Our 2012 Homesteaders of a Year: Living a Good Life Through Modern Homesteading


These 7 families offer moving examples of complicated homesteading, including a loyalty to building separate communities in both farming and civic settings.

Dirt Road

The word “homesteading” might conjure images of families lined adult in front of a sod house, a jackass hitched to a plow operative a fields in a background. Such pioneers truly worked for their livelihood, sweating to erect homes, furnish food, transport H2O and lift animals. Modern homesteading doesn’t fit that description, though those who select it have a same can-do opinion and have found new ways of vital a good life.

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Last fall, when MOTHER EARTH NEWS called for nominations for a 2012 Homesteaders of a Year contest, we never could’ve likely a accumulation of do-it-yourselfers we’d hear about. From families on 100-plus acres in farming Canada to couples in little homes on one-third-acre plots in a bustling metropolis, all kinds of separate folks from opposite North America were nominated.

The nominees have implausible immature thumbs — flourishing vast veggie gardens and given orchards. For most, food refuge is a consistent activity — freezing, dehydrating, canning and storing food in a base cellar. Many of these complicated homesteaders addition their gardens with internal products and lift ornithology and stock for eggs, meat, dairy and manure.

A large partial of independence for many of a nominees involves appetite efficiency. Remodels and upgrades to spin an aged residence into a some-more energy-efficient home were common, as were hand-built homes powered by renewable appetite sources.

One of a many moving qualities of scarcely all a nominees is their loyalty to building some-more separate communities. Many complicated homesteaders share their passion with neighbors by training classes, volunteering, giving tours of their homes and gardens, or even usually by vital a good life their possess approach — environment an instance for neighbors, friends and family.

Choosing usually one Homesteader of a Year valid too daunting, so we chose 3 winners and 4 runners-up. Our altogether favorites are showcased here, and we can find some-more complicated homesteaders and their stories online in Star 2012 Modern Homesteaders. 

Living a Good Life With a Hand-Built Home

Our initial family hails from Meco, N.Y., and was nominated by Dan Gibson, arch coordinator of Our Energy Independence Community, an online heart for information on shortening appetite use. Throughout several years roving a Northeast in this position, Gibson has visited many off-grid homes. Of a winning family, Gibson wrote, “I know of usually one family that has been vital off a grid for some-more than a decade and built their home from timbers harvested, milled and assimilated on their skill (by themselves).” Jim Strickland, a carpenter, and Laurie Freeman, a biology clergyman during Fulton-Montgomery Community College, initial met in 1982. Laurie recalls that in their initial conversation, a dual discussed choice building — we could contend it was a “foundation” of their relationship. Even before Jim and Laurie changed into their stream off-grid home, they lived in a hand-built stable that was also unfriendly to a grid. In Apr 2000, a integrate paid their final application bill.