BEHIND THE SCENES: NAT GEO "DOOMSDAY PREPPERS" Part One

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.

Coming up….

What the NatGeo show didn’t show!

 

Comments(15)

  1. Natalie, the Chickenblogger says:

    Have not seen the program, but given the nature of entertainment (even, unfortunately, from people you would hope *would know better*) I am thinking it was brave of you to accommodate them, and I appreciate your motivation for doing so.
    I will probably enjoy your perspective more than their edited and glittered rendition… so please share all you can, thank you.

  2. Rachel says:

    I saw the show and recognized you folks from your internet presence. It’s been a couple of weeks ago, but I don’t think they really made you seem like wackos. I thought it was a bit inspiring. I was really glad to have my husband there with me watching, since I’d mentioned your family and awesome gardening efforts to him in the past. Iowa just passed the AG-GAG law yesterday, and if it goes through here, other states will follow. AG-GAG makes posing as an employee in a factory farm for purposes of exposing abuse a crime. We’ve had a lot of nasty factory farm behavior revealed by whistleblowers around here lately. The more we have to choke down these crazy laws, the more inclined (I hope) people will be to take responsibility for their personal food supply. I think you folks are doing an amazing thing, and even if thousands of families don’t plow up their entire lawns to grow food, it seems like your presence and the work you did with the preppers show may serve as the inspiration non-gardening families need to dig up a little patch of dirt and plant something. Thanks for doing the show. It was risky, but I was so glad to see you on it!

  3. Asger says:

    I think most viewers grasped that you weren’t freakshow preppers. I watch the show for shock value, but was pleasantly surprised by your family. You weren’t paranoid. You weren’t a sect. You were just farm-oriented decent folk. PS. I adore Jordanne and her animals!

  4. Trish says:

    Jordanne and Anais, my husband will send you a copy. He’ll make the disc this weekend. You can watch it whilst dancing to “Love Mera Hit Hit!” 🙂 ~Trish

  5. Erin @ what the fork says:

    I just watched this today by chance and thought that NatGeo did a wonderful job of not making people out to be extremists or freaks just people that see what’s going on in the world. It was nice to see what you guys have going on and some of the changes my family can make to be more self sufficient.

  6. Kim Campbell says:

    I watched specifically because you were going to be on the show. I have been following your blog for a long time. I didn’t think you were made to appear wacky. It was cool to see you all in action!

    I also saw you on You’re Cut Off and I so waned to smack some of those girls! I am so glad my daughter and her friends do not treat people that way.

  7. John Rayl says:

    I’ve missed your episode, but have seen several others. I can’t find it online yet, but I’m sure it’ll be rerun. I was a bit surprised to see your wonderful family in the opening credits, and think you’ve added some common sense example of how you CAN live in a comfortable, self sufficient manner. Your family has been a wonderful inspiration to me to start pushing toward food independence. I’m not very concerned about hoarding processed food and guns. I’ve been deeply interested in self sufficiency since a child. My parents grew most of the food we ate, grandparents too, and repaired things or “made do” until they were pretty old. I just grew up thinking that it was the way one should live, and I hoping my garden will provide most of our food soon! Keep up the awesome work and attitude!

  8. Nan says:

    I’d wanted to watch the NatGeo show but TV scheduling in the Rockies is sometimes sketchy. I was pleasantly surprised to catch it by accident a few nights ago . They seem to take a “look at these lovable eccentrics” approach with other families but I think you came off as quite classy. Just a real family who cares about food, health and the enviroment. Farmer D. did a wonderful job. You all looked beautiful (even Justin.) Getting to see that lush, backyard garden was food for my winter weary eyes. I wouldn’t lose sleep over worrying if people think you’re “Wack-os.” In your own words, I think you got across a positive message and “done something good.”

  9. skye says:

    After reading this post, my partner and I looked at On Demand and your episode of Doomsday Preppers was there! We just saw your segment and we both think your family came across as sane and believable. I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now so it was lovely to see y’all in action. The only down side of your segment was the narrator’s conclusion regarding the likelihood of a serious food crisis. Basically, he said farmers have ways of coping and insinuated that the collapse would not happen *sigh*

    Anyway, thank you for keeping this blog. I find it to be inspiring!

    • michelle says:

      i noticed that they do that with ALL the prepper’s scenarios. i think they downplay the potential for these disasters to make the people watching the show feel more secure!!!

  10. Nora says:

    I agree with the rest of the posters. Haters gonna hate. I love your blog and you inspire me daily to make small changes in my life. Also, and especially, to notice and appreciate the small beauty and be mindful in my life.
    I do want to hear more about Justin’s tilapia project. its been awhile since we have had an update!

  11. michelle says:

    hey there – i just watched it on “on demand” and i can tell you that your family was shown in a very positive way. the show can make people look a little less than flattering, but i was impressed by their portrayal of you guys. i’ve been following your blog for months now (as an aspiring urban homesteader) -thank you for being such an inspiration!!!

  12. Loretta Keeler says:

    Jordanne, you crack me up! BUT…your family was NOT portrayed a “crack-pots”. Loved the episode with your family in it and wished that there had been a much longer episode or a whole episode for your part.
    If we were all as self sufficient as the Dervaes, people wouldn’t have to be so concerned about “Doomsday Scenerio’s”.
    Thank you for your continued inspiration in keeping life simple and beautiful.

  13. Lisa says:

    I was impressed with your ‘Doomsday’ segment. I believe in living a life and aquiring SKILLS along the way that will serve you, no matter what that life may throw at you. Your family is inspirational!

    • Lewis says:

      Hey, the show is interesting, and I think it is good to be prepared, but some can go too far. Have you written part 2 yet? I was not able to find anything in the archives?

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