Category: Ethics

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!

You Could Be a Homesteader and Not Even Know it!

Good day friends… @thistle-rock here with another contribution to @homesteaderscoop

photo © Heather Johnsgaard

It’s funny, but I never really considered myself a homesteader…

…that is until I joined the Steem platforms and somehow found myself drawn into a few communities, with a some of them being eco and homestead related. Who knew, I thought to myself.

All my adult life, more so in the last twenty+ years, I had essentially been living a homesteader’s lifestyle. For me it was just my everyday existence, but I soon came to realize there was a name for it, a community for it, and a growing attraction to it.

I am now part of several homesteading groups. Each one teaching me new things, allowing me to learn and grow within my chosen way of life, and I am thoroughly embracing it.

Most members cross over and you can be sure to find many familiar names within each group, fostering that true sense of community. While I find myself trying to participate within most, I tend to be most active within @homesteaderscoop as of late. It is wonderful to be able to relate to other homesteaders who are actively seeking to increase their own sustainability through not only creating wonderful products, but also offering them for sale to the general population. Yes, you too can purchase wonderfully hand made or natural products and seeds using US dollars, Steem or SBD at the Homesteaders Co-op.

But, perhaps you are still wondering,

what is homesteading and what does it really mean?

This, is not a simple question to answer, like everything in life, it is subjective to who is asking the question and who is answering it. Every definition and each response may have a different flavour; some sweet, some bitter, some profound, some simple.

Recently, I happened to be a guest on the Discord channel “The Ramble” @ramblingradio for their Creatives Coffee Hour hosted by @ArtemisNorth. This program, with its relaxed atmosphere, is a place for creatives to drop in and chat about projects they have going on. As a guest, this episode focussed on myself.

Along the way during the interview, @ArtemisNorth happened to ask me if I was a homesteader. Thankfully as I sat behind my computer screen in complete anonymity, no one saw the blank look on my face before I quickly answered that, yes, I believed I was.

it’s just my life… no label…. just me living life as best I can

Now, here I sit, a day later going over some parts of the interview in my head, wondering if I answered the question truthfully; wondering if anyone else may have seen comparisons to their life.

Thinking on it now… I can honestly and emphatically respond to her question and say, “Yes, I am a homesteader”!

So what does it take to be a homesteader?
Do you need a farm and livestock and a huge crop growing?

My answer to this may not be the same interpretation as someone else, but I believe you are a homesteader if you try to incorporate several activities or standards into you life on a regular basis wherever you are, which may include, among others, self-sustainability, ethics, handmade, and natural.

Breaking it down, it could look something like this but not limited to it:

  1. Being conscious of your own sustainability so you are not relying on others to survive. This may include:
    • providing your own power
    • growing your own food
    • making your own clothes
    • making your own tools
  2. Fostering ethical standards in the choices you make for what you buy, use and dispose of. Such as:
    • Purchasing quality handmade over mass produced
    • Purchasing ethically sourced, sustainable, organic and natural products
    • Purchasing items which will have the least ill-effect on the environment and planet
    • Making your own natural products, including cleaning supplies or remedies, rather than buying chemicals
  3. Trying to choose organic over genetically modified foods and seeds
    • Support local farmers when you can, or from other homesteaders who foster a “caring for the earth” attitude. Their foods and seeds have probably not been sitting on the shelves for long, if at all, because they use what they sell themselves
    • When you support your local farmers, you are supporting a neighbour or a friend rather than an unknown manufacturer
    • Organic and non-GMO is much more healthy for you and your family
  4. Leaving as little an imprint on the earth as you can through reducing waste, recycling, reusing, and upcycling
    • Using reusable produce and grocery bags keeps a lot of plastic out of landfills and from blowing around in the wind
    • Choose glass containers over plastic if possible, if not, use reusable plastic rather than one time use plastics
    • Turn old towels into rags or dusters or use them for spills instead of paper towels
    • Compost what waste you can, recycle others and reuse or upcycle the rest into useable objects or decor
  5. Growing your own food sources
    • If you don’t have land upon which to grow, use pots; many herbs, spices, veggies and fruits can be grown in pots
    • If you consume meat it could include raising your own lifestock for meat and dairy or purchasing directly from organic and ethical farmers
    • Trade your abundance with that of neighbours and friends for things they grow that you don’t
  6. Storing your own food
    • Canning and preserving
    • Freezing
    • Dehydrating
  7. Crafting your own clothes, tools, accessories, crafts
    • You can make your own clothing, produce bags, reuseable bags, tea towels, pillow cases and more from fabrics you currently have on hand, recycled sheets, vintage, lace, or from newer sustainable, organic, and eco-friendly fabrics
    • Fashion home and garden furnishings from scrap wood like pallets or deadfall, twigs, rocks and pebbles, homegrown gourds
    • Dried wreaths, handmade papers, and hand dyed textiles make wonderful gifts

As I mentioned above, I don’t like labels. Doing what you can, whether it be big or small, all in or just a little invested, we can all be homesteaders if we put our mind to it and take small steps. It can be challenging at times, but without challenge we can never grow or learn.

We can’t all always choose where we live, but we can choose how we live

I decided to see what the dictionary said a homesteader was. According to Wikipedia, this is what they have to say (take note of the last line):

photo © Heather Johnsgaard

Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of food, and may also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale. Pursued in different ways around the world—and in different historical eras—homesteading is generally differentiated from rural village or commune living by isolation (either socially or physically) of the homestead. Use of the term in the United States dates back to the Homestead Act (1862) and before. In sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in nations formerly controlled by the British Empire, a homestead is the household compound for a single extended family. In the UK, the term ‘smallholder’ or ‘crofts’ is the rough equivalent of ‘homesteader’.

Modern homesteaders often use renewable energy options including solar electricity and wind power. Many also choose to plant and grow heirloom vegetables and to raise heritage livestock. Homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make..
According to this, it looks like I am right on track, and you may be too but just never knew it. If you find you are actively seeking out similar values and choices, I encourage you to look into it further, perhaps you will find yourself making changes for a more self-sustainable life no matter wherever you are, no matter how big or small.
Homesteaders Co-op has been invited to participate in the Curation Corner at The Ramble (@ramblingradio) hosted by @ArtemisNorth and @shadowspub on January 29th; founder of the Homesteaders Co-op@sagescrub will be there, and if I can make, I’ll be there too.

~Until next time this has been @thistle-rock ~

USD side by side with STEEM and SBD – An ethical marketplace

We are excited to offer USD as a payment option at Homesteaders Co-op. This means that customers can shop for ethical, sustainable, handmade goods with credit card or paypal, in addition to STEEM and SBD.

Many vendors in our marketplace have already opted to accept USD as a payment method. The nice thing about our website is that you can filter product results by USD, STEEM or SBD based on your preference. Or you can leave the default setting of “All” currencies if you want to see what products are available in any currency.


USD allows us to bridge two worlds

Our vendors can offer their goods to an audience that prefers transacting in USD. Our marketplace is now open to customers that don’t even know what steem is – they can easily transact in USD.

With USD we remain a Free marketplace

We still do not take any commission from our vendors. Any credit card or paypal transaction goes straight to our vendors’ paypal accounts.

Free is Empowering

  • Vendors are empowered to have all of their profit without losing any to commissions.
  • Vendors are empowered to receive payment transactions directly from customers.
  • We are not a middleman in the finances.

Credit Card Payments don’t require PayPal accounts

Customers can support vendors with USD purchases by using their credit card. While credit card transactions go through PayPal for processing, customers do not need to sign up to PayPal.


Support Free Markets, Support Ethical Vendors

Please consider browsing our marketplace and looking for vendors that you want to support. Purchasing from our vendors supports ethical commerce, it supports individual artesians, it supports families and you receive products that have been imbued with passion, love and hard work.

Profits go Directly to Vendors – There is No Profit Pyramid

When you purchase with USD, STEEM or SBD profits go directly to the vendor. There is no corporate hierarchy. There is no fat cat sitting at the tip sifting commissions into a coffer. This is akin to buying produce at a farmers market. At the farmers market you hand money directly to the farmer’s hands. This is exactly the same, except we are online, worldwide and revolutionizing e-commerce by slowing it down and looking at what really matters and cutting out the fat.

Explore our Marketplace:

We are a new marketplace. There are two things we need a lot of help with right now:
  1. Supporting our Vendors with purchases in USD, STEEM and SBD
  2. Telling people about our marketplace. Friends, family, colleagues who have never heard of an ethical online marketplace. Our steem audiences. Please share the word!


#tribesteemup | @tribesteemup | The 8 Pillars of TribeSteemUp

Homesteaders Co-op: The Model of an Ethical Marketplace

Hey y’all, Nate here again, ready to talk about money!


The world runs on money, right? Til just recently, I think I’d join a lot of people in saying that that system kinda (okay, really) sucks. A weird notion coming from a die-hard capitalist, huh? Well, that’s because I’m an ethical capitalist. People and community are always before money, just as in permaculture:

  1. Earth care.
  2. People care.
  3. Equitable sharing.

Those are the permaculture ethics. They’re in that order for a reason, and as permaculturists, we need to recognize them and their order.

Now, I’m not here to talk politics (such a divisive and counterproductive subject usually), so I do need to point out that permaculture is an apolitical system with no heirarchy except as implied in the ethics. Permaculture doesn’t care if you’re left wing or right wing or wherever. As long as you align yourself ethically, you’re welcome here. That’s why this co-op has an emphasis on sustainable goods and is based heavily on the Steem community. Without those two requirements, what else is there to distinguish us from the unsustainable conglomerate down the street?

That’s also where crypto comes in. For the first time in a long time, we have access to a medium of exchange that is simple, available, and equitable. We have an economical ecosystem here that has lent itself to support of a community, rather than a heirarchy that we didn’t expressly consent to.

We have an outlet now for truly ethical commerce and we want to share it.

We’re here to build and support this earth first and foremost. Without that requirement, how is a system sustainable? Secondly, we’re here to build and support our community. Without people, there is no market; no economy; nowhere to make progress. We need people. And that market space is where we share by our own standards of equitability.

RebellionitsNotWhatYouThinkBitcoinPeacefulParentingBarterandAgorism 1.jpg

Ethical money. Ethical food. Ethical markets. Ethical community. That is what Homesteaders Co-op is about.

I appreciate y’all reading this far. That’s one awesome step. But the main step is to join me in conducting ethical commerce at Homesteaders Co-op. For example, go check out our newest vendor of ethically produced medicines, @ofsedgeandsalt on her Vendor Page. I’m sure she’d love to have you as her first customer through the Co-op.

Be blessed.
Be fruitful.
Stay relevant.


@nateonsteemit is a budding permie in North Texas. Family man and welder by trade, his goals inside permaculture are the advancement of Liberty and saving a few bucks. Check his intro to the Co-op here.