We don’t have cable television but our readers are informing us that the National Geographic series “Doomsday Preppers” had aired on Tuesday February 14 (then again on Saturday February 18) with the episode showing our family and the Urban Homestead city farm as one of several people/projects profiled. By the way, if anyone taped it, we’d love a copy (thanks!)
We’re primarily homesteaders who want to live simply and in harmony with our environment, to make a living with our hands and to create a better world in doing so. And so, you might ask — how in jiminy crickets did we end up on a show with the ominous and headline-grabbing title of DOOMSDAY Preppers?
Since a lot of rumors, lies and intentionally false claims have been floating about the Internet regarding our family and our work, I have decided to debunk some speculations by blogging about how this episode came to be and what our feelings were in accepting and participating in the show.
We’re just as surprised as our readers about how it came to be. Nat Geo (or rather, their subcontracted entertainment company) contacted us with an email and an application form to fill out. Since I’m unofficially the person who handles these kinds of requests, it ended up in my inbox. I had been aware of the premise of the show through a previous special that Nat Geo had aired but I set aside the email due to the fact that I believed the show wouldn’t want us — we didn’t fit. I had believed it was just a blanket mailer that some intern was hired to send to anyone he/she found via a Google search. I wasn’t going to waste my already stretched-thin time filling out a casting call application for some person behind a desk to review, laugh and then dump into a waste bin and laugh again.
You see, we tend to get inquiries from all types of projects and reality shows. Sometimes, I shake my head and wonder how someone would think we even remotely fit what they are looking for. I once told a casting agent on the phone: “Seriously, you guys don’t want us.”
Less than a week later after we received the email, the entertainment company called on the phone. Anais was the one who answered and was asked a variety of questions ranging from self-defense weapons and different end time scenarios, to if we had a plan of escape for “doomsday.” She told them we aren’t really “Preppers” but city farmers on the Urban Homestead project. The guy on the phone insisted: “We really want you on the show” and scheduled another call to speak to Dad who took some convincing to get on the phone. His reasoning? “Why do they want us?”
As it turns out, the entertainment company had their mind made up and we were soon realizing this wasn’t just a casting call for screening potential participants. They informed us that the camera crew would be flying out from New York in a few weeks and asked what date was better for us.
We decided then to accept being profiled, hoping to use this good opportunity to show a different mentality in the program — a sort of DIY and hands-on, hands-in-the-ground way of looking at things. Although you wouldn’t lump our family into a generic Prepper crowd, elements of what we do cross over into “Prepper territory.” Plus, living in ‘quake country and existing in these changing and drastic times, we have always had some sort of backup “plan.” And as children who played, roamed, and explored every inch of our local mountains, we were encouraged to learn the skills and teachings of renowned tracker, survivalist, and naturalist, Tom Brown. Our self-reliant way has never been a fad or a trend or something that we decided to do so we could blog about it or become minor celebrities. This is how we live and have always striven to live.
One major deciding element that we also focused on was to take advantage of being put under the microscope to be profiled as something we’re not usually considered to be. We found ourselves re-evaluating our preparedness and examining the areas in which we had gotten lazy and complacent.
Contrary to the belief of headline-scanning Internet masses, we did not get any compensation. I don’t think anyone appearing on the show did – well, if they did, then we got jipped. 🙂 So, yep, we didn’t get anything in return for appearing on the show… nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zippo … oh wait, they did buy us lunch on one of the two days of filming. As a matter of fact, I might as well take this opportunity to set the record straight on some other misconceptions. One oft-heard remark that usually comes out of people’s mouths when they see the amount of coverage the press has made of our project has been: “wow, you’re famous! You must be making millions!” Yeah, except we didn’t get paid for any of the coverage. The only shows we got compensated for was to be a film location for the reality shows Private Chefs of Beverly Hills , and You’re Cut Off !
We know that there is a unceasing demand for entertainment value first and foremost so we were concerned about how TV spins reality; but the film crew promised it was a positive show and not edited to create whack-os. If we can get across a positive message by being on the show, then we feel that we have done something good.
What the NatGeo show didn’t show!