On a cold day in January 2006, a group of 18 people met beside a masonry stove in the handsome self-built timber frame home of Dan Pepper and Ruth Kittleson in the small town of Liberty Pole, south of Viroqua. The topic of the meeting was to develop a way to teach and share skills and knowledge within the local community. Many of the people there had never heard the word or concept of “folk school” before, but there was a common recognition that there was a rich concentration of people in the local area with unique and essential knowledge to share with each other and the wider world.
Out of that meeting, the Driftless Folk School was born. By June 2006, the new school was up and running, with a catalogue of classes and a class on sourdough bread taught by Sofya Hundt in that same generous hearth near Liberty Pole. Ten years later, we have run over 500 classes and served thousands of people through classes, events, community dances, festivals, and internships. We are living the shared vision of community, collaboration, and resiliency. Our beautiful campus is proof of that.
Thank you to everyone who helped DFS be born and take flight! Here’s to the next 10 years and beyond!