about this site.
On the afternoon of February 24th, 2013 Mathew Kemshaw, LifeCycles Urban Agriculture Coordinator led a skill share at Spring Ridge Commons. This skill share was also an opportunity for new people to get involved with the LifeCycles Diggers Team, a team of community volunteers who help establish and maintain community greening initiatives, often with a focus on food production.
In this skill share, Mathew discussed various techniques for perennial propagation, including: seed starting, cuttings, division and layering. He also shared knowledge on soil and site preparation/care for trees, shrubs, and herbs and talked about opportunities to investigate: ecological garden planning, stages of succession, permaculture design, etc.