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I began my expert interviews for senior thesis with a local homesteader, Sarah Gabriel, yesterday afternoon. Between drilling holes in freshly-cut oak logs for mushroom innoculation, I got to ask her some questions about her views as both a homesteader and an educator (if you’re interested in her work, check out The Home Grown Institute) and came back with a rich series of notes and a new kombucha culture.
It’s worth noting that to Sarah, homesteading is all about resource management—making the most positive impact with the resources your homestead has, from sunlight to compost. This makes sustainability incredibly subjective; even recycling can be harmful if you live somewhere without enough water to clean and process used containers. For her, there are only two constants:
2. Knowing your neighbors.
Composting is relatively simple to understand; rather than taking resources permanently out of the earth to grow and fertilize food, it gives back what you consume, turning a linear cycle back into a natural, circular one.
Knowing your neighbors was a little more surprising; Sarah explained it as having to do with “human sustainability”—in short, that sustainability isn’t possible to maintain when you are stressed and overwhelmed by maintaining that lifestyle alone; knowing your neighbors adds both accountability and a new layer to an individual’s support systems.
Food for thought there?
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