We love nothing more than seeing the same faces workshop after workshop at The Homestead Atlanta. It's the beginnings of a community that we hope will grow and become more influential in the landscape of the city. The only thing even better than that is when one of our workshop warriors writes a reflection on his experience and what makes him keep coming back for more.Check out this first installment of astute examinations, observations and solutions from one of our awesome Homesteaders, Kyle Bowman:
Deep down, everyone wants to feel free. At some point in your life, you have wondered what it would be like to tell your boss to shove it. At some point in your life, you have wished you could banish all those monthly recurring fees that never go away, and end the onslaught of new things to buy. Indeed, at some point, you have considered flipping society the bird and moving to the mountains or some place like Costa Rica and living the simple life, but...
We work to buy things, because we live in cities and that is the way life is.
Or is it?
It is true that we have responsibilities, but we can shift the types of responsibilities if we open our mind to a better way of thinking. I recently signed up for three urban homesteading classes (rainwater harvesting, kombucha / kefir making, and gourmet campfire cooking). When I told my friends about the classes, I received a few blank stares. I live smack dab in the middle of Atlanta. Not exactly homesteading territory.
I get it. It seems like an oxymoron.
So, how do those two things, urban and homesteading, intersect you ask?
Glad you asked. Answer = Beautifully.
It is hard to explain to the person who has no familiarity with the concept, but merely learning about homesteading opens your eyes up to a different world of possibilities. It's like a welcome peak into another dimension that has been here all along, but we’ve been blinded by advertising.
During the Homestead ATL classes, I thought to myself, "This is it. Americans are finally waking up." I also realized how important it was to spread this message as I thought of all the people who get trapped into thinking they are stuck in life. This is the opposite of how we are supposed to feel as Americans.
This becomes that
When you switch your mindset:
- I can't afford that becomes I can make that or I can grow that.
- Consumerism is replaced by creativity.
- A boring life becomes a blank canvas.
- Style and fads are replaced by craftsmanship.
- The focus on wants is replaced by needs.
- Lack of purpose is replaced by tradition and heritage.
Yes, all of the sudden, we get a glimpse of what America was supposed to be and what it still could be.
This video by Louis CK has gone viral. In it, he imagines God returning to earth and being blown away at the mess we have made. He is basically mocking a society that has gone off the rails and has totally become disconnected from each other, the earth, and even from oneself. (NSFW - strong language warning). If God Came Back - Louis C.K.
One of the reasons this has gone viral is that it plays into most people's sneaking suspicion that something is very wrong with how we are doing life in America these days.
It is easy to look around at all the challenges we face, and wonder to ourselves, “Someone is going to fix this right?”
Nope, likely not.
More likely, we will just have to change, and quite honestly, I am looking forward to it.
I have slowly come to the conclusion that the agrarian values of homesteading are the only way to really solve our problems. Rural problems, urban problems and everywhere in between problems.
So, will we see homesteads all over Atlanta anytime soon and will folks give up cell phones and computers? Likely not, but that is not the point. The point is that we need to actively pursue a greater sense of self-sufficiency, community, and harmony with this world we live in. We need to become more insulated to the effects of consumerism, global financial meltdowns, and corporate / government malfeasance. We need to reconnect to traditions and heritage that bring us together rather than isolate. In short, we need to take control of our own lives and create meaning instead of trying to buy it. That’s the gospel of Homestead ATL.
What will this look like in cities? I am sure you won't see cows roaming down Peachtree Street anytime soon, but perhaps you will see more innovative urban farms and entire neighborhoods choosing sustainable energy, harvesting their rainwater, and growing fruit trees instead of maintaining the status quo. Time will tell how all of this will look, but I can tell you this, I'd bet money that it will be better than what we are doing now.