Madisonville Learning Lab

Here’s a good story about community that isn’t always told in press releases or glossy photos or ribbon cutting ceremonies.  It’s a story of back and forth email streams, phone calls and meetings, questions about insurance and liability, lists of rules about who’s in charge of the unaccompanied kids that might show up, invoices and fee schedules and permits and questions of who’s going to pay for the gas and electric that night, conflicting calendar dates, a location not being “safe” enough for community to attend there, criticized flyers and font selection and how beautifully frustrating a community can be.

And yet…

This month Madisonville Learning Lab launches on Friday, January 23rd and featured five different guests around the theme of the urban homestead.  Steve Rock an environmentalist and garden builder in Madisonville will be present hosting the event with us along with Stu Zanger who will be teaching about starting seeds, Amy Francis discussing how to raise backyard chicken and ducks, Steve Kapuchinsi leading about aquaponics and how he raises fish and veggies in the garage and the Friemoth Family will talk about how they’ve made their Pleasant Ridge home the homestead next door with plants, water, and energy.

It's Happening!  January 23rd, 2015

It’s Happening! January 23rd, 2015

The event will be imperfect and wonderful.  Originally, in August, Katie and I worked to host a Learning Lab in early Fall at a school building’s theater–well mostly Katie did.  She met with the school administrators, explained the event, encouraged it to be promoted in their school newsletter to parents, and yet… Those details could never be nailed down so we blessed and released, promised to keep them in the loop and scouted our next location.

Our next location, we also couldn’t quite make work.  Having a storied history of opened/now closed, and run by two sweet volunteers doing their best, we met with them in September and couldn’t make it work there either.  The third option was the basement of the library but the Madisonville library basement is not accessible and from a aesthetic feel, it didn’t exactly feel inviting.

Finally, we gave up the desire for a “perfect” community space, and are hosting it at Starfire.  Starfire is located in Madisonville, and we both conveniently work there as well as live in Madisonville.

There is much to be said about the “art of hosting” and how the setting of a table matters as much as the content of a gathering, but sometimes you have to start by just having a table.  We decided that just doing it, hosting the event, getting some momentum and bringing people together was much more important for community building than continuing to push back a launch date in search of a perfect community space and details that would please everyone for which to build community.So won’t you join us for our first event?

Friday, January 23rd, 2015 6:30 PM at 5030 Oaklawn Drive, 45227.

In addition to the Learning Lab, Katie invited a local restaurateur, Ron D’s, to set up his BBQ to be available for purchase at the event, giving neighbors another opportunity support a local business.

While Learning Lab’s are now rooted in one specific community (Price Hill, Madisonville) it is still open to anyone to attend and to learn for free!

Questions?  Shoot me an email at
or, just show up and enjoy the evening.


About Candice Jones Peelman

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2 Responses to Madisonville Learning Lab

  1. ha! yes to all the bumps along the way — it’s been a joy, Candice!

  2. Pingback: #LearnFromLocals — Urban Homesteading | Cincibility

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