Have I mentioned how much I hate the terms used to describe my interests? The terms used to pigeon hole and classify us, separating us into different groups instead of uniting us. Words like Prepper, survivalist, homesteader, and even self sufficiency. You know I like definitions...so here we go...
The Merriam Webster definition of homestead is
1a : the home and adjoining land occupied by a family
b : an ancestral home
c : house
2: a tract of land acquired from United States public lands by filing a record and living on and cultivating the tract
A homesteader is the person or persons doing this and homesteading is the act of doing it.
The only definitions I could find for and Survivalist come from Wikipedia and Google but I feel like they are accurate.
A prepper is an individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of or prior to any change in normal circumstances or lifestyle without significant reliance on other persons (i.e., being self-reliant), or without substantial assistance from outside resources (govt., etc. ...)
The definition of survivalist comes in assorted flavors and types.
Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups (called survivalists or preppers) who are actively preparing for emergencies, including possible disruptions in social or political order, on scales from local to international. Survivalists often acquire emergency medical and self-defense training, stockpile food and water, prepare to become self-sufficient, and build structures (e.g., a survival retreat or an underground shelter) that may help them survive a catastrophe.
The many types include safety preparedness, wilderness survival, and self-defense. As well as those focused on readiness for disasters such as military attacks, bio-chemical warfare, collapse of the economy or natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards. There is even a group called Rawlesions who allegedly follow the teachings of James Wesley Rawles.
None of these terms really apply to me. I think I prefer the term renaissance. Merriam Webster defines it thusly.
a : the transitional movement in Europe between medieval and modern times beginning in the 14th century in Italy, lasting into the 17th century, and marked by a humanistic revival of classical influence expressed in a flowering of the arts and literature and by the beginnings of modern science
b : the period of the Renaissance
c : the neoclassic style of architecture prevailing during the Renaissance
often capitalized : a movement or period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity
: rebirth, revival
In addition the Oxford Dictionary says-(as noun a renaissance) a revival of or renewed interest in something: example...rail travel is enjoying a renaissance.
In particular I interpret it as "A rebirth of humanism and cultural achievements for their own sake through a period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity expressed in the arts, literature, modern science, and technology through renewed interests in things and cultures of the past." I've really been thinking about it a lot and what we need is an integration of the old ways with modern technology. A merging of past and present that creates an appreciation for life in its simplest form and strives to create and sustain a way of living that honors all life in the circle not just us. Imagine what DaVinci would think of our world; Miraculous inventions but no beauty in our hearts. That is not who we are and it's not the future we want either.
We are a new breed. We are going back to the homestead and nature based lives. Lives that are slower and more deliberate. Relearning skills our grandparents and sometimes great, great, great grandparents knew. However we are integrating them with modern life. Using food processors, dishwashers, pressure canners, sewing machines, GPS, and even the world wide web regularly in our homesteading. I call it a renaissance because more and more it seems our desires are just so out of place with the more, more, me, me, lifestyle of endless greed and acquisition. We have had too much and too much of it is in the end irrelevant! We just don't fit any longer. We find ourselves questioning everything. Everything from why to where and when has been and is once again being debated. In the end the world we are used to has squeezed us out. Forcing us into a brand new world. A world we could never imagine. We are in a world being reborn. Like all births there is tension and pain during the transition. Ask any mother; you’ll generally find that afterwards birth pains are sort of hazy in their memory while the joy of holding that new born for the first time is crystal clear. We are like that. The birthing pains have and still are resulting in a great many disagreements. The most noted drawback is the same one we had in the city, money. We live in what most refer to as abject poverty, seeing only the dollars involved, they see it all as a negative thing. I admit it sometimes feels that way but to us it’s become simply a part of that hazy memory of lattes, bad news and endless consumerism. What is crystal clear to us is that we're in a much more stable position than before.
Our rural area is so rich in community and has given us much. We have so many good memories to replace the old ones. Looking at our current life is indeed like holding that new born and seeing all the possibilities it hasn't yet dreamed of in its eyes. The differences are dramatic. In the city we suddenly found we could not afford even the basics of food, housing and electricity. It took a while to take an honest look at things because we are so programmed to believe that where we are and what we are doing is the way it should be that even though we saw the change coming we didn't think it could really be any different. The demands, stress and pressures of that lifestyle were not good for us. Here we are content. Here we are buying a home not renting. Here we are able to live within our means. Here we have the pleasure, release, and resetting of the ancient cycles that exist in all peoples that the garden and contact with nature in all its various moods and elements provides. Here we are aware of our connection to the earth, the food chain, and all that has been and is eternal. Here we are finding not just a lifestyle but a life in harmony with other life. We know we'll do everything we can to nurture, strengthen and protect it.
Therein lies the biggest difference my friends. Crops. Cycles. Success. Failure. Hope. They are all in tune with the planet and the universe. We as a species were meant to be in tune with the earth just as every other living thing on the planet is in tune with it. When we return to the earth we return to ourselves.
We don't have to choose technology over earth or vice versa. We can live lives that honor the earth yet integrate technology. We can create without destroying. We simply need to dream up and work out better ways of doing things. That requires knowledge. The people who know technology, machinery, energy, etc. do not know the earth and they must if they are going to find innovative solutions to the problems we face as a species. Likewise we cannot just shut ourselves off from those technologies that help us expand and grow. We are all going to need to learn. The beginning of change has to be a return of the people to the earth and we are without a doubt the first of those people. Relearning what our grandparents knew and using modern equipment to accomplish it. Here is where a new way starts. Here is where our true potentials to create miracles for ourselves, the planet, and generations yet to be dreamed of starts. We are on the very cusp, the beginning of the beginning, so here’s to a new renaissance!
As always you can join the Facebook group, like the Facebook community page, and visit the website. All of these are conveniently called “Kaya Self Sufficiency”. I hope you have enjoyed this post and I hope you are getting better at providing as much as you can for yourself and for your family, group, or community.