Why Cultural Diversity Matters to the Modern Homesteading Movement


* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.

 

Cultural diversity is as important as plant diversity in the modern homesteading world. Here's how we can all benefit from amplifying BIPOC voices in the modern homesteading community and learning from cultures outside of our own.Have you ever noticed that when you search for homesteading resources online, the vast majority of the resources out there are written or produced from a white, Eurocentric perspective? 

I’ve definitely noticed, and it’s made me think a lot lately about the lack of cultural diversity within the online homesteading world, and how this is negatively affecting the movement (and the message) over all.

In light of recent events, including the Black Lives Matter movement that’s gained massive momentum lately, I’ve been thinking a lot more about diversity and how certain groups are severely underrepresented in the mainstream modern homesteading space.

I’ve thought about how I’ve also failed to represent different cultures and viewpoints when I’ve interviewed guests for Modern Homesteading Magazine each month; Every single interviewee in the first 10 issues published so far has been white!

But the sad part is, that didn’t seem strange to me (or even show up on my radar as an issue) before the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests and calls for change woke me up to my own role in perpetuating systemic racism in our society.

People of colour have been asking us to listen; Listen to their stories and their perspectives; Give them space to be heard, to help us learn and grow. This is something we all need to be doing right now, regardless of whether we think of ourselves as racist or not. There’s no downside to hearing other people’s perspectives, especially in a space where white people dominate the conversation most of the time.

I repeat: THERE IS NO DOWNSIDE to hearing other people’s perspectives. 

So today I want to give some space to people of colour in the homesteading world, because as a white woman with mostly white readers, there’s a lot we can learn about homesteading, farming, gardening, food security, self-reliance and sustainability from people of colour.

This is also one of the most powerful ways that we can practice being allies and anti-racists: by listening and learning.

There’s a lot to unpack here, and I know I won’t say all the “right” things or be able to write this without offending someone, but this is too important right now to not talk about. That being said, let’s talk about the importance of cultural diversity in the modern homesteading movement!

I’ve been doing a lot of digging lately, trying to find examples of BIPOC homesteaders (btw, “BIPOC” stands for Black, Indigenous and People Of Colour, in case you’re wondering).

What I’ve found is that there are actually a some BIPOC homesteaders, farmers and gardeners out there sharing their wisdom and experience in the online space, but I’ve had to specifically search for “black” + “homesteading” or “BIPOC” + “farmers” in order to find them.

Almost all homesteading-related blogs, resources and accounts that come up when I search for related topics are white owned and operated. This made me wonder how people of colour feel about the lack of representation in the online and mainstream modern homesteading community. How would I feel?

After all, it’s human nature to look up to others who look like us or who we share a common story or cultural identity with. For this reason, it worries me that this lack of representation could actually end up pushing people of colour away from the modern homesteading movement, or suppressing their voices when what we really need to be doing right now is empowering all people to become more self-reliant, regardless of race, culture, nationality, etc. and holding space for those voices to be a part of the conversation.

Not to mention, everyone can benefit and learn from more cultural diversity in the homesteading world as this means more exposure to different approaches and techniques that can help us grow, raise, produce and preserve our own food; To different edible and medicinal plants and herbs that we might not have known about before; To different dishes and methods of food preparation, cultural traditions and even ancient wisdom about using plants as food and medicine, but that we never get to learn about if we remain stuck in our own cultural bubbles.

As homesteaders, we often talk about the importance of preserving diversity when it comes to the food that we grow; Seed diversity, the preservation of heirloom vegetables and heritage breeds, the benefits of interplanting and growing a diverse array of crops instead of a monoculture… We know that more diversity means a healthier, more robust garden and ecosystem. Yet, we often overlook the importance of cultural diversity in the farming/gardening/homesteading world. Why is that??

I’d venture to say that the vast majority of us white folks have a white, Eurocentric view of homesteading, sustainability, food security and self-reliance. We tend to think of the pioneers and Little House On the Prairie, the Back To The Land movement and escaping the rat race and just generally not being reliant on “the system” to provide for us.

But different cultures have different relationships with the land and with those terms. Homesteading, sustainability, food security, self-reliance, etc. can mean very different things to different ethnic or cultural groups depending on their collective history and their ancestral relationship with the land and with colonialism.

These aren’t my stories to tell though, so today I want to direct you to some resources, including books, blogs, podcasts, social media accounts, etc.) that I’ve been directed to, and that I’m in the process of learning from right now. Please take some time to check them out and learn from them as well as share them with others in the homesteading/sustainability world.

1. Farming While Black by Leah Penniman (book)

I’ve been reading through this book for the past week and it’s not only an eye-opening personal account of what it’s often like for a black person to try to start up a small farming operation in the US, it’s also packed with really practical information and action steps to help you set up your own small farming operation (we’re talking a little bit larger than a small, personal homestead, but smaller than a typical commercial farm).

The information is specifically geared toward black people and people of colour, but a lot of it applies to all people and all of it is useful information for everyone in order to get a better idea of how the agricultural system works (and doesn’t work) for US citizens.

2. The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming by Natasha Bowens (book)

I have yet to read this one but it’s on my list. It’s about the “intersection of race and food” and highlights growers from all different races and cultural backgrounds, as well as the racial barriers they face and why food plays such an important role in preserving cultural identity. 

3. Freedom Farmers by Monica M. White (book)

Another one on my list to read, this book flips the narrative from agriculture being a symbol of slavery and oppression for black people to a symbol of resistance, justice, self-reliance and sovereignty: All foundational values of the modern homesteading movement.

4. Ron Finley (blog/Masterclass)

I only recently discovered Ron Finley from a Masterclass ad that popped up on my Facebook page and I am HOOKED on his philosophy and approach to gardening! Known as the “Guerrilla Gardener” and/or the “Gangsta Gardener,” Ron started planting vegetables in the “curbside dirt strip” next to his house back in 2010 as a way of bringing fresh produce to his South Central Los Angeles community.

Ron started growing food in the neglected parkways around his community and this act of rebellion got him in trouble with the law (go figure). He was cited for “gardening without a permit.” But that didn’t stop him. He started a petition demanding the right to grow food in his neighbourhood and authorities backed down.

Today, Ron is still working to turn South Central Los Angeles into a thriving “food forest” where men, women and children will always have access to healthy, locally grown food. Ron also teaches a gardening Masterclass where he’ll show you how to “grow your own food, keep your plants alive, and find beauty and freedom in gardening no matter the size of your space.”

Check out this short video to learn more about the powerful movement Ron started to grow and provide fresh food to his urban community.

5. Black People Grow (Instagram account)

This Instagram account highlights black farmers and gardeners and is a great place to discover new people of colour in the online homesteading/agricultural world.

6. Sundance Harvest (Instagram account/website)

An urban farmer growing organic food that’s “rooted in food justice.” From the website: “Sundance Harvest strives to provide resources, knowledge and guidance to start your own food and land sovereignty movements, create your own urban farming practice and to eradicate institutionalized racism within the food system.”

7. 1619 (podcast)

I’ve been listening to this podcast, which is all about the impact that slavery had on everything from music and culture to health care, the economy and the modern agricultural system in America. Episodes 5 and 6 titled “The Land of Our Fathers – Part 1 & 2” explore the relationship between black people and the land in the US, and how racism and prejudice presents specific barriers to black people who want to farm and grow food, even today.

This is a great listen for anyone who wants to learn more about how systemic racism impacts every facet of modern life and specifically how it connects to farming and self-reliance.

8. Undermined At Every Turn: The Lie of the Failed Native Farm On the Prairies (blog/article) 

An eye-opening account of the treatment of Indigenous farmers on the Canadian prairies and the barriers that Indigenous people have faced in the farming/agricultural world and in their quest for self-reliance and autonomy. Written from the perspective of a Métis blogger. This is especially poignant for fellow Canadians who think that we don’t have a problem with racism in our country, and it’s just one of many examples of how systemic racism has affected Indigenous people and communities all over North America.

This is by no means an extensive list. I’m still actively seeking BIPOC voices in the homesteading community and I promise to highlight more as I discover them. In the meantime, please share any more resources you may know of, including blogs, books, Youtube channels, podcasts, social media accounts, etc. by people of colour. List any recommendations in the comments below!

If you yourself are a person of colour, I invite you to add your voice to the conversation by commenting below. I would love to hear your story and your perspective on this topic if you fee inclined to share!

Let’s all do our part to amplify BIPOC voices in our community, and do the work that it takes for us to learn and grow, both as homesteaders and as human beings. Let’s start right here, right now.

In solidarity,

 

 

 

 


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

8 Comments

  1. Jamila

    Thank you so much for this post! I look forward to exploring your blog. As an African American woman and mother who is interested in homesteading and homeschooling, I have found the lack of diversity to be discouraging at times. Where I live in Ohio not only is it discouraging but sometimes it can feel unsafe and I just have to be careful in deciding where to buy land. Thank you for taking the time to write this and learn!

    Reply
  2. Carol

    As a BIPOC soon to be homesteader, thank you for your thoughtfulness and I hope it has continued!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you! I’m doing my best:)

      Reply
  3. Araina

    Thank you so much Anna. This is so beautiful. Now more than ever we need to be united in love, and I really appreciate this thoughtful and loving act.

    I highly recommend Grow Family Network and Homestead Heart on Youtube as two great BIPOC homesteaders I’ve been watching.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you for the recommendations! I’ll be sure to check them out:)

      Reply
  4. Vickie Conmy

    Anna I want to give you a big virtual hug! ?
    This is an excellent post. I so appreciate your sharing your “awakening” and the fact that you are taking the next step to educate yourself and others and share resources.
    Many of us (BIPOC) wonder if this is just a moment and when the moment passes will most White people retreat back into the comfortable place of willful ignorance. Articles like your give me hope that there are other courageous, moral, and thoughtful people who are willing to do the uncomfortable (yet rewarding) work of waking up and becoming part of the solution. As a new homesteader of color, I look forward to more inspiration from you.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Vickie!

      Thanks so much for your support. It’s time we look beyond the white, western narrative and start making space for other voices.

      I’m so excited to be discovering amazing new people in the agricultural space that I never would have found without this “movement” pushing me out of my comfort zone.

      I’m excited to do better and be better, and to hear more black and brown perspectives on Homesteading and self-reliance (and everything else!)

      Much love ❤️
      Anna

      Reply
      • Christy C.

        I realize this post is over two years old, but I wanted to leave a comment. I appreciate this post. I’m white, but I also noticed the lack of diversity in homesteading resources. I canceled my subscription to Mother Earth News several years ago for that reason. I was looking today for recommendations on blogs and vlogs by BIPOC and LGBTQIA homesteaders, so thank you for this list. 🙂

        Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
You Might Also Like
Homemade Yogurt Recipe (Plain & Greek Style)

Homemade Yogurt Recipe (Plain & Greek Style)

* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   I’ve known that homemade yogurt was “a thing” for a long time. I always considered making it myself, but it was never really at the top of my list of skills to...

read more

The Ultimate Guide to Emergency Water Preparedness

The Ultimate Guide to Emergency Water Preparedness

* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   Water. Fresh, clean, potable water—Besides air, it’s absolutely the most important thing when it comes to survival. To many people around the world who...

read more

When homesteaders hit the road for a summer road trip…

What am I missing?

@modernhomesteadingconference here we come!

(Yes, a week early, but we’ve got important business on the way;). Will I see you there???

#homesteadersbelike #homesteading #roadtrip
...

25 5

The Modern Homesteading Conference is just a few short weeks away, and I have TWO free tickets to give away to one lucky winner.

This is a live, in-person event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on June 28th and 29th. I’ll be there speaking and teaching alongside expert homesteaders like Joel Salatin (Polyface Farms), Melissa K. Norris (Pioneering Today), Carolyn and Josh Thomas (Homesteading Family), Lisa Bass (Farmhouse On Boone), Anne Briggs (Anne Of All Trades), Lisa Steele (Fresh Eggs Daily), Robyn Jackson (Cheese From Scratch) and more!

Comment “ENTER” below and I’ll send you the link where you can submit your details and enter to win!

I’ll be drawing a winner this Thursday, so make sure to enter by tomorrow night (Wednesday, June 5th) if you wanna win!

May the odds be ever in your favour 😉
...

19 4

For Mother’s Day this year, my husband is teaching our daughter to empty the dishwasher on her own. It may seem like a small feat, and for anyone who has kids who already do this and more, this may seem like nothing to celebrate. But for all of the moms who understand how much quicker and easier it is to just “do it yourself,” slowing down and allowing our daughter to take ownership of this even if it’s not perfect or takes twice as long is a huge milestone, both for her and for us as parents!

While it may sometimes feel like the work that we do day in and day out is just mundane and repetitive, the way we show up every day over many years with our children will have a huge impact on the type of people they’ll grow up to be.

What we teach them—the skills we pass on and the values we instil—will help to shape who our children become as adults, and who they become as adults will help to shape what our future world looks like.

It may seem as simple as emptying a dishwasher, but what this really symbolizes is that we’re raising a capable human being who takes responsibility for contributing to our household and is a valued member of our family. And since she will someday grow up to run her own household, possibly be a mother herself, and contribute to our future society, that means that we, as parents, (and especially us moms!), have immense power to shape what the future looks like through the simple actions we take every day to teach and empower the next generation.

All of that to say, thanks for everything you do moms! You are more valued and powerful than you know.

Happy Mother’s Day, and may someone else be doing the dishes for you today!
...

22 2

Hot cross buns are an Easter tradition in our house, so naturally I wanted to learn how to make them at home.⁣

They're surprisingly easy to make with just a few basic ingredients, including flour, dry active yeast, milk, eggs, sugar and spices, plus raisins or, more traditionally, dried currants and/or candied citrus peels. ⁣

Click the link in my bio to learn how to make your own and enjoy hot cross buns fresh out of the oven this Easter!
...

16 1

🗞 BREAKING NEWS!

I’m not always so good at sharing all of the awesome stuff I’ve got going on in life and business here on social media. When you’re a full time homesteader, business owner, editor, mom and wife, sometimes IG falls by the wayside 😬

But I just had to pop in this morning to let you know that I’m doing something I’ve never done before, and offering anyone who would like to try out my online membership program—The Society Of Self-Reliance—the opportunity to join for just $1.

Yup, you read that right: Right now, you can get unlimited access to The Society Of Self-Reliance for an entire month for just $1!

Here’s what you get access to:

🌱 Over 150 video lessons to help you build your skills in the kitchen, garden, workshop and home.

👨‍🌾 A private community of amazing people sharing their on journeys and supporting you in yours.

🫙 Our monthly live group coaching call, where you can ask questions and where I offer personalized help and guidance on your homesteading journey.

🌿 Exclusive bonuses: Get downloadable digital copies of my Home Canning Handbook and the annual edition of Modern Homesteading Magazine for free (regular $40 for both), as well as access to other bonuses, like my gardening and preserving masterclasses and bonus interviews with other top homesteaders.

I’m only offering this deal for a limited time, and after it’s over, the membership cost will be going up. But if you join now for $1 and decide you love it, you’ll still be able to continue with your membership for the introductory price of just $20/month (or $200/year).

However, if you decide The Society Of Self-Reliance just isn’t for you right now, you can cancel any time.

All you have to lose is $1, but what you have to gain is priceless:

—> Independence and self-reliance in all areas of life.
—> Security and confidence in your ability to provide for yourself and your loved ones in good times and bad.
—> Freedom from complete and total dependency on “the system”
—> Skills and knowledge you can pass down to the next generation.
—> Fellowship and community with other likeminded folks.

And so much more!

Comment “Society” below and I’ll send you the deets!
...

69 4

Me shopping for Easter candy for my kids, and walking out empty handed because it’s all full of absolute garbage!

I don’t mind my kids having sugar now and again, but I draw the line at food dies, seed oils and artificial ingredients. (Or at least, I try!)

Hey, we’re not perfect, and yes, our kids will get Easter candy on Sunday morning. Ryan has already bought some and I’m sure he didn’t check all the ingredients like I do! I’m fine with the 80/20 rule most of the time. But the meta question here, is why are these types of ingredients allowed in foods to begin with? Especially food marketed toward kids!

Yes, it’s “junk food.” I don’t expect it to be HEALTHY. But it could be made better by omitting the known carcinogenic ingredients that have been linked to everything from ADHD to hormone imbalances to cancer!

Folks, we must demand better. We DESERVE better, and so do our kids.
...

27 7

We said goodbye to a family pet yesterday. My mom has had Zoe since I was a teenager, and Evelyn has grown to love her during her visits with nanny.

It’s never easy to say goodbye to a family member, human or furry. But we don’t shelter our kids from death either. Evelyn was with us when we found our rabbits dead. She went with my mom to say goodbye to her other cat a year ago. And she knows where the chickens go when it’s their time.

Having a healthy relationship to death is important. It is, after all, the only certainty in life.

Today Ryan is heading down to clean out his dad’s place after he passed last week. They had a strained relationship, so our kids never knew him as their grandpa. But still, it’s never easy.

It does, however, teach us to be grateful for every day we’re alive, and to appreciate the ones we love while we’re still together, because you never know how much time you have left.

RIP Zozo ❤️ See you over the rainbow bridge 🌈 🐾
...

95 16

When I first started homesteading, gardening, and trying to be more self-sufficient, I had no idea what I was doing. Everything was new to me, and I had no one in my life to teach me the ropes.

I’m not a second or third or fifth generation homesteader. I’m a born-and-raised city girl who had to figure it out on my own, using books from the library and resources from the internet, and advice from random strangers on social media.

While these free resources have taught me a lot, I’ve also come across lots of bad (or just wrong) advice online, and sadly, I’ve dealt with a jerk or two in the comments section of public Facebook groups.

Eventually I did invest in online mentorship and my success from there was exponential. Now, less than a decade after leaving the city in pursuit of our new life as homesteaders, I’ve not only learned how to grow an abundance of food and troubleshoot all kinds of plant issues to ensure a healthy crop and successful harvest, but I’ve learned how to be more self-sufficient in just about every area of life.

I’ve learned how to
🌱 grow my own groceries
🫙 can and preserve my own food
🌿 make herbal medicine and natural products
💵 create multiple income streams
🆘 prepare for a wide range of emergencies
and more.

Plus, with my husband’s help, he can also
🛠 fix or build most things
so together we’ve got a wide range of skills that allow us to live a more empowered, self-reliant life.

Now I want to help you do the same…

I recently reopened the doors to The Society of Self-Reliance—my private membership program where I teach you the skills and mindset you need to become more self-reliant in every area of your life.

Not only do you get access to nearly 150 step-by-step video tutorials (and counting), you also get monthly live group coaching calls with me, and access to a private, SUPPORTIVE and knowledgeable online community of likeminded folks on the same journey.

For a limited time, you can join The Society for just $20/month (or get two months FREE with an annual membership!).

Come, join a community of people who will lift you up and ensure you DON’T starve 😉

Comment “Society” below to learn more!
...

29 7

Never before have we had access to so much information at our fingertips. Whether you have a question you need answered, are looking for a tutorial to walk you through a specific task or are searching for a recipe to help you figure out what to make for dinner, all you have to do is Google it.⁣

But the problem is that there's no real way to be sure whether the information you find on line is genuine. Is the person who wrote or shared it actually sharing their own experience, or are they too simply regurgitating answers that they Googled?⁣

As we barrel full speed ahead into the era of AI and deep fakes, it will be even more difficult to know whether the information you're getting is even from a real human!⁣

While it's definitely an exciting time to be alive, so many people are feeling overwhelmed, and are craving a return to the analog world; To a world where information was shared in the pages of trusted books and publications, or was passed on from human to human, from someone who held that knowledge not because they Googled it, but because they lived it, experienced it, even mastered it.⁣

That what sets Homestead Living magazine apart from much of the information you'll find online: We don't have staff writers, we have experienced homesteaders sharing their hard-won wisdom in each issue. And while we do offer a digital version, we're also now offering monthly PRINT issues for U.S. subscribers (Canada and elsewhere hopefully coming soon!)⁣

Plus, until the end. of January, you can get your first 12 issues of Homesteading Monthly for just $1.00!⁣

No matter where you are on your homesteading journey, if you've been feeling overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information and the noise of the online world and have been craving a return to the real, the tangible and, quite frankly, the human, Homesteading Monthly was made for you. ⁣

For homesteaders, by homesteaders.⁣

*** Comment "Homestead" below and I'll send you the link to subscribe! ***
...

39 14

© The House & Homestead | All Rights Reserved | Legal