Q & A with Farmer D
1. Where do you think the immediate opportunities lie for making progress in localizing the US food system?
For over 20 years, I’ve been gardening in the city; but, since 1999 I’ve been growing food “for real” in my own backyard. The most immediate opportunities for making progress always lie right in one’s immediate sphere of personal action—as close as outside one’s door. It’s a return to a lifestyle that existed in the past where things were small and slow and sensible. Progress starts with envisioning a new (yet old) lifestyle with the home as central to all aspects of life—work and leisure, food and energy. So, real progress means bringing the economy, beginning with the food economy, home again.
2. What do you see as the biggest challenges today?
One of the biggest challenges in this or any age is to stick with the necessary changes we need to make and hold fast to the end. As important as beginnings are, the real test is in reaching the finish line, which requires perseverance for the long haul. Because we tend to turn things over to others—experts—we lose the opportunity to develop true self-sufficiency. Through growing our food, along with other homesteading practices, we gain invaluable experience and the true rewards of doing-it-yourself. Going forward, we have to be willing to get past the idea stage and individually sweat the details, adjusting to unforeseen difficulties, and, above all, never quitting.
3. What’s the most rewarding part of the work that you do?
Attending Nature’s classroom almost every day and passing the prerequisite lessons, I am rewarded directly by the food brought to my family’s table. Because of where and how the produce is grown (in the backyard, organically), I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is good for us and for the planet, as well. Another reward comes from sharing this path to food security with others by spreading the harvest news via my family’s websites.
4. Anything else that you’d like to add?
Although green is popular today, it is easy, in our euphoria, to believe that things are getting better. But, with popularity comes superficiality. Therefore, it is necessary to get past the first flush of trendiness and search out deeper green steps. This will require the discernment of seeing beyond easy, quick, hip actions and the courage to work toward serious, long-term solutions. The real change the world needs can only come about through personal sacrifice.
Homebased, Homegrown, Homemaking
There’s a lot of stuff (books, articles, sites) now these days on urban homesteading – growing food, solar cooking, raising chickens, canning, etc.
Not only does urban homesteading involve all those self reliant aspects but one can over look the root word. “Home.” (see Farmer D’s references above)
Too often we are so busy going hither and tither but never really looking at the world closer to home. Do you know that the backyard is one of the most underutilized spaces in America and we all know that the front yard lawn is just plain wasteful. Not to mention the hours we spend stuck on freeways – what’s the point to this madness?
Our pioneer peers understood about home. Heck, at times they were stuck days on end at home either because of weather (like in the Long Winter) or because they were miles from their nearest neighbors. How is that they were content with place and people?
We often wonder could our little urban homestead stand on its own. It’s not that we want to be isolated; this journey is all about community but sometimes community can be a crutch. Can we as individuals stand on our own two feet if we have to?
OK, nuff on the serious side.
How are you/your family pioneering a path backwards to a simpler, back to basics life?
What practical “Ingallisms” do you practice or live by in this modern age? If you post your online conversation about this topic, don’t forget to link to your post via the comment box below.
What are you doing to turning your home into a home-stead?