Fresh Eats: Skill Exchange Workshops Encourage the Hands-On

A series of free "skill exchange workshops" are about to resume at Pot and Pantry, a kitchen boutique in the Mission. San Francisco graphic designer Kate Koeppel and Pot and Pantry owner Donna Wageman launched the series last August with workshops and discussions on topics related to crafting, farming, and other hands-on skills.

Koeppel earned her master's from California College of the Arts last spring, focusing her studies on self-reliance skills. "I really liked Donna's shop and stopped in weekly to talk to her," said Koeppel of Wageman. "I pitched my crazy idea for social experiments and she liked it."

The two put their heads together to recruit businesses they admired to support the cause. A decorative bulletin board in Wageman's store also allows feedback from the community to share what they are interested in learning about and what they could offer to teach.

The new series begins on Feb. 22 with a tea basics class, and the next workshop, on spring container gardening, takes place on March 1, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Pot and Pantry. Future workshops include bacon-curing, jam-making, and tea-brewing. You can find the full schedule at

Koeppel says the workshops are intentionally small to create a safe and supportive atmosphere. The events are free because Koeppel hopes to inspire participants to use their hands and new kitchen skills in a fun, social setting. Because of the growing popularity of the workshops, however, Wageman and Koeppel have decided to charge a $10 reservation fee to prevent last-minute cancellations; the money will be refunded after the workshop.

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