Hey, it’s @riverflows here, writing from the Antipodes or down under, as some folks know it. You know, before I joined Steemit, I only had a very stereotypical idea of what a homesteader was. To me, it was definitely an Americanism, something that conjured a Little House on the Prairie type scenario or preppers with guns and big stocks of food ready to ward off an apocalypse. I’d lived in England for a while, where I got used to the term ‘smallholding’ which was the British equivalent, but still, I only had a vague idea of what either of these things meant. And one day, we bought a 5 acre property in rural Australia (not so rural we had to ride kangaroos to work, but rural enough to be cautious on roads at dawn and dusk) and people started asking me questions. Are we self sufficient? Do we have a vegie patch? Do we have animals? I realised whatever life we were trying to live – conscious of the earth, willing to gain a little food sovereignty, adhere to sustainable values – came with a kind of label attached to it.
I still don’t know what that is, but I relate to this ‘homesteader’ tag on Steemit alot. To me it’s about folk who want to live sustainable lifestyles, grow their own food, make their own herbal medicines. You don’t need to live on a ranch or thousands of acres to be one, and you sure as hell don’t need to be an expert either. You can be an urban homesteader, growing tomatoes and grapes and raising quail in inner city Melbourne. You can have a verandah on a tiny block growing plants in containers. You can have an aquaponics system in the middle of the desert or a disused parking lot. You might even just support homesteaders by buying their produce at farmers markets and taking it home to pickle it yourself, or be into wildcrafting and foraging weeds and mushrooms on the weekend. You might be doing aid work on a farm in Lombok, learning about indigenous medicines in South America, or about to start a herbal medicine course in Tasmania. You might have grown up on a farm in South Africa. You might be have an allotment seasonally in Wales. You might distil lavender oil in your shed in France.
This is exactly what @minismallholding (a fellow Aussie) said in her newsletter yesterday (did you see it?):
While the title says Homesteaders, the community branches into so many different areas. Whether you’re a backyard gardener or living on acres, interested in natural living and medicines or prepping, crafting, DIY and food preparation, interests and communities all interlink and are welcoming and I’m sure you’ll find something of interest to you and a place for you.
Anyone can identify with this tag and we’re encouraging you to join in the conversation about homesteading practices on Steemit, whether you have a huge property or a tiny backyard, an island in the South Pacific (lucky you) or raise bees the top of a high rise building in a huge city.
Saying that, the vast majority of homesteaders on Steemit, according to @pennsif‘s lovingly compiled list released this week (which you can find here) ARE from the U.S, and a large proportion in Canada too. I’ve been having fun thinking about why this is. Perhaps it is just an identification thing, or perhaps Steemit isn’t as well known in other countries. I’d love to meet more homesteaders from Africa, from Australia or from Europe. Upon reading this article, if you’ve changed your mind about whether or not you’re a homesteader (and hey, maybe we all have at least a littlehomesteader in us), please get in touch – go look at @pennsif‘s list, befriend some good folk, and get to know us. We’d love to have you as part of this community, wherever you come from.
Of course, the eventual outcome of this is more listings on the Homesteaders Co-Op website, which would truly be amazing. I’m going to follow @quochuy‘s lead in listing some things soon, as my hops is about to be harvested and I’m thinking about putting together an E-Book on how to make your own wicking beds. I’m so excited about getting more Australian listings on Homesteaders Co-Op, and hope that many more countries follow suite!