Voluntary Exchanges on the Homesteader’s Co-op – Interview with Ben, The Liberty Hippie, of Homesteads and Homeschools

In January I recorded a podcast interview with Ben of Homesteads and Homeschools and it was just released this week. Ben is also known as @bpangie, The Liberty Hippy, here in steem. I really enjoyed the interview with Ben. He is a good guy and a smart fellow and his podcast is doing a great service. I recommend subscribing to his podcast if you like this interview.

This is the first interview that I’ve done whose audience is not folks on steem. Although inevitably some of Ben’s audience may come from steem, many do not. And so it has been a perfect opportunity for us to get our message about Homesteaders Co-op, as well as steem, to folks that may not have heard of steem yet. I believe this interview makes a good first impression not only of Homesteaders Co-op, but also of steem.

I shared more of the background story about how Homesteaders Co-op got started and how the initial idea was born. I didn’t leave much out – so you may just learn more about our beginnings! I also shared how our steem communities have inspired our project.

I’ve transcribe the interview below for anyone that would rather read than listen. It is also nice to have this message in text format that we can use in part or in whole for our outreach efforts.

This post is an update to our fundition project

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Voluntary Exchanges on the Homesteader’s Co-op – Episode #005

Direct mp3 download
Link to episode 5 on Libsyn.

Ben: Alright so today we have Noel who runs the homesteaderscoop.com. You’ll find him on steemit under @homesteaderscoop among another name he may give you here in a little bit (@sagescrub). He is out on the west coast getting this website setup for us and he’s to tell us a little bit about that today. Its pretty interesting. I think its something we can all take something from and learn something on top of the idea of community here. So Noel, welcome to the show here.

Hi Ben, thanks for having me.

Yeah no prob, thanks for coming on – I appreciate it. What are you doing now? What’s your setup right now? You got a little bit of a garden, homestead…

Yeah, so my partner and I are in Southern Oregon and we are doing a half rent, half care taking for the property we are living on in exchange for a home and garden space. So it allows us to garden while we are looking for our long term place. I grew up in suburbia so homesteading is not in my upbringing.

I grew up in the country. I’ve lived in country and city. Suburbia is one of those things I couldn’t get a grasp on it. You weren’t close enough to have the amenities you do in the city but you’re not spaced out enough where you can enjoy a little bit of quiet and solitude. Suburbia was always tough for me. So what are you guys gardening or how big of a garden do you have right now?

Well our garden is.. how would I quantify it? Its pretty decent size but its also not huge. We are in the same spot we were in last year and we grew pretty much a little bit of everything like potatoes and carrots and greens and a lot of herbs and my partner is into flower farming and I am into perennials. Looking ahead for our future property, or even just sharing with friends I am starting a lot of trees from seed because they take so long to produce. That’s my long term focus. Short term focus is growing and wild-crafting as much of our food as we can.

Very cool. Are you guys hoping to stay in that area or are you open to moving around some?

Oh yeah we love it here because there’s a lot of like minded people and a lot of older back-to-the-landers from the 80’s and 90’s that we look up to and respect. There’s a lot of modern day hippies that live around here. So there’s a whole wide range of community that we can relate to. Its kinda funny, because I went wwoofing for a few years and I was seeking out Permaculture homesteads that I could learn from and contribute to and a lot of places that I went I was used to being the weird person or one of the few that was into Permaculture or learning about that. Where I am now people don’t look at me funny when I talk about Permaculture.

Hey you know it works. That’s good stuff. I am sure there’s a bunch of knowledge that can be had from all those folks too. Definitely when you get out there and you’re ding things on your own, having people to learn from is easier to learn from someone than a book or a youtube video.

Yeah growing up I didn’t have this sense of community that I have learned now. And even outside of this community just in general I’ve found the farming and gardening communities are just really welcoming and loving. That’s what really drove me to go in this direction is connecting to people in an industry that’s just all about love and care and nurturing, for the most part. Versus working in a corporate or desk job and you’re helping the people at the top get fatter and its all about competition and greed and scarcity.

Yeah I definitely think there’s a sense of community in terms of the farming world or agricultural world. You’re relying on yourself to get the plants in the ground and at the same time there’s help there and you can help each other. There’s the self reliance and at the same time there’s a little bit more than that. Alright so moving on to the Homesteaders Co-op. Can you tell us a little bit about what that is?

Sure. And maybe I’ll just give a brief introduction how it started. And if you want any clarification just let me know, because in regard to the Steem blockchain which is a social community platform for blogging that’s rewarding cryptocurrency…

Actually I’ll rewind a little further because what my partner and I were thinking of doing a year and a half ago we were considering income opportunities for generating income on the homestead. Actually we’ve been trying quite a few. Last year we started four or five small businesses just to throw feelers out there and Homesteaders Co-op was one of them. A year and a half ago we were thinking about the possibility of doing a paid membership website where we would teach people what we are learning about homesteading coming from a suburban background. From a perspective of someone that didn’t grow up homesteading. And so we liked the idea because we had a lot of people that were interested in – just in friends and family – in what we were going through.

At the same time I stumbled across the Steem website which I had just signed on to and realized there was this really beautiful homesteading community on there. And so I thought that would be a great place to do a proof of concept and try out some ideas before going out there and building a business and a website. And so I started blogging and it was just a really beautiful experience because I was welcomed by this homesteading community and gardening community and permaculture communities on that platform that really encouraged me. Encouraged me to grow in a lot of ways, in terms of the way I communicate and communicating more from the heart, which is really beautiful in contrast to our dominant culture which encourages you to communicate from a place of fear and scarcity. After that I realized I don’t really need to create a website because here’s this blogging platform where I feel really part of the community and really encouraged to share. And I’m already being rewarded in cryptocurrency, which is not necessarily going to make a living but its encouraging me to keep sharing. And so I did.

Fast forward another half a year later, last summer, my partner and I decided to start a seed business focused on Permaculture and wildcrafting. And a long term goal for the seed business was to share perennial seeds. The short term goal was – I mean we don’t own property, and we have a temporary garden space right now, and we were in the middle of summer. But we didn’t want to let that hold us back from starting the business and just give it a shot and throw it out there and see what happens.

In terms of working with what we had and the seeds we were passionate about, we put together a small seed catalog focused on food, medicine and beauty. And we call it Seeds of Abundance because its plants that produce abundantly through food, medicine and beauty – and also seeds. And there’s a wild aspect to it. We were really inspired by Fukuoka who wrote One Straw Revolution. And just really inspired to garden more naturally. So the seed business was inspired by that. We decided to launch it and sell it for cryptocurrency for steem currency. Because we felt encouraged by our community and we felt in a lot of ways its very idealistic – its very free. There’s no transaction fees, there’s no one taking a cut of the transaction. So we thought, well, it’s kind of like mother nature and its kinda like seeds so it goes hand in hand. And seeds are meant to be free, as far as nature is concerned.

And yeah, sorry I am rambling, but just to summarize a little more and get back to Homesteaders Co-op. I started working on that website and I have a background in web design and programming before I got into homesteading. So I dusted that off and worked on a website and found a way to accept payments for the cryptocurrency. So my partner said “Hey, all that work you put in, why don’t you share that with other people?” And I thought oh my gosh, that’s a beautiful idea because not only can I share the work I’ve done and encourage other people to sell their products in this community market format, but also… So yeah, I decide to share it and went to work on expanding it to be a marketplace for homesteaders. So that’s how the idea was born. Its actually evolved so much from there.

Yeah its definitely shaped up. I looked at it a couple months ago is when it came to my first attention and talking to you. Its grown! I remember seeing a handful of vendors on there and now there’s quite a number. Do you guys… so its not just STEEM right? I can use US dollars or is it just cryptocurrency at this point?

We started with just STEEM and then we expanded to dollars. Interesting thing about that… well our vendors are accepting PayPal or credit cards through PayPal, but originally we were just using STEEM. And originally it was going to be more of a business. I was going to charge a monthly fee in order to operate. I was considering that or commissions. But at a certain point around the time we were beta testing or shortly after that I had a problem charging a fee to vendors because first of all its going to be a while before we have a lot of sales. And I know that’s going to be money out of pocket for our vendors. And most homesteaders are on a shoestring budget so its a contradiction.

I had a big ethical dilemma early on and there’s that whole part of me that was trained for greed and profit from a young age that was contradicting the ideals of wanting to share something beautiful with a community. For a little bit there I was in a really tough spot emotionally and ideologically. Finally decided that I was inspired enough to keep working on it and give it away for free without charging commissions.

I realized that I really wanted to embody sharing this with my friends and community and see where it goes and follow the inspiration and if one day I don’t find a way to make it work sustainably, I can always charge fees later. But in the meantime, I was letting that passion for sharing drive me forward.

The beautiful thing that came out of that – a lot of things but – in terms of transactions, we didn’t have to be a middleman in transactions, so our website is basically a venue and it creates a venue for customers to find vendors and purchase a product. Once the customer goes through to purchase the product, the transaction goes through directly from the customer to the vendor. That’s both with STEEM and PayPal. We never touch that money. Its a lot more private, its a lot more secure. If our website ever gets hacked, there’s not passwords or private keys to be stolen. The vendors and customers take that responsibility on themselves.

I think its a lot more rewarding and empowering for people to transact just like they do in the farmers market because when you got to a farmers market and buy some veggies from a farmer, there’s not a market manager coming in the middle saying “Hey, hand that money over and I’ll take 3%”, or whatever, before it gets to the vendor. That’s the way that e-commerce works in the case of etsy and amazon and everybody else. They take the transaction. It makes sense because they have to be sustainable, but it creates the culture of profit being the first driving priority, which eventually evolves into a money hungry company if it grows big enough, that’s only caring about the vendors or customers that are making them a lot of money.

So for example – what we are doing helps to alleviate problems, like edge case – the little guys that are being ignored, for example we have vendor outside United States that can’t use etsy anymore because etsy stopped allowing international withdrawals by paypal. And they only make a few sales a month and so they have to use a wire transfer to get their money since they can’t use PayPal and the wire transfer eats up all their profit. So its like, there’s no point. Unless, you know, they have to look at it another way – they’re forced to get bigger. That’s what everybody does, they focus on the profit because that’s what is encouraged.

And that’s one of the things that struck me about this. More acts as a facilitator between the two different parties. It lets you do your business on your own and theres nobody gets in the middle demanding that you adhere to XYZ. That’s one of the things I thought was unique and interesting. Along the lines of decentralization and the whole idea of the blockchain and make things more personal. That’s something I really appreciate, seeing that people can actually get along and do things voluntarily and not be forced into paying exhorbitant fees just to get your own money.

Yeah there’s a lot of experimentation going on just in general in blockchain and a lot of it is really exciting because without less control and less force being in the picture, we are or we can be a lot more inspired and follow our ideals without feeling fear. There’s a lot of new territory so there’s a lot of experimentation going on and we’re glad to be a part of it. Just following that model as we evolve our community, community is following that model as well and opening up to having less control in terms of the structure and how we operate. So we have contributors that are helping to run our blog and market our community marketplace and as we go along its becoming more of a community feeling and less of a company feeling.

Part of that evolution is operating in a hybrid gift economy. We will be creating more opportunities for gifting and purchasing by donating or giving gifts away for free. In terms of sustainability we’re going to be exploring ethical advertising and gifting advertising to companies that we believe offer value to our marketplace and our customers, rather than putting whatever pays the most in front of their face and saying this is what we want you to click on. I like the idea of choosing advertisers that can offer real value and asking them to contribute something in terms of knowledge or information and we can say we really believe in what they are doing and their ethics align with our ethics. Those are all things we will be exploring in terms of different ways of feeling rewarded, compensated. Its really inspired a lot by gifting that is happening on the steem blockchain. Its very much inline with what you might see in your family or tight group of friends, gifting each other things because they love each other or they care for one another. Maybe a close group of gardeners. And we see sharing seeds and silver rounds and care packages and things like that. Its not for money – its for the joy of giving and the joy of seeing the excitement of those things being received. So we want to encourage more of that, but at the end of the day people have to make a living too. So its not like we want to live in a false world where its only ideals. Obviously there’s the money aspect, so we want to encourage both sides of things and not just be in a black and white, cut and dried world where things are all about profit.

Yeah, I think that’s something there. Because you do, you have to make money to get buy. But at the same time, you fill in little holes, whether its bartering or gifts. Or things like steemit… you said earlier you’re not going to make a living off it, but its something. Have ways to fill those little holes can be really helpful. If you go buy seeds for your garden, you’re going to drop 50 bucks, 100 bucks on seeds depending where you get them from. So if you can find a way to trade for those or get them from someone else instead of a big company, corporation that does all that. I appreciate that. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about what products they have. Homesteaders Co-op, you guys talked a little about perennials seeds, what else you got going on there?

Good point, thanks for reminding me, that’s the exciting part. Oh yeah and first of all, its an international marketplace. Like a lot of the blockchains, we are opening to crossing borders. We have over 20 vendors now in 8 different countries. Roughly half of that is in the United States. And the other half are spread across countries like Australia, Canada, Mexico, Spain –

Speaking of Spain we had a couple vendors join us that started a women’s Co-op in Spain and I was really excited to hear about it because they are all single mom’s living in an eco-village living as sustainable as possible, as close to zero waste as possible, supporting each other. But they don’t have a lot of opportunities in the local market because they live in kind of impoverished area. So they are really grateful to have a place to sell to a larger audience.

So you have people like that that are selling internationally, then you have folks that are selling within their own country. And you have all kind of mixtures, so we’re just leaving it open. The vendors specify where they ship to, how much their shipping costs are and what kind of products they offer which can be virtual downloadable products – for example…

We have one vendor in Canada that has an e-book for raising chickens and its quite in-depth e-book and its only $8 and it teaches you everything you need to know about raising chickens. And we have physical products. We have like you said, seeds, people selling honey. Actually two vendors selling honey in the United States and in Portugal. And we have a couple vendors selling naturally dyed clothing using herbal dyes – and they are really beautiful. We have someone making handmade pouches and purses and a natural wreath maker from homegrown flowers. And much more than that as well.

And we have a lot of people excited to vend as well and a lot of people are signing up. So we are growing fairly quickly. But I am also just appreciating this opportunity because we definitely want to get the word out there more, for growing more. But we don’t want to grow too big because we want to stick to the homesteaders niche, because we don’t want to be the next etsy or grow in that direction of getting as big as we can. We want to find that nice balance of growing so there’s a thriving economy, but not getting so big so that that it causes us to sacrifice our ideals.

But that’s the other thing in terms of decentralizing and being inspired to decentralize into a community effort versus a top down pyramid, I’ve been inspired to want to share our website with other marketplaces. We are still building a solid base for our website, but I’ve been looking for opportunities and the right individuals to share our website with. For example I would love to see a community driven artists co-op that is enabling artists to sell their artwork. Or a handmade toy marketplace. I am sure there’s lots of opportunities. So instead of trying to be everything, it would be really cool to enable other community driven marketplaces. And being community driven, they could really have the opportunity to thrive.

Yeah, one of my thoughts going through my head – you have the homesteaders thing, but you can break that up and share it out. Because its community based – I am sure there’s communities all over.. all sorts of things that I might not be interested in, but someone else is interested in. That’s the beauty of having it be so specific. You’re passionate about this. So if I am making basketballs, you might not be that interested in it, but someone else can do it. The community and culture can build around this. That’s what I like about the idea, the specificity of it and who it speaks to.

Yeah, it would be great to see that happen and then have a distributed network of marketplaces that are autonomous by their own communities. But even those marketplaces can form a larger community that all support each other, rather than supporting the guys at the top. It could be a more – decentralized is a good word. Its interesting because, actually before I even got into this whole stuff and several years back I was gardening, before I was into homesteading. And I was swapping seeds with my neighbor and I thought there is a really big need for a peer to peer marketplace for sharing seeds online and having different opportunities for sharing seeds out there. There’s well known seed companies. There’s a few website where people can share seeds but they’re not really user friendly or even well known. I never explored the idea but recently after putting my seeds on this marketplace and another vendor started putting their seeds, and actually some really cool seeds, and getting sales. Another vendor said they want to share their seeds and it just donned on me.. this could be that website, even though it wasn’t intended to be. It could be a peer to peer seed selling and swapping website. And I am really excited about seeing if it evolves in that direction because having things be more open is cool because the community can decide which way it goes. I am sure there’s a lot of opportunities that I haven’t even thought of yet that can come up in the future.

Yeah, lots of growth potential there. That’s exiting to watch. It will be fun to watch it grow. I wish I had the time to get involved…

But you already are! I appreciate you so much!

Yeah, no problem. So before I let you go, is there anything we didn’t get to about the Homesteaders Co-op that you want to let people know?

Oh yeah, well first of all the website is homesteaderscoop.com – that’s just one word, no dashes. And check it out because there’s some cool stuff on there. If it is interesting to you, subscribe or come back. We are going to have more vendors and more products in the future. And if you really find value in it we do have a crowdfunding page in fundition. I’d be happy to share the link for your show notes. It also outlines some of our short term goals of where we want to take it in the short term, which could be interesting to read about.

Yeah, we’ll definitely get those links in there. And I was going to ask you earlier if you have a donation page or some way to help fund it. Sounds like you do.

Mmm hmm. And that is helping to fund through steem, other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or ether and also paypal. I am not really asking for a lot of donations right now, because right now I am feeling that we need to build this and make it really thriving and see where it goes. We’ve only been online for about two months now, but already this month – and January is not over – we’ve already made a couple hundred dollars in sales for our vendors and 100% of that goes straight to our vendors like I was saying. Its really exciting to see that and I’d like to see them rewarded more for their hard work because as most of your audience probably knows, homesteaders are super hard working and always constantly questioning what ideals they want to or don’t want to sacrifice, because at the end of the day there’s only so much time and so much money.

Most of us are homesteading because we believe in the world we want to live and lead and leave to future generations. Right now my drive is empowering and supporting those kind of people – and also getting their products and messages into the hands of people that care about it. I feel that our marketplace and the economy that we are building is not just about the products, its about the message too. We have so much to learn about – I mean… its better to focus on the solutions than the problems, because there are so many problems. There’s a bunch of people here, and probably a lot of people in your audience too, are trying to make the world a better place and doing the best with what we’ve got. That’s why community is so important, because we can’t do it alone. Yeah, that’s our message.

Good deal. I can subscribe to that. Alright, thank you!

This is an update to our fundition project: Free Community Marketplace for Handmade Goods in STEEM/SBD

‐ @sagescrub

Thistleworks Designs – Offering quality handmade items where beauty meets functionality; with a few items of whimsy thrown in just for fun.

I love seeing @thistle-rock‘s store because her offerings are as diverse and unique as her personality, which is full of joy and vibrancy! Her store already has quite a few products but I do believe she has more products of different sorts that will be added in the future so follow her and keep an eye out!

@thistle-rock is a crafter, sewer, knitter, artist, and the list goes on and on! As she says she is a jack of all trades and I love that she does not confine herself or her products, and instead lets the creativity flow! She is currently offering downloadable coloring pages, handmade and sewn apron, tea cozy, placemat and tea towels.

In addition, @thistle-rock offers graphic design services. Specifically she is offering to help you layout your next book that you want to self publish!

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@thistle-rock now accepts STEEM, SBD and USD for handmade items, coloring pages, graphic design services and more!

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In their own words (borrowed from their Homesteaders Co-op store):

I have always considered myself a jack of many arts, master of none, for my interests are many and I am not content to play with only one medium.

From bird houses to painted rocks, home decor to clothing, purses and placemats, aprons and tea towels, colouring books, colouring pages, and more, I invite you to browse my wares, you just might find what you are looking for right here.

I love colour, it sets my blood to tingling. Colour draws me in, captivates me. Whether it be paint, fabric or thread, it whets my appetite and the urge to create burns like a fire within.

I paint, sew, build, mold, draw, design and do needlework…. it is for this reason my arts will always be unique; it is for this reason, you will find the shelves of Thistleworks Designs filled with an eclectic mix of offerings.

You can browse @thistle-rock‘s products at: Thistleworks Designs online shop

@thistle-rock is based out of Canada and ships internationally! (Homesteaders Co-op is an international marketplace)

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Learn more about Thistleworks Designs and browse their products: https://homesteaderscoop.com/store/thistleworks/

silvia beneforti offers artworks and handmade products for a nice lifestyle

We are happy to have the talented artist @silviabeneforti join our international marketplace with handmade artwork, products and printable (downloadable) toys. Downloadable, printable toys are genius and darling! A perfect gift for kids or the child in yourself 😉

I can describe her style as whimsical, cute, gentle, fun, friendly, peaceful and warm. Her artwork is bound to bring joy into your life! 

I really appreciate Silvia bringing lessons her family taught her about sustainability into her life and her work. Aside from growing much of her own food Silvia strives for minimal waste, including using recycled materials, when possible, in her artwork and products.

I personally believe this is the direction we should all be heading and challenging ourselves and our friends to find creative ways to be more sustainable. Bravo Silvia!

@silviabeneforti now accepts STEEM, SBD and USD for artworks and handmade products

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In her own words (borrowed from their Homesteaders Co-op store):

Since I was a child my family has the habit to try to make a positive impact on the environment, because we lived in a small village between many forest where everyone knew how important is to take care of the environment. Now I live in a small city in Tuscany (in the center of Italy), a small green area where everyone can easely lives taking care on the Nature around us. Simple actions that help to make our world better day by day. For example, since I was a child, in my family we have the habit to reduce the trash in different way: we buy just durable things (no throwaway plates and forks, for example), to re-use and recycle the most part of the things. Thanks to my father who has a large garden, we can eat veggies all the years, our own veggies. I use a similar approach also in the most part of my creative works, for example I love to recycle the cardboard boxes to give them a new life in form of sculptures or like a surface to paint. In my shop you’ll find some of my artworks inspiring by animals (paintings on paper or little sculptures), some of my handmade pocket journals featuring my own illustration and a lot of different things, all of them made by my hand in my own lab-house and using different materials I find in my area.

You can browse @silviabeneforti‘s products at: Homesteaders Co-op

@silviabeneforti is based out of Tuscany, Italy and ships internationally! (Homesteaders Co-op is an international marketplace)

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Learn more about silvia beneforti and browse her products: https://homesteaderscoop.com/store/vumap/

Recipe for Success: Tell the world about your passions…

Imagine a world where everyone can follow their passions without fear of being shamed. A world where people don’t have to shy away from doing what they truely like to do, because there would be no judgment. Imagine a world where no one says that a life of art or music, or any other kind, is near impossible.

I see it as a world where happiness is the norm. Where competition is only existant to further grow our spirit. A world where people are free to think.

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We have normalized an extremely boring way of life. Though there has always been the exception of a few marginalpeople here and there, the packaged lifestyle that seems to become main stream on every continent, with the same programing coming out of the soap box, has a newly awekened competitor!!!

This competitor I’m talking about is this wave of folks finally understanding (myself included) that happiness lies in being free to let your passions play out.

Maybe… Don’t quit your day job just yet!

I love to hear stories of people dropping out of their current life to follow their passions. They typically give it everything they’ve got and the stories are almost always full of joy and ease. While these stories may exist, I would be more inclined to believe that most go through hardships, failures and many a plans gone wrong along the way!

It is very challenging to let go completely of one way of life for another. But when passion is the main source of power pushing that change, it can be used as a very good place to start from.

We ourselves our going through this very same challenge. As much as I admire the ones who can drop everything to kick-start their new life of passion, we decided it would be better if I kept working part time. I can assure you, there already has been a few difficult obstacles along the way!!!

Working part-time, I am making less money, but keeping our health coverage, one of the shackles in the Unites States I have hard time breaking! That being said I’m very greatful to have found the kind of job that lets me come and go as I please and keep a full medical insurance plan that costs me close to nothing.

But keep dreaming!

As we are traveling at this very moment through Costa Rica we visited a community that has been building a life from their passion of community, homesteading and sustainability. They are a perfect example of success from having followed their dreams and passions! If you get a chance to check it out, here is their info: Rancho Mastatal

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Over the course of 18 years, they have come accross quite a few obstacles but they never stopped reaching for their dream and here they are now a world renowned Sustainability Education Center.

I will soon be posting about our stay at Rancho Mastatal on my personal page @SenorCoconut, it was very inspiring and really confirmed that we’re not completely crazy, to follow our dream of building something similar in New York state!


My point is, don’t be afraid to tell EVERYONE about your passions and your dreams, this is how you can connect with others who share the same mindset and who will encourage you to continue on.

Just like the community around @homesteaderscoop, you too can follow your heart and make your passions and dreams a reality. Everything is possible and don’t forget it.

Until next time…
@SenorCoconut

PS: If you, or anyone you know would like to join us in building the kind of tribal lifestyle in self reliance I mentioned, please get in touch with me 😁!

Steem Communities Teaming Up – Promotional Video and Onboarding Steemians

A lot of positive ideas, activities and acts of generosity have been popping up around Homesteaders Co-op this last week. Among which we have been blessed with the love and generosity shown to us by our big sister community @naturalmedicine, led by @riverflows.

Those of us steemians that have been around for a while know that one of the reasons many of us stay in steem is because of our communities, aka tribes. Steem allows us to freely and naturally form and group together in tribes, satisfying one of our basic human needs.

Onboarding and Communities

One of our goals in Homesteaders Co-op, and also outlined in our Fundition project plan, is onboarding new steem members via Homesteaders Co-op. Now that we have a solid base in our online marketplace technology we are shifting gears to put more emphasis into marketing and onboarding via our community co-op.

In our last fundition update we spoke about our new logo design by @frejafri (vendor in our community marketplace and talented illustrator) who helped us create this design that will part of our first impression to steem and the rest of the world! This branding is crucial in crafting an image for our marketplace of steem humans.

Following the design of our new logo, @riverflows stepped in to create a video to promote our Homesteaders Co-op both within steem but also outside of steem. Being a contributing author of the Homesteaders Co-op blog and closely connected with many of our vendors, she is very aware of our co-op’s mission, qualities and ethics.

@crosheille describes the video:

Wow this video gave me an emotional high, like seriously! Seeing all of the beautiful, natural homegrown and homemade items almost got me teary eyed. THIS is what we need more of. Knowing I can go to a marketplace to buy wholesome things for my family just makes acquiring Steem and Sbd even more worthwhile! @homesteaderscoop is gonna change the game! I hope everyone gets with it and joins in to support their efforts!

This is the type of reaction that steemians are having when they see our new promotional video, this is the type of reaction folks have when they get to know Homesteaders Co-op’s vision, mission and ethics.

This video says it all

@naturalmedicine and @homesteaderscoop

@riverflows is a crucial member of Homesteaders Co-op community and she is the leader of @naturalmedicinecommunity. It is really perfect actually that both Homesteaders Co-op and Natural Medicine came together in the production of this video.

To have this video made as a result of two communities connecting, reciprocating, sharing, inspiring and gifting one another creates a positive intention which we can carry forward.

The intention of love is imbued in this video and will carry forward in our message to the world. And this is the message that we want to send to folks about our favorite communities on steem.

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Announcing Our New Logo! Designed by @FrejaFri

I am very excited to present to our community the new Homesteaders Co-op logo which has been in design for a little while now by the talented @FrejaFri.

After seeing the beautiful illustrations that @FrejaFri had included in her online store FireFly Creations I thought that her natural style of illustration would be perfect for re-designing our logo in her unique style. Freja gladly agreed to help us with the new logo!

We will be sharing more about @FrejaFri and her talented illustrations and artwork that are available in Homesteaders Co-op in the near future. For now I would like to share her talented work with you all!

This post is an update to our fundition project

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Nature is our home

The tree is a symbol of nature. As homesteaders we recognize that we humans are not only reliant on nature for our well being, we are part of nature! This knowledge helps us realize the need to take responsibility to live with more respect towards nature and living more sustainably.

Family

When we look to nature as family we treat plants, animals, air and water with respect and responsibility, rather than seeking what we can gain from nature. Likewise viewing our human counterparts as family helps us find respect and responsibility in our relationships rather than looking only for personal gain.

Symbiosis

Healthy relationships are symbiotic. We strive for symbiosis not only with our fellow humans but also with all the life forms visible and invisible in the natural world.

Community

A tree can provide a habitat for a whole host of communities of mammals, birds, worms, insects, microorganisms and more with food, water, air and shelter. Our human communities rely on all of the natural communities to thrive.

A Love for Nature

We are designing our Co-op based on observations made in nature. We realize that the most helpful mode of competition is through cooperation. If we only focus on competition we lose sight of family and we lose sight of the sacred connections between us all.

Our Homesteaders Co-op is a space where we can honor the connections between ourselves. After all we are all family in our global community. While technically we are all competing with each other, if we have understanding that our peers are our family we want them to succeed alongside us. One individual’s success is the success for us all.

If we only compete our greed will lead to loss of balance. We see this already today in our mainstream consumer culture where we humans are commodified. Homesteaders Co-op is a response to some of the social problems that we face due to greed.

We believe in pursuing a healthy balance of both competition and co-operation between our communities and between our members. Without co-operation we lose touch of the connections between, ultimately, all life.

We can perceive a connection as a channel for obtaining more (money, fame, power, etc) or we can perceive connections as channels for both giving and receiving of support, love, energy. When we recognize and practice symbiosis through our connections we all thrive.

Homesteaders Co-op is a Community Account

Homesteaders Co-op is a venue for our community to share value. Both as a marketplace where goods and services can be exchanged and also as a venue for sharing knowledge, ideals, ethics and inspiration with each other. I see that one of our community’s greatest value is inspiring each other!

Since we are a community account we’ve put together our new logo in several formats that can be used by our community here in steem and also outside of steem, in sharing and promoting our co-op!

I am listing several logos, icons and badges below for you to use in any way that you wish!

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Thank you @FrejaFri for Designing this Beautiful Logo!

Working with Freja on designing this new logo is a perfect example of the beauty of community connections! If you love our new logo, please pay @FrejaFri‘s online store a visit and see all of the beautiful artwork that she has available for STEEM, SBD, USD. And you can even commission her to design your next logo or other custom artwork!

FireFly Creations – Arts and Crafts from the Forest

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This is an update to our fundition project: Free Community Marketplace for Handmade Goods in STEEM/SBD

Sunscapes Soap Shop – Natural, Handmade Soaps

@sunscape has brought her handmade, natural soaps to Homesteaders Co-op! Her soaps are made in small batches, by hand with lots of love. What I find amazing is the myriad of soap creations limited only by @sunscape‘s imagination and creativity. There is surely a soap for everyone here; men, women, children, allergy sufferers and vegans!

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@sunscape‘s products are not limited to soap bars. She also offers scrubs, cleansing sprays, baby soap and bastille soap. Be sure to check out all of her offerings!

@sunscape now accepts STEEM, SBD and USD for Handmade Soaps

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In their own words (borrowed from their Homesteaders Co-op store):

I am delighted to bring my soap & soak creations to the Homesteaders Co-op. I focus on using all-natural oils, butters, essential oils, clay, herbs, flowers, sea salt, and of course fragrances too in all the products I offer. It is my passion to be creative, and inspirational to others by enjoying Mother Nature’s beautiful bounty while making the handmade creations to nurture your skin. Be sure to enjoy some of Sunscapes Soaps today.

All of Sunscape’s Soaps & Soaks are full of skin-loving oils, butters, clay and natural glycerin, with skin-safe, high quality fragrance and/or essential oils that make up a variety of soaps, scrubs, bath soaks and often essence sprays. Sunscapes Soap Shop has a large vegan-friendly line of soaps and products for those that enjoy a Vegan lifestyle.

Our soaps are handmade, hand cut, and cured for 6 weeks minimum before being offered for sale. The colors in my soaps can range from natural botanical powders, spices or infused oils to natural mica and pigments that have had Mother Nature’s heavy metals removed. This allows me to create beautiful, enriching, Artisan skin safe soaps for you to enjoy.

You can browse @sunscape products at: Sunscapes Soap Shop

Sunscapes Soap Shop is based out of New York, United States and ships within United States! (Homesteaders Co-op is an international marketplace)

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Learn more about Sunscapes Soap Shop and browse their products: https://homesteaderscoop.com/store/sunscapessoapshop/

The Homesteader’s Mindset: A Key to Making the World a Better Place.

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Let’s face it, we probably live better today than we have in the last few millennia. Just a few decades ago, the guillotine was still working. While I don’t believe in the death penalty, it may actually be one of the more humaneways to kill someone, though still a very medieval and gruesome practice, that was often publicized.

We can all recognize that the majority of humans live a more comfortable life than our recent past. Medical and civil advancement made our way of life much more bearable than it could have been just a few centuries ago. There could be a lot of debate on this, but between the beginnings of agriculture and colonization, I think we can agree that there has been much unnecessary pain in this world.

While today we are not enslaved in the same sense as when people were kidnapped from Africa or China and so many other cultures, we have constructed ourselves a strong mental cage to live in. Like it or not, we are trapped and most of us chose to ignore our dilemma while others enforce it. It often feels as though only a very few can see clearly that these shackles of mental enslavement must be broken.

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What can we do when faced with this reality, what actions can we take?

With the advent of the internet, and a growing consciousness for freedom (of thought and being), we can see that accross the whole planet there are more than a handfull of folks walking the path of self-reliance. Looking into the world of modern homesteading and prepping we can find the people actually making a difference and taking matters into their own hands.

Weather you’re in a small apartment, in a caravan or you have farm land, all you need is that mindset. As @thistle-rock explains so beautifully in this post, you could be a homesteader and not even know it.

The moment you start thinking about growing your own food, or finding some sort of independance from the masses, you are in a position to make the world a better place.

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We don’t have to feed into the madness of consumerism!

When we chose self-reliance because we want to have control over the ingredients our families ingest or because it can be a more affordable life, we will always be prepared for change. We will always have the upper hand for adapting to new situations. Having this ability can really open up one’s mind to make due, everytime.

Unblinded by the images of consumerism, we clearly see the difference between preference and principle.

Having had some sort of compassion for Mother Earth most of my life, I have noticed that the majority of folks with a homesteader’s mindset often feel the same way. The respect for our selves must come with a great respect for our planet… How else could we care for one another if it wasn’t for the greater health of this earth, our home? The same goes for our own health, how can we survive as a species, if we continue this course of natural genocide we’re on? With a little practice, I think we can remember our tribal ways and help each other make the most of our natural life to include the many generations to come.

Luckily there seems to be a revival of sustainability, autonomy and self-reliance living, to me this is one of the great news for humanity!

Lead by example, my homesteader friends, and love yourselves… You deserve it!

Until next time…
@SenorCoconut

PS: We are still looking for people to join us in building that crazy Multi-Family-Artist-Homestead, with Re-Wilding and Anarchist Tendencies, so if you or someone you know may be interested, please contact me… 😁!

PPM Silver Cosmetics – high silver concentration cosmetics, including Smart Colloidal Silver

@ppmsilver is one of Homesteaders Co-op newest vendors and also relatively new to steem. Their new business is centered around offering high quality Colloidal Silver products which among many other benefits, is well reputed as a strong anti-microbial.

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I know from speaking with @ppmsilver that they, as a family, are dedicated to sustainability in their lives which is apparent in their decision to homestead, raise bees, chickens, gardening, and fishing. They buy and barter as much as possible in their local community.

@ppmsilver now accepts STEEM, SBD and USD for Colloidal Silver products. They are offering a 10% discount for products purchased in STEEM or SBD.

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In their own words (borrowed from their Homesteaders Co-op store):

In late 2014, we began creating the process and apparatus to make real colloidal silver we could use around our northeast Oklahoma homestead. Our manufacturing process soon advanced beyond anything else we knew of. I partially retired in mid-2016, limiting my work to part-time consulting, so I could allow more time to further improve our colloidal silver manufacturing method. We continued to refine the process over the next two years, ultimately producing over a hundred test lots. The resulting colloidal silver was as good or better than anything else available, in terms of quality—smaller in particle size and higher in concentration.

During the development, family and friends found additional uses for our colloidal silver, and they began encouraging us to sell it. In mid-2018, we decided to scale up the manufacturing process to support sales for household and cosmetic uses. Smart Colloidal Silver was born.

You can browse @ppmsilver‘s products at: Homesteaders Co-op

@ppmsilver is based out of Oklahoma, United States and ships within United States. (Homesteaders Co-op is an international marketplace)

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Learn more about PPM Silver Cosmetics and browse their products: https://homesteaderscoop.com/store/ppm-silver-cosmetics/

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

I was really delightfully surprised to see how many people came out to chime in with their thoughts on the Challenge: What are you doing to claim food sovereignty for yourself or your community, and why? With this amount of interest I am inspired to open up new challenges from time to time around the theme of freedom and resilience.

I sure did learn a lot and came away very inspired to see real examples of what can be done to accomplish food sovereignty for families and communities with a good plan, some hard work and a lot of love.

Incredible! We had 12 entries sharing lots of wisdom and inspiration about food sovereignty.

It was extra hard to choose the winners of this contest because there were so many amazing entries!! But alas I narrowed it down to the following three:


1st Place: @wildhomesteading

Your post My Response to – Challenge: What are you doing to claim food sovereignty for yourself or your community, and why? was really telling of your knowledge, hard work to build food sovereignty for your family, and your willingness and dedication to invite your local community to learn with you, as well as dedicating yourself to teaching online. I’ve transferred your 10 STEEM winnings to your wallet. Congratulations!

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.

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2nd Place: @ligayagardener

You really outdid yourself with two entries to this challenge! Part 1 and Part 2. Number of entries aside, your dedication to your family’s food soveriengty is impressive. Supporting already 60% of your family’s diet, despite a small growing space, and increasing every year is quite a feat. I was especially impressed by your willingness to share your time with your community to build spaces to share food, knowledge, inspiration and community resilience. Great going @ligayagardener! I’ve transferred your 5 STEEM winnings to your wallet. Congratulations!

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.

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Until last year, when the trees weren’t big enough, we got about 20% of our food needs from the garden, mostly through annual plants . This year, it’s about 60% as the trees and bushes are beginning to yield and we have made the small, experimental aquaponics system into a big one. Even with the big extension to the aquaponics, that only adds a bit less than 10 square metres to the equation but it does allow paved and fence space to by utilized.

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3nd Place: @riverflows

I was personally really drawn to your post A Revolution in Dirt and Seeds: Answering @Sagescrub’s Challenge on What We Can Do to Increase Our Food Sovereignty, but I also believe your words have the potential to inform and inspire many others. I appreciated the bit of history and culture that you opened with. It was really beautiful to know how you have generously shared your time and effort with your community to inspire and empower them to garden for community resilience. Great work @riverflows! I’ve transferred your 5 STEEM winnings to your wallet. Congratulations!

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.

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Keep scrolling for the rest of the wonderful entries to this challenge. Thank you everyone for contributing your time and thoughts on this subject!


FOOD SOVEREIGNTY – WHAT IT MEANS TO ME

by @papa-pepper

After some reflection and contemplation, I decided to record an attempt at a coherent ramble, so hopefully it worked and people will understand what I’m up to and why. Basically, I believe that there is much wisdom in taking control of things as precious as your own food supply, and much of what is considered to be “food” is becoming increasingly compromised. Here, we want to first of all do it ourselves, and in the process, encourage, inspire, educate, and equip others to do the same. (I cover more in the vlog below.)

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Food sovereignty, how we participate.

by @warfsterveld

Now after years of trial, error and lots of learning we grow most of our food ourselfs. Still there is always more knowlegde and skills out there and that is a great asset as well. Once you’ve grown that tomato plant you will eat so much that you don’t know what to do with it anymore. That is when you start you first skill: canning. Nowadays besides canning we also make bread and cheese quite regularly. However my favorite crop of all remains the potato.

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Eco-$aver Potlucks

by @eco-locals.com

Our food is a primordial connection to all things. It is one of our biggest expenses and can be a huge stress on our health, environment and quality of life. Let’s use these insights to build stronger and greener communities. Here’s how it works. Find a few friends, the more the better.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

HARD…
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?