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Do we really want to be pioneers or homesteaders?

 
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Should we in the permaculture community really be identifying with and using the language of pioneering and homesteading? Permaculture draws heavily from the wisdom and methods of primarily indigenous peoples, emphasizes the importance of the commons, and fundamentally insists that human activities be regenerative toward the environment and resdistributive in terms of surplus (i.e. the fair share principle).

In the U.S. context, a pioneer was one who participated in the seizure of common lands held by indigenous people with the backing of the armed U.S. state. This land, often much more sustainably managed by indigenous inhabitants, was broken up into private parcels dolled out to pioneers who were willing to go to the land. Often, these efforts included devastating logging and other acts of environmental destruction, as well as displacement of and violence towards native peoples. This was a movement of domination of human beings and land in the interest of individual property accumulation and colonialism. Homesteader in this context is often interchangeable with pioneer, and mostly references those who acquired their land through the Homestead Act.

Basically, the legacy of pioneering and homesteading is isolated parcels of private land separated from the commons that permaculture promotes; forcible seizure of lands from indigenous peoples who contributed much of what we call permaculture; and highly destructive and extractive relations with the environment, which is at odds with permaculture. Honestly, the only thing I see in common is that some homesteaders planted food and tried to provide their own needs as much as possible. Isn't permacultue more that that?

It seems to be a confusing thing to equate these two approaches, and even more confusing to want to claim to be a continuation of these legacies.
 
pollinator
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By your definitions, I would not want to be either a pioneer or a homesteader. BUT...... that's because of how you defined those terms.

I live in Hawaii where homesteads still exist. But they are not the kind of homestead you have defined. Here a homestead and homesteader involve the lifestyle of obtaining one's life support from the land, usually a few acres of farm. This self sufficiency style often includes hunting, fishing, and  livestock. Most foods are grown on the farm and supplemented with foraging and trading. Excess is often sold to provide income. Additional income often comes from providing agrarian services to others, and agrarian products (honey, seeds, foods, compost, soil, wood, etc.) The lifestyle is close to subsistence level. Homesteaders here aren't wealthy farmers.  

Most Hawaii homesteads have faded away. The children wanted more than a homestead life and moved away. But enough still survive to show the way to people like me, those who have moved here looking for that lifestyle. I am a homesteader. I bought my land. Rather than suppress the indigenous homesteaders, I humbly appeal to them for knowledge and wisdom. They have taught me how to grow and cook foods.... how to flow with the climate, weather, seasons, and moon cycles... how to be part of a community here.

I have built my own home, created my own farm, and have attained a homesteading lifestyle. My inner spirit is content with this. It is good. I am a homesteader and proud of it.
 
gardener
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I use the term homestead. I thought you took a big leap to associate the word with land seizure, then i looked up the definition. Its right there. Who knew?

I had contemplated the use of "self sufficiency" though. After touring Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg I realized we (Americans) never were self sufficient. Just as(today) we send cotton to China and they send back socks, in the 1600's we sent animal skins to Europe and they sent back leather. The only self sufficient people were probably the indigenous people of a given locale. There were groups like the trapper and mountain men that could live off the land, but they had bowie knives, traps, rope, salted bacon, clothes, rifles, blackpowder they didn't "make".

 
master pollinator
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In Texas we have a Homestead Exemption on our property taxes.  The word "pioneer" can mean:

"verb
1.
develop or be the first to use or apply (a new method, area of knowledge, or activity)"  


which we are to some extent using regenerative methods.
 
gardener
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George, do you have a preferred label?  I admit, I just think of myself as a permaculturist or an edible landscape proponent.  
 
George Bastion
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Thanks Su. I appreciate your telling of your experience.

I guess my concern is less with the "mode" of homesteading - how it actually works as you described in the here and now, than I am with the language and confronting the legacy. We can't undo the past nor just magically exist within a world where indigenous, commonly managed lands are not broken up and dolled out to individuals.

How is it possible that you, or I, or anyone can buy a piece of land in the U.S.? Because this common land was broken up through suppression of indigenous peoples and given to settlers who were willing to populate a place. Then, it was sold, traded, etc.

I guess I just worry the over-fascination with the terms and romanticization of the "pioneer" or "homestead" lifestyles obscures this legacy. I would much rather use language that focuses on healing and reconciliation with indigenous communities, rather than language which draws from and replicates the logic of that which destroyed their life ways.

EDIT to Response:

Hi Greg. I would say permaculturist is just fine. But in the context of what homesteading is, specifically, maybe land partner, or something like that? Sounds weird though. Still thinking it through.
 
gardener
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In Montana, you can list your property with the state/ county as a homestead.  Up side is no matter how bad things get for you, your house and a certain amount of land cannot be taken from you.
The down side (if you consider it to be one) is no bank will make a loan on that land.  My land has been homesteaded for almost 40 years now.
 
pollinator
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I don't share the same concerns, George, but I hear you.

I like the word Steward. It fits what we do on the land, and imparts a sense of responsibility without implying outright and infinite ownership. And it happens to jive with the only environmentalism you'll see in the bible, which helps appeal to even more people.

I think a path towards reconciliation is the messy sort of complex that deserves its own thread. But my brief opinion on the matter, taken from first, second, and third-hand stories on both sides of reconciliation talks here in Canada, and just regular conciliation between foresting interests and First Nations groups, is that the Indian Act must go.

I think that the reservation system here in Canada simply serves to segregate First Nations people from everyone else, and that impedes our progress. I think that the tax-exempt status is fine for now, but that the way in which it's handled right now essentially removes the impetus to improve for some members of society, and positive measures to counter that effect need to be taken.

I think any barriers that exist to First Nations people living wherever they wish to in Canadian society, as all other Canadians do, should be addressed. I am not saying that the reservations will be lost to them, only that if non-aboriginal people buy land ownership, First Nations people should be able to accumulate it that way as well.

I also think that payments from the government should go, not to individual chiefs, but to individual people, perhaps with an added investment made on the behalf of everyone receiving payment into private, individual or group mutual funds to help with a transition to a more inclusive society. This does an end-run around any sort of corruption at the council level.

But these are the kinds of larger task a Steward would attend to. I would still be a homesteader, engaging in homesteading activities, and some that the original invasive pioneers, and the European ones after them, both, would recognise.

-CK
 
gardener
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I want to be a homesteader. I think this is a pretty cool thread George. I've never given thought to the land seizure aspect of the above definition, and I'm certainly not about to go take anything from anyone else.

What I've done is pick and choose from different doctrines and ways of life what I like and suits me, forming my ethos. I like growing my own food, animal husbandry, nurturing land and wildlife; trying to make a living and leave things better than the way I found it. I think those things embody homesteading, or at least they do for the definition of it that I have in my mind. For me, homesteading is guardianship that allows me to make a quality life.

 
steward
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I struggled to find a word to describe what the missus and I were moving away from the city to do.  The best term I could find was homesteading.  I didn't have permaculture at the time.  Now I'd say "we're moving to the country to live more closely with the land", or something like that.

Words have meaning.  They have history.  And their meanings change.  Homesteader may have meant something vastly different to the pioneers and the Native Americans.  But today I think the definition of homesteader has changed to something positive.  The only somewhat negative connotations I hear are "hippy" and "back to the land movement of the 70s".  If you even consider them negative

Until we popularize a new word for permaculture homesteading, I'll stick with homesteader.

Permasteading?
 
Chris Kott
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Permasteading actually sounds like an encapsulation to me, like the kind of permaculture that is readily and handily adapted to permanent homesteading, or maybe permacultural systems that can be put in place to support homesteading. Maybe a short-list of small-homestead systems and interactions that make for meat-and-potatoes self-sufficiency to allow for other efforts to yield better?

-CK
 
pollinator
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I’m not particularly interested in, or concerned by, semantics. But you hit on a strand of approach that does concern me a bit.

Particularly in the USA there is a strong independence/self-sufficiency/prepper attitude. There is an unspoken presumption that isolationism is in some way good/desirable.

It strikes me that this is in fundamental opposition to the principles of permaculture which emphasises integration and complexity. As a family unit we gain a richer standard of living when we integrate with a wider community. And our community is also enriched by our participation.
 
George Bastion
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Thanks everyone. A lot of good fodder for thought.

I definitely agree that homesteading doesn't mean the same thing today as it did when the term originally was popularized in the U.S. But I also agree words have history and meaning - and the point of this thread is to consider whether these are the best words to describe what we in the permaculture community are doing when we do things typically considered "homesteading." Personally, I see no reason why a word can't be chosen that doesn't have the same historical baggage or murky legacy.

Permasteader actually sounds pretty good to me as a descriptor for permaculture applied on a small scale, long-term basis, primarily for the purposes of local-sufficiency. Emphasizing local sufficiency, rather than self-sufficiency could also differentiate the two, since I think community is an important component of permaculture.

Which leads me to say I agree Michael - that's partially why I recoil at the word homesteading. The Wikipedia page for homesteading says "Pursued in different ways around the world—and in different historical eras—homesteading is generally differentiated from rural village or commune living by isolation (either socially or physically) of the homestead. " Now, Wiki isn't some super authoritative source, but I think this reinforces what you are saying. Homesteading, as opposed to, say, village living, is an attempt at so-called self-sufficiency - building independence from others. But village or communal living is about building community interdependence and resiliency, which includes meeting the needs of the self, but extends beyond that.

Maybe instead of redefining homesteading, permasteading can apply to the same sort of life-style but done in the context of community resiliency, not self-sufficiency, and specifically practicing permaculture. Not all homesteaders are permaculturists after all.

 
Mike Jay
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I just searched for "permasteading" and someone came up with it already.  Darn, I thought I might have invented something
 
wayne fajkus
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Every video i see from paul ends in permaculture AND homesteading. Homesteading doesn't have to be permaculture. I like that he treats them as 2 entities. My thinking is that there is a lot of knowledge that can be gained from homesteaders.  Butchering animals, making soap, preserving food,  saving seeds, i can go on and on.This knowledge can be gained if they share, regardless if they share the community spirits of permaculture. Let them be who they are.
 
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I believe you all ay be getting way too hung up words. If it actually makes any difference at all what you call yourself, the simplest solution/word is, ~~ intentional community.
Once you say that you can just start adding descriptors. Such as organic, open or closed membership, family based, Christian, Buddhist, Earth friendly, 420 friendly, prepper, pagan, chemical free, poly or monogamous centric, country, urban, rural, spiritual, permaculture based, and on and on.
 
pollinator
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To me, there has always been an Us and Them meaning for the word Homesteader. I have taken it as people who want to live apart, possibly for religious or other reasons, so that they don't want to be part of the larger community where the homestead resides.

I've never used the term for myself, since I see it more as an American word.

I think in the past it was more of a fortress / farm. A safe haven in Indian Territory. Guns pointed out little peek holes every time a noise is heard.

But in the modern context, I think of it as a place occupied either by religious folks who want to set themselves apart, or by beer swilling yokels who want nothing to do with city slickers or book learnin. :-)
......
Words have different meanings in different places. People like Su call themselves homesteaders, while I might say that I have a self-sufficient farm.
....
On semantics
The Canadian government almost always refers to natives of the far north as Inuit. They had a conference a few years back and determined that this is the proper word to be used for all polar peoples. But some in Alaska and Siberia disagree. There are Alaskan natives who refer to themselves as Eskimos. Closely related people from Canada would find that name insulting, because it's believed to be derived from a Cree word meaning eaters of raw meat. Amongst linguist, there are those who don't believe anyone should be called an Eskimo, but that some languages are to be called that, although the people are named tribally. It doesn't sound like a winnable battle to me, but they go at it every few years. :-)
 
George Bastion
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Words are immensely important. When you die, your words will remain. Your words and how people understand them shape their thoughts of you and everything or everyone you are associated with.

Also, I am not suggesting self-identified homesteaders be pushed out or persecuted in any way, so no need to call for them to be left alone.

I am proposing that those of us who are concerned with the historical baggage around terms like pioneer and homesteader come up with a new way of talking about who we are and what we do. I want to be able to talk about my goals and activities typically called "homesteading" without invoking the legacies of the indigenous genocide that continues today, which I and many other associate with those words.  
 
Dale Hodgins
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I also think words are important, mostly for the people speaking them. I think most of us would like to define who we are rather than have others tell us.

I've had people tell me that I'm moving to the Philippines to be a tourist, or a retiree, or an expat, whatever that means. I consider myself to be a benevolent colonizer, bringing new ideas, methods and tools to blend with what already exists.
 
Su Ba
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Oh my. Am I a religious fanatic, or a beer swilling yokel? I'm confused....I don't know which group I'm in!!! Heeeelp! Since I'm more atheistic than anything, guess the religious folks won't want anything to do with me. They've long since given up trying to "save" me. But I don't fit the beer swilling yokel group either. That's not my idea of fun. Besides, they usually smell and aren't pleasant to be around. Let's face facts, jokes told by a drunk simply aren't funny. And most of their stories and tales don't entertain me either. Ah-ha I got it.....I must be a Misfit Homesteader! Thanks for clearing that up for me , Dale. I'd hate to die in the throes of an identify crisis. 😆

Joking aside ----
George, while words are indeed important, their meaning can change with each generation. Or even be different from country to country, culture to culture. Obviously the terms homestead and homesteader conjure up a different mental image here in Hawaii that they do in your location, or Dale's. To be a homesteader here is respectful social position, though not considered to be a position which will advance your financial status in the modern lifestyle culture. As a result most children are not interested in a homesteading life, though many return to it when they near retirement age. The Hawaii State government places importance upon self sufficiency and is actively promoting local small agriculture, including homesteading. So there is no negative stigma attached to homesteading here. Hawaii may be one of the few states in the USA were a small farmer is respected by the general public.

I am a modern homesteader ......in Hawaii. I see no need to call myself anything else. Modern homesteader, if you wish, rather than simply homesteader.
 
George Bastion
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And you should be able to call yourself a homesteader if you like Su.
 
James Freyr
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I've had my head in the dictionary, searching for a good example of how words can change meaning over time as cultures evolve and words adopt new meanings. Perhaps the word homesteader is currently experiencing one of these language shifts, and an association of the word homesteader to land grabbing will fall to the wayside and become archaic. I certainly hope so. Here's what I think is a good example of how a word can change meaning with time. Prestigious. Here's what Merriam-Webster's has to say about this word:

 You may be surprised to learn that prestigious had more to do with trickery than with respect when it was first used in the mid-16th century. The earliest (now archaic) meaning of the word was "of, relating to, or marked by illusion, conjuring, or trickery." Prestigious comes to us from the Latin word praestigiosis, meaning "full of tricks" or "deceitful." The words prestige and prestigious are related, of course, though not as directly as you might think; they share a Latin ancestor, but they entered English by different routes. Prestige, which was borrowed from French in the mid-17th century, initially meant "a conjurer's trick," but in the 19th century it developed an extended sense of "blinding or dazzling influence." That change, in turn, influenced prestigious, which now means simply "illustrious or esteemed."



 
pollinator
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The term homesteading pretty much had a revamp back when the back to the land movement happened with the hippies.

It was at that point when there really wasn't a real US homestead act anymore but people where heading back to a more rural life to set up farms and communities that the term came back into common use.

Typically it was used in an effort to differentiate from the hippie commune, but denote a similar concept of returning to a more rural self sufficient and self sustaining life. Lofty goals, lack of knowledge, and often hostile receptions from the rural inhabitants were the downfall of many of these early efforts.

We are now in a 2nd wave of the back to land movement. This time the people have internet to stay connected to people all over the world, rather than being isolated with no idea how to do the things they romanticized but forgot to learn. Many of the areas people are moving to now the rural population have had their experience with the hippies and have grown a bit more tolerant of other view points.

The 2nd wave has also adopted the term homesteading. Again often to not get the hippie commune stigma, as well as it is often small families rather than intentional communities.

Most definitely the term has changed meaning.

Which is very common in the English language, and well any living language. Languages evolve, negative meaning words turn positive, and positive ones turn negative. And of course the real mind bender is positive turning negative being reclaimed and turned positive again.

Some of the best examples of this sort of thing is terms for homosexual. Gay used to mean simply happy. Yet now has a completely different meaning. Faggot was just a bundle of sticks, but not anymore.


Words are funny things, and some people can put way too much into worrying about the meanings, and some don't put enough into it.

Pioneer definitely has two different meanings. The meaning of first to do something doesn't just apply to us, but plants. We call things pioneer species, etc... This is not a new meaning, but an old one still in use. Generally I have never heard any "homesteader" using the term pioneer for themselves or in relation to pioneering land etc... Though maybe you have.

On the subject of should we use the terms pioneers or homesteader. I would say it is a personal choice.

If you want to take a stand, then finding other terms might be for you. But realize talking to "normal" people will mean a lot of lengthy conversations trying to explain.

For those choosing to accept the words have changed and wish to use the new versions of the words, it will be much easier to relate what your doing to others. But it might be good to occasionally toss in the historical info of how the words changed. Get the "normals" thinking.

Me personally I tend to worry less about the strict definitions of words and more about how they are interpreted by people. I often change terms I am using to fit the audience. No one has the same connotations for any words, since each person's perspective and life is unique.

Do I sometimes put my foot down and school someone on the strict definition, on the rare occasion. But I don't find it worth my effort and time too do regularly. There are so many big things to work on, picking battles where they are winnable is my motto.
 
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I think the problem with trying to pin down a word for a social movement to identify with or not is that we do not all think alike nor perceive the same baggage to different labels.

I'm proud to describe myself as part of the 'back to the land' movement.  
I have an affinity for old hippies, they are my peers and my comrades.
I use the word 'homesteader' usually in quotes to describe what we do and have done.

I definitely see the baggage associated with certain words and I don't have good ideas for what to do about it except maybe lighten up a bit and give folks the benefit of the doubt?

The problem for me with labeling is that, depending on one's view, the worst behavior of folks within that group gets used as the stereotype to describe everyone within the group as though they were one unit, as though they were Borg or amoeba or something not individual human beings

...and now on rereading, I see that I used the word 'comrades'.....plenty of historic baggage there  







 
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George Bastion wrote:Should we in the permaculture community really be identifying with and using the language of pioneering and homesteading?



Did you just "should" on me?

As others in this thread have pointed out, the English language evolves.  A second-wave back-to-the-land internet-informed hippie doing permaculture stuff on a few acres does not share a lot of conceptual space with the boomers and sooners who blitzed into Oklahoma during the land rush, and though they may use the same word when they say "homestead" they aren't remotely talking or thinking about the same thing. The signifier is not the signified.

I routinely find myself not in sympathy with persons who object to this ongoing evolution of language by suggesting that we ought not to use words in whatever modern sense they are understood.  It feels aggressive and not-nice to me, to tell people that they way they understand words is wrong, because of old history of people using the words another way.  I prefer to let the language evolve, and if that means letting time leach away the most unpleasant connotations from some words, I'm perfectly fine with that.
Saussure_Signifie-Signifiant.png
[Thumbnail for Saussure_Signifie-Signifiant.png]
"The signifier is not the signified"
 
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Dan Boone wrote:

George Bastion wrote:Should we in the permaculture community really be identifying with and using the language of pioneering and homesteading?



Did you just "should" on me?

As others in this thread have pointed out, the English language evolves.  A second-wave back-to-the-land internet-informed hippie doing permaculture stuff on a few acres does not share a lot of conceptual space with the boomers and sooners who blitzed into Oklahoma during the land rush, and though they may use the same word when they say "homestead" they aren't remotely talking or thinking about the same thing. The signifier is not the signified.

I routinely find myself not in sympathy with persons who object to this ongoing evolution of language by suggesting that we ought not to use words in whatever modern sense they are understood.  It feels aggressive and not-nice to me, to tell people that they way they understand words is wrong, because of old history of people using the words another way.  I prefer to let the language evolve, and if that means letting time leach away the most unpleasant connotations from some words, I'm perfectly fine with that.



Here, here.
 
George Bastion
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Respectfully, I don't think I unilaterally declared that anyone should do anything. I asked if we, collectively, should decide for ourselves if we should us certain words. There's a difference in saying "you should" and asking "should we." I also never said anyone was understanding the word wrong. I pointed out how I understood and asked others how they felt, and affirmed their agency in choosing to use the words in question if they wish.

I don't think this justifies implying I am declaring from on high what folks should do, or that I am not being nice. If I am wrong, and my conduct is inappropriate, I am open to hearing about how I am wrong and having a discussion. If I am correct in my understanding of my own conduct, and this discussion makes anyone uncomfortable for other reasons, well, I have no control over that. Absent any personal attack, If a person is offended when someone expresses their opinion that these words evoke an ongoing legacy of indigenous genocide and abuse of land, then it is their responsibility, not mine, to examine why those feelings emerge.

I'll emphasize again that I am only proposing that those of us who feel this way and are interested in it come up with new ways of communicating our choices and lifestyles differently. Those who want to keep using these words are free to do so.

I like the idea of creating a more descriptive word. Something that explicitly applied to permaculture applied in the way we are discussing. Something that captures the small scale, long-term, and place-based nature of this kind of lifestyle. And infuses a sense of community into the description.

I was thinking about combining permaculture and villager, but then I got pillager lol.
 
pollinator
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For my part, I see the choice of words very often hinging on what one is selling and to whom. How to put together a nice sweetly palatable  and enticing vision using words. One wants to avoid offending or triggering caution, hopefully raise some romantic associations, and connect with some kind of present cultural trend, or even better, hitch our agenda to some historically revered word or three. After a short time people using certain words lose sight of facts and actual events and the word's aura provides rose tinted glasses in the mind.

_That's_ why words are important.

Rhetoric was one of most respected arts and skills of the ancients. Satirists were actively feared amoung people with primarily oral connections. Bards were privileged and sought after by the powerful to "spread the word". "Truth", in whatever shape/form one wishes, must be expressed and words provide our primary form of expression. And what is expression, but creation?

Nothing necessarily wrong with all that, but I think it may be quite important to respect the _real_ power of words . Rhetoric and other discursive and persuasive arts don't rely on "facts" and treat rationality as a temporary and shifting illusion to be exploited. Accurate or scientific? Not.

But AFAIK almost no humans are logical or scientific. We mostly use other means.


Regards,
Rufus
 
pollinator
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Thanks George, for bringing up a very thoughtful and interesting conversation.

So, I sat down and tried to write out my thoughts as coherently as possible, but it still didn’t turn out as well as I’d like. Here’s my best shot at contributing what I’d like to say.

I’ll admit that I’ve thought a lot about this before. Not only the words I use to describe myself, but also what I’m doing as a non native person who was born here and owns and uses land. I’m supposedly a little Native American on my dad’s side, but it’s not much talked about. That part of the family would rather think of themselves as white. These aren’t easy things to think about.

One positive thing about the concept/definition of pioneers and homesteaders:
These people left behind their entire civilization and moved into areas with little to no support. Some of these people were refugees, fleeing famine and war in Europe. Some of them were very poor Americans, or like some of my ancestors, were fleeing disease and pre-Civil War tension. Some were jerks who wanted to kill and destroy and make a profit. Focusing on the first several kinds though, I definitely see a group of people I think we can learn from now. As a modern homesteader, in a less extreme way I too am leaving behind our current civilization. It still exists and is physically accessible, but it is definitely not supportive. Laws and attitudes thwart the work I want to do. Knowledge of how to do things has often been lost. Quality tools have become hard to come by; things like scythes have to be ordered all the way from Maine.

In a lot of ways, all of this reminds me of honeyebees when they swarm and enter a brand new hive. There’s no wax, comb, or propolis already there for them to get started. That means no stores of food, no place to lay eggs, no medicine, and a hive environment that’s not yet balanced for them. Yet they manage. The build it out, bring in food, and rear young to replace themselves. Many of us are in the same boat I feel, where we’re moving out to a countryside which has more or less been abandoned (in many places) by people who grow food the old fashioned way. The descendants from these people are, forgive me for saying, oftentimes ignorant of and hostile towards the very way of life their parents or grandparents practiced.

I guess I feel that if people could do what they did back then (with NO oil, no woodchips cheaply and easily available, no running water, a limited supply of food calories, and none of the pre oil industry/civilizational benefits that did exist, then maybe we have a chance at using permaculture to deal with our problems now.
 
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Yesterday, my husband and kids and I were driving home in our car, and my husband said, "Back to the homestead" (like it was some quote from a movie), and I said, "We actually have a homestead now!" And he didn't think so, because he thought homesteads were only achieved by living on the land for a set amount of years to get it for free from the government, (i.e. the USA's Homestead Act). I always assumed homestead was like the term "homesteader" and referred to how the person was trying to be more resilient and make more things from scratch, etc.

So, this morning I went digging through the online etymology dictionary, and I found something interesting.

The original definition of a homestead was:

Old English hamstede "home, town, village," from home (n.) + stead (q.v.).



And, "stead" means

Old English stede "place, position; standing, firmness, stability, fixity," from Proto-Germanic *stadi- (source also of Old Saxon stedi, Old Norse staðr "place, spot; stop, pause; town," Swedish stad, Dutch stede "place," Old High German stat, German Stadt "town," Gothic staþs "place"), from PIE *steti-, suffixed form of root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm." Related to stand.



Basically, one's "homestead" was their community that provided for their needs. It wasn't just their own home, it was their town or village or neighborhood.

Interestingly enough, this got kind of twisted in the U.S.

In U.S. usage, "a lot of land adequate for the maintenance of a family" (1690s), defined by the Homestead Act of 1862 as 160 acres.



So, instead of a homestead being one's community that supplies it's needs, the person is supposed to have enough land to supply all their family's needs. People always talk about Americans always thinking they have to be "self-reliant" and "self-sufficient" and be able to do everything on their own. Well, there it is in our definition, LOL!

For myself, I'm really liking the original meaning of homestead. It's not just MY land--it's my neighborhood, my community. We all need one another, and we really can't--and don't need to--do it all on our own. Home isn't just my property, it's my community.

You know what, I think permies is my online homestead.  I couldn't do what I do without all of you!
 
That new kid is a freak. Show him this tiny ad:
Intrinsic: An Agriculture of Altered Chaos
https://permies.com/t/95922/Intrinsic-Agriculture-Altered-Chaos
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