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'Downtown Homesteader' classes in Bangor aim to teach life skills

Christen Gordon of Bangor is showing others they can never stop learning.

BANGOR, Maine — When you were younger, you probably learned a handful of basic life skills from a home economics class or by joining the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts.

However, learning a new skill later in life can sometimes be a little intimidating or tricky, especially when you don't know where to start. 

Christen Gordon lives in Bangor and has spent the past 15 years working in the health care field, but he's always had a knack for hands-on homestead skills. With long hours, she never really found the right time to pass on that knowledge. 

“I would do things and tell friends or talk about it at work, and people would go, ‘You should teach a class about that!’ or ‘Can I come and learn that?'" Gordon said.

Just late last year, she quit her job and began running “Downtown Homesteader” to show others that you can never stop learning.

For Sunday’s class, she taught all things foraging to help people take advantage of plants that might be right in your backyard. Gordon says the best way to be prepared is to wear long-sleeve shirts and long socks to avoid ticks. 

With her, she brings a basket, scissors, a paintbrush to brush off dirt on mushrooms, and small plastic containers used for strawberries or blueberries, so your pickings don't get squished. 

People like Greg Sarnacki of Kenduskeag can speak first-hand on the importance of practical skills. He picked up a foraging guidebook over 20 years ago and has seen benefits. 

“There’s all kinds of plants and mushrooms like that. You can get high anti-oxidants, essential vitamins, vitamin C," Sarnacki said. "There’s just so much out there that there is to offer that we just need to get out there and learn.”

To find out more about upcoming classes being offered, you can visit Gordon's Facebook or website here. 

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