Wisdom's Price: Zero

Canning, chicken-keeping, and anarchy.

We learn quickly in life that many things advertised as "free" really aren't: There's always some sort of catch. But at Seattle Free School, organized by Greenwood resident Jessica Dally, free means, well, free. Complimentary. No obligations. Just take.Unless of course you'd like to help Dally—tech-support guru by day, jack-of-all-trades by night—by teaching a class. Because Dally admits she doesn't know everything, and there's only so many times a class on chicken-keeping in the city will draw a (surprisingly large) crowd. Since her inaugural session on chickens, Dally, 35, has taught about getting Irish citizenship (she's Irish), cheesemaking (she's a former employee of Samish Bay Cheese), and automobile brake maintenance (she used to be a technician).Week after week, the Free School, founded back in March, has continued to grow, meeting in public libraries or coffeehouses. Now other facilitators have summer courses slated on topics from organic composting to the history of salmon in the Northwest. (Watch out for Anarchism 101!) And no one needs to be an expert to share, says Dally, noting students are anywhere from parents (with children in tow) to "gray-hairs." "There's no 'type' that shows up to a free school class," Dally says.A real-life, in-the-flesh, socially interactive version of the information sharing that's become so popular online, Free School classes have drawn around 50 people of late, and Dally has begun to see repeat pupils. Why are people coming back? Because the Free School is completely duty-free. (Think of the anarchic school system you dreamt of while sitting in detention). "Because we don't raise money," Dally says, "people are much more willing to give in other ways because they feel this is a really good thing."She adds: "Raising money would take a lot of joy out of doing this."There you have it—Seattle Free School won't take to passing the collection basket anytime this summer. Now off to canning class...For more info, see http://seattlefreeschool.googlepages.com.

 
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