We’ve met a lot of new people in the course of our building and gardening adventures. Preppers, doomers, natural builders, gardening enthusiasts, permaculturists, homesteaders, as well as a whole new wave of people “dropping out” for various reasons. It’s quite the ragtag community.
Not everyone’s “in it” for the same reasons, but the goals are similar- to rely more on personal efforts for such things as food and energy, and to do so in a sustainable fashion. I have to say, of all the circles I’ve run in over the years or groups that I’ve found myself a part of, this community is the most impressive of all.
Most of our community we’ve met online and I look forward to the new blogs on most recent adventures as they go up. It’s just amazing, what people are capable of when they have a determined endpoint. Stories of people building with natural materials, reusing waste in the most inventive ways, learning about water treatment and power production, successes and failures with polycultures, not to mention the interesting political conversations… It’s really heartening to know that so many are on the same path, and working really hard to be part of the solution.
I don’t know how you’d class Shane and me. We started off with a retirement plan of sorts. Our intention was to spend as much of our lives “living”, rather than working towards an arbitrary end date at which point we might foreseeably enjoy our time left. And with that plan in mind we came to the realization that in order to properly ‘retire’ from the game, we would need to provide for ourselves those things that we currently pay others to provide for us. Simple enough idea, if rather more difficult to implement. But only difficult- not impossible.
We’re not environmentalists by any means. In fact, we really don’t want to be associated with that particular group, knee jerk and short-sighted as they so often are. But we do take our responsibility to the environment serious. In our minds it is not only possible to lessen our negative impact on the environment, but to improve it in small ways.
We’re also not doomers, or religious at all. Nor are we really preppers- though I quite strongly believe that the shit will hit the fan- not if but when. And who knows on how many fronts, but undoubtedly we can only go so far on the energy train we’ve already run into the ground, and food shortages (whether due to lack of said energy for either production and transport, or natural disasters as we are seeing all over the world this year, or the mismanagement of our land) are as much as a sure thing. And don’t get me started on the rise of fascism around the world and in our own backyards.
We can’t quite yet be classed as permaculturists, though we are working towards it, and my own lack of gardening experience has been glaringly obvious in previous posts so I don’t qualify as an ‘enthusiast’ by any stretch, though I do approach my misadventures with enthusiasm.
We are, I suppose, homesteaders with a vision. Off to a rocky and somewhat comical start, but homesteaders nonetheless. I guess that’s as close as a category we’d fit as any.
But I digress. Our common ground and values far outweigh our differences. The community that we find ourselves a part of is amazing. And surprisingly tight. I don’t think we could be any more supportive if we lived next door to each other, rather than communicating primarily online. Anytime that I find myself lacking in inspiration, knowledge or enthusiasm, the community is right there- inspiring, sharing information, funny personal stories or encouragement. We’ve even occasionally been surprised by donation of materials for various projects.
While we use the phrase “self-sustaining” to describe much of what we’re doing, and planning, it’s rather misleading. Self-sustaining in that we plan to provide for our own food, energy and shelter- certainly. But buoyed by a community of like-minded individuals without whom we would surely find ourselves lacking. For all of our differences, the common thread is a surprisingly strong bond.
Down the road, we’ll most likely welcome work traders as well. There’ll be so much to do, between gardening, and tending animals, and the bees… The two of us could pull it off, but it would be a more comfortable load for four or five people- leaving everyone with plenty of downtime. We know that some people are unable to purchase their own property, and as such can’t provide for themselves off the land, so it seems a reasonable trade. And will no doubt lead to even more interesting friends and lifetime bonds.
So to all of our friends in our newfound community- thank you, for everything. We’re on the right road, and so long as we’re traveling together I think we’ll be just fine.
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