Crafting a Community: What a Folk School could do for Peachland

Kristen Friesen is a journalist / owner of The Peachland Phoenix, a local news website that is supported by subscribers. Your first month is free when you sign up here!


Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn? Paddle (or make!) a canoe, forage for what’s in our own forests, make soap? Play an instrument, preserve what you grow from your garden? We live in a pretty great place to do all these things, and that’s what struck Murray Wood, as he listened to friends Shuan and Francis talk about a Folk School in a small Minnesota town on the shores of Lake Superior. The dinner conversation had turned to what could be done to attract more people to Peachland over the winter months, and Murray’s friend, a Dragon Boat enthusiast, had mentioned how the North House Folk School had taught different paddling courses.

Murray and Valerie Wood

“I was just fascinated by the concept,” said Murray, who made time for me earlier this week for an interview. We each chose a chair in his basement living room, overlooking the lake.

“I mean, teaching and learning cool stuff in your own village that’s on a lake? It’s just like us. We also have all this amazing country around us – wine country, golfing, hiking, the beauty of the lake. People can come and do a course and combine all those things and enjoy the whole Peachland experience.”

“So, I think it’s a bit of throwing it out there and seeing what happens. North House Folk School started with eight courses and now they have over 300.”

At this point, we’re thinking of a few ideas for class locations – from the great outdoors, of course, to the kitchen at Hainle Winery, local community buildings – it all depends on the course being offered.

The next few months are going to be really busy and exciting as we put all this together – and we’d like to hear from you. Send an email, we’re happy to hear your thoughts! Would you like to teach a skill, take a course and be kept informed of our progress?

For Murray – who has spent most of his career building businesses, he’s happy with the level of support from the community so far.

As you know, we have a lot of Bed and Breakfasts / Air BnB-type places here – and Murray (who stayed up all night after that dinner party watching Folk School videos on YouTube) says aside from the Folk School philosophy – which is about building community through shared, hands-on experiences – that small Minnesota town experienced an economic boost, thanks to their North House Folk school.

“They started teaching northern crafts and it seemed really appealing in itself, but what happened to the town was like a slow transfusion, it started to get a glow and restaurants would be open all year round and employ people all year round and gas stations were selling gas, the B & Bs were full and it started to be an economic force in the community.”

That, says Murray, is what Peachland could really use this time of year. He would know – he and his wife Valerie have operated the Peachland Eagles Nest B&B for several years now. They moved here in 2015.


Annabel Stanley –

“I’m not building a school of business here,” he says. “We’re building a community that likes to learn crafts, skills, music and art, and teach each other, too.”

For an idea of what a Folk School is all about, check out the North House Folk School website

You can also check out this video on YouTube

The Okanagan Folk School ( is coming soon!


If you have something to teach or would like to take a course please contact Murray Wood at