Man with Scythe (John Savio, public domain)

We’re trying to grow and harvest all of our food this year to simulate the collapse of fossil fuels. As part of that, we’ve purchased a tenth of an acre of organic wheat from a neighbor. In late July, we will harvest it using scythes and sickles.  Then it has to get tied into sheaves and stood up in shocks to dry. Once dry, it has to be threshed to remove the grains from the heads, and then winnowed to remove the wheat from the chaff. Once cleaned, the wheat berries can be ground into flour. You’re invited to come and join us and bring home some flour for yourself.

Workshop Details

In this workshop, we’ll spend the morning harvesting and tying up sheaves of wheat. You’ll each get to try American and European scythes as well as sickles. If you have one, feel fee to bring it.

After a brown-bag lunch (please bring your own), we’ll thresh and winnow wheat harvested and dried the week before. You’ll get to try a pedal-powered thresher and winnower as well as the old-fashioned methods of flail and winnow pan. Finally we’ll grind the wheat into flour using a bicycle-powered mill.

You’ll take home a 5-lb bag of freshly milled flour.

Please wear clothing appropriate for the weather and activity: close-toed shoes, gloves, long shirt and pants, hat for the sun, etc. We’ll have drinking water and snacks available, but please bring your own additional beverages and lunch. If the weather is too wet that day or the day before, our rain day will be Sunday, July 26.


Due to the ongoing pandemic, we will be taking precautions against spreading the virus among ourselves. First, this event will be entirely outside. A bathroom is available from lunch onward, although “outdoor restroom visits” will be encouraged. Masks are required of all participants. Hand sanitizer, etc. will be available, and tools will be cleaned between users. We’ll be encouraging folks to spread out and avoid clumping together. This event may be cancelled if the state’s conditions worsen or stay-at-home orders are changed. You’ll get a full refund if this is the case.

The workshop will start meeting up at the Low Technology Institute (11927 W. State Road 59, Evansville, WI 53536) (located in historic Cooksville: take 14 south out of Madison; left on 59; the institute is the fifth house on the right with a sign out front) on July 25, at 9:30 a.m. sharp. We will then drive to the wheat field. We’ll return to the institute for lunch and remain there until 4:00 p.m.

Please RSVP by purchasing a ticket through our online store. Space is limited and we will keep a waiting list. Get on the list by “purchasing” a waitlist ticket at no cost, also in our online store. Also, participants must fill out this liability waiver. Your RSVP is only complete when the waiver is filled out.

Register Now!

Donations are always welcome to help defray the cost of our workshops and programming. We are a member-supported organization.


Scott Johnson is the director of the Low Technology Institute. He has been scything for years and harvested grain last season.

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