Month: February 2019

Sustainability, Self-Reliance: What Does It All Mean?

There seems to be a trend to pursue a more sustainable life, especially out here in the western hemisphere. We can see plenty of internet pages and videos referring to projects or lifestyles exploring (and exploiting) the world of sustainability and self-reliance. I have heard words like homesteading, off-grid, survival, autonomy, sovereignty, self-sufficiency, sustainability, permaculture… you name it, they have been increasingly thrown around for well over ten years.

The variety of slightly different meanings can be heard across the web without a doubt. As @MondoShawan said in this challangeA Viewpoint Is Always As Unique As The One Having it.

We can take everything out of a dictionary to define the meaning of each one of those words mentioned above, but some of us will still have viewpoints that differ from one another. And I think this is because we all read from different perspectives.


Image source

Looking at the root of a few words:

AUTONOMY (One of my favorite words in this sphere).

Its roots come from Greek, auto meaning “self” and nomos meaning “custom” or “law.”

In other words, “self-law” or “self-governance”. For me this one word, Autonomy, says it all… A word that really says Let me live my life how I want to live it.

I can definitely get behind this word, especially when we can create more food sovereignty on the homestead and it even suggests a hint of anarchy! With autonomy, we alone create and abolish our own regulations and restrictions as we see fit.

SUSTAINABILITY (I find this one to have a broad range of meanings).

From its Latin root sustinere, sustainability literally means “the ability to hold up from below”. It has been widely used as the word to suggest “long term (perhaps unbreakable) support systems”, especially in a space where our environment is increasingly becoming dangerous for human survival.

I used to call what we are building today, a place of self-sustainability. While the idea of an unbreakable sustained system is very attractive, I wasn’t so sure we wanted to go down that road. For me a fully sustainable life entails not only growing your own food but also making your own clothes and cheese and everything! Once I start bartering for something we need we’re no longer self-sustainable.

SOVEREIGNTY (Perhaps the most powerful word in its class).

It holds roots in Latin and Old French, literally meaning “ruler above all” or in more modern terms, “supreme power or authority”.

Breaking it up into two parts, we get super-reign. The old Latin superanus means “chief” or super meaning “over” or “above”. On the French side of things we have reign (from latin regnum) meaning kingship!

I really like this word, I find it very powerful and I believe is very event specific, for example Food Sovereignty (Don’t forget the food sovereignty challenge that is still going on, there are just a couple days left to enter). Our beauty product could be one of those events, the Self is another or even the way we communicate, maybe? Eitherway it can be applied to so much, as long as it’s none violent, I’m all for Sovereignty.

SELF-RELIANCE (This is a choice bundle of words for preparedness and goes hand in hand with modern-day homesteading)

To RELY means “to depend on with full trust or confidence”. From Old French relier meaning “bind together”. We can easily see how its original sense “gather together” later became “turn to, associate with”, and than “depend upon with confidence”. Dependence is like glue, it is binding.

So self-reliance than should be self-dependance; depending or relying on oneself for anything one wishes. Achieving Self-Reliance seems much more attainable than other terms in this sphere because it can be completely customized to each individual as they please.

Researching the definitions and origins of the above terms was a pretty eye opening exercise for me. I have been on a mission to define this multi-family-artist-homestead, with re-wilding and anarchist tendencies. I would like to be able to describe what we want to build with one or two words, but perhaps our lauguage isn’t yet equipped with the right tools. We need more words 😁!

Sources for this post are from several dicrionaries such as Webster and Oxford, Wikipedia/Wiktionary were used as well as,, and my own knowledge of latin bases laguage.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and that you’ve learned a little something today, I sure have! And please don’t feel discouraged to use the word in your own sense, but knowing its origins may help all of us communicate better in the end.

Until next time…

PS: If you, or anyone you know want to build the kind of tribal lifestyle I mentioned above, please get in touch with me 😁!

Community Witness Votes Report – February 5th 2019

@homesteaderscoop is voting, by proxy, for the top 30 witnesses as determined by our community members

Witness Votes by Proxy

We can determine and vote for our community members’ favorite witnesses. We are sharing our community vote with our:

  1. Contributors – Our community leaders, authors and voices
  2. Vendors – Stores accepting STEEM, SBD and USD for sustainable, handmade goods
  3. Delegators – Those that delegate at least 100 SP to @homesteaderscoop

All of the witness votes made by each member will be tallied. If one member falls into more than one of the groups above, their votes will only be counted once.


Active Contributors




Note: Vendor are taken from the steem username that vendors supply in their store profile.

Delegators of 100 SP or more


Top 30 Cumulative Witness Votes

@homesteaderscoop is now voting for the following witnesses as determined by our community members:


Special Witness Shout Outs

These witnesses deserve an extra mention because they are important to our community. Please consider voting for them.

@quochuy witness

@quochuy is a vendor in Homesteaders Co-op and an active member in #homesteading#gardening@naturalmedicine@ghscollective as well as our @homesteaderscoop – he is adding tons of value to the blockchain! ✅ Vote @quochuy as Witness

@yabapmatt witness

@yabapmatt, is a strong supporter of our community! He has made generous donation of Steem Monster packs to spice up our past contest and is an ongoing delegator to our community account! ✅ Vote @yabapmatt as Witness

@justyy witness

@justyy provides free APIs and tools for interacting with the steem blockchain. We use one of his free APIs in our WooCommerce Steem Payment Method plugin which helps to power Homesteaders Co-op‘s STEEM/SBD payment tracking. ✅ Vote @justyy as Witness

The Gift Economy is Online at Homesteaders Co-op

Last week I updated Homesteaders Co-op with the ability for our vendors to specify products as gifts in our marketplace. You can read about it here.

Today I’ve made a new update to our website that has completely separated Shopping from Gifting.

  • Our Shop section now includes all products that are denominated in some amount.
  • The new Gifts section shows all of the gifts that are available at no cost (except shipping).

The significance of this re-organizing

I prefer to keep products for sale separate from the Gifts. I don’t want gifts to detract from the products that are for sale. And yet I want the gifts to have their own prominence. I prefer that gifts are making a statement.


Because we are operating different than other marketplaces that prioritize profit over people. We are putting people in front of profit. A marketplace that wants to squeeze as much profit as possible out of their vendors and their customers would never encourage gifts unless they were sure it would mean more money for them.

The Gift Economy

In our case, by looking past profit, our marketplace has the unique ability to explore more than one form of exchange.

Suppose you ask me this: Why would someone provide a gift on this marketplace rather than asking to be paid for a product?

I believe there is opportunity to feel rewarded in gifting to our fellow humans. The reward of giving can be very satisfying and has the potential to be equal or greater in value than the monetary value that is placed on a physical object.

Perhaps our relationships can become deeper if we look past the physical level and deeper into our spiritual connections with each other.


I give credit to @wwf for coming up with this observation. Because we are not seeking profit, and because we are seeking fair exchange of value (shoppers and vendors alike) – we are not dealing in commerce (whose rules are set by captains of industry). We are interchanging with each other as we seek to exchange our goods and services for an equivalent value; not value plus profit.

My first gift exchange

My Seeds of Abundance store is already offering several varieties of seeds as gifts to our Steem friends that for one reason or another we decided not to sell but have enough amounts that we want to share.

This weekend we just received our first order that included a gift request from @nateonsteemit. He ordered a packet of seeds from us and also requested some seeds we are gifting. I am really glad to see that he already used this feature and am excited to be able to share some surplus with him!

More gifts available

@quochuy has generously shared his e-books for worm composting/farming and composting with black soldier flies as gifts in Homesteaders Co-op.

Now that these new features are available I will be letting our vendors know that they can offer gifts if they so desire.

What do the gifts mean to the Vendors?

I won’t encourage any vendor to offer gifts in our co-op unless they have an interest in it. I completely understand the importance of earning money. It will be completely up to the vendor whether they operate completely financially, completely in the gift economy or any combination. They are also not obligated to fulfill a gift request.

Thanks so much for reading. There is so much more planned and if you like what we are doing I encourage you to stay tuned. Lots of fun updates will be coming!

Food Sovereignty Challenge – Highlights & 6 days left

I was pleasantly surprised to see a lively discussion on the topic of Food Sovereignty spurred from this challenge:
Challenge: What are you doing to claim food sovereignty for yourself or your community, and why?

If you are interested in participating you have about 6 days left. See the link above for the full details of the Challenge which is rewarding one 10 steem prize and two 5 steem prizes to 3 winners.

This topic is near and dear to my heart and imo one of the most important issues of our time. I was so glad to see many folks that I respect come out and voice their opinions about food sovereignty and also providing examples and proof that it is possible to claim food sovereignty for ourselves.

I am also really appreciating the entries from those individuals that are just starting down the road to claiming independence via food – it is not an easy road but it is a worthwhile and very fulfilling endeavor. Thank you all for your efforts, your stories, thoughts and wisdom.

Here are some excerpts from the entries that we have received so far!

A Revolution in Dirt and Seeds: Answering @Sagescrub’s Challenge on What We Can Do to Increase Our Food Sovereignty.

by @riverflows

I live in a rural area that was once a big wool production area and at the edge of a wheatbelt too. There’s a lot of farming folk around here, but there’s also a lot of people with small acreages or at least big blocks of land where they have the capability of growing food for their own table. It’s been fantastic to share inspiration, seeds, plants and knowledge, and we’ve been having monthly food swaps. So succesful has this been that the town over from us has started their own group and also do swap meets, and many members are in both groups.


Is Food Sovereignty Possible in a Harsh Climate?

by @minismallholding

At the moment we have mains water and access to chicken feed. We are able to supply ourselves with eggs, most of our fruit and vegetables when in season and some meat. All our herbs come from the garden and excess is shared with neighbours. It’s not much, but it is a way of reaching out to the community and making those connections. For such an introvert, I was actually quite surprised to realise that I now know more of the people on our street than some of our chattier neighbours.

Community is essential when things get hard so cultivating that is important for me. Most of my neighbours aren’t particularly interested in growing their own food, but the fact that we are doing it has started a seed of thought within some of them.


A Challenge: What are you doing to claim food sovereignty for yourself or your community, and why? My Response…

by @porters

We have coal oil lamps and the oil to go in it plus we do have a small solar system set up on our camperized van which we could bring to the house if needed.
Sad to say, but we have prepared for the internet no longer being available, which it very well could be, with a good library of books and music plus a tight local community.

We have a good supply of grains and seeds, pulses and rice in a storage room that keeps cool and dry.
We know how to cook things from scratch, can and preserve our foods and have a diet that we are happy with and are not reliant on the stores to maintain it.

This past year we took our gardening one step further and began our indoor gardening project.

Indoor Gardening

The (non)Violent Gardener: My Feeble Attempts at Food Sovreignty

by @nateonsteemit

Our efforts here to establish our own food forest and a tree-guild-based sharing garden are just the start. A big part of the sharing garden is going to be my marketing attempts to spread information about permaculture and home food production to everyone I am blessed enough to serve. When people come to pick berries and food, I’m going to greet them with a hug (I’m a hugger) and a small book or brocure of permaculture information.


Homesteaderscoop Challenge: What are you doing to claim food sovereignty for yourself or your community, and why? Stanmr’s entry

by @stanmr

Food security is something I’ve been working on for years now. I guess we always think about taking care of our own first. Food sovereignty is a newer concept for me. I’m the kind of person that usually thinks, I can do this all on my own. It was part of why I became interested in gardening in the first place. I used to dream about feeding my large family from our little garden plot. We ended up with a few good meals in the summer. Or sometimes we were able to supplement some peppers and tomato’s for part of a meal. Then a big haul of winter squash and other end of the season bounty. I was content with that for many years but was, and still am concerned with how much we put in the pantry every fall. How to stretch the growing season. Or how to convince my children to eat healthier.


My Response to – Challenge: What are you doing to claim food sovereignty for yourself or your community, and why?

by @wildhomesteading

One of my current sites used to be a homestead but was abandoned years ago – now I’m restoring it for wildlife habitat. But there are a lot of old and amazing fruit trees growing wild on the property. The above picture is one of these trees.

This site will be opened to the public in the future as part of what we are calling the Inspiring Kids Preserve. It will be a place for kids, families and the community in general to come and learn and reconnect with nature.

But I also want them to connect with the idea of growing their own food.

So to help with that we have teamed up with a local fruit tree group to run free workshops to teach people how to prune and take care of their own fruit trees by practicing on our wild fruit trees.

Apple tree

HomeSteadersCoop Challenge: Salt sovereignty for myself, my community, and my Queen…Why?

by @yestermorrow

Which all the furor about various means of attaining food for all people’s, and caring for your community in the centuries to come after Lili takes her revenge upon mankind… Nobody seems to be speaking about Salt…

I won’t go into the particulars of it, (in fact, you should ask the folks @steemstem) but salt is an absolute necessity for all Earthly Life.. If even the children of Mama Evie need it, then you can damn well bet that Aunt Lili’s children need it… It’s just physics… If you had access to every possible resource, but no salt… You would die…

Normally, Salt is harvested from the Sea… It’s quite easy to get it from there, and nobody even makes a fuss about it anymore… But inland.. Folks who don’t have access to salt-water, need take a different approach. How does one manufacture table salt with no Sea-Water?

Challenge: What are you doing to claim food sovereignty for yourself or your community, and why?

by @ligayagardener

I got the first ‘Grow Free’ cart established in Gawler and that lead to 4 more being started These carts are part of a rapidly growing movement and are for folks to leave and take produce as needed. If you have surplus, you leave it. If you are in need, you take. It’s a really simple Idea that works.

We are part of the local Saturday morning food share. This is where like minded folk catch up every week or when they can and we swap and give any excess from our gardens. Really, anything garden related is OK at these swaps.