Practical v. Political: People Who Give A Damn

As many of you know, I was at the Mother Earth News Fair all this past weekend.

The MEN Fair is an interesting gathering place. Walking through the big, gravel parking lot across from the Puyallup Fairgrounds where the MEN Fair is held, you pass pick-up trucks and minivans festooned with Conservatarian bumper stickers that say things like Make Yourselves Sheep and The Wolves Will Eat You and Invest In Precious Metals: Buy Lead. These are parked right next to Priuses and Nissan Leafs with their own declarative slogans: My Other Car Is A Bike, Dirt Worshipping Tree Hugger, and of course, Think Globally Act Locally.

Inside, tee-shirts declare people’s personal political beliefs about raw milk, gun rights, soil fertility, heirloom seeds and more. What, you didn’t think it was possible to have a political perspective on heirloom seeds? I assure you it is.

It’s an interesting collection of people, is what I’m saying. A crowd with strong ideas and, in many ways, very polar worldviews. From the preppers and strongly conservative libertarian folks interested in unhindered living to the environmental activists who push for stronger regulation of industry and carbon neutral communities, most people who come to this Fair seem to have a real opinion about things.

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People who, on the surface, seem to have very little in common with each other join this gathering of vendors and speakers and demonstrations because they want to learn how to live a life more in keeping with their own values.

This is something I see over and over again in this community – seemingly insurmountable political differences fade into the background when practical How To Live The Life You Want issues come to the fore.

Then, suddenly, there is common ground. Self-determination and frugality make natural bedfellows with green and sustainable living. Issues of food freedom – the right to grow your own food and choose what you’ll eat – bring people together over samples of pastured milk and Seed Saver’s Exchange catalogs.

The bearded hippie with the ear gauges and the tattered sandals and the crew-cut dude who almost certainly has a progressive reloader in his basement swap tips for mortgage-free living, cob home-building and DIY rocket mass heaters. The born-again Christian homeschooling mom and the Pagan herbal healer both support labeling GMOs.

The practical trumps the political, at least for awhile.

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I just adore this aspect of the Mother Earth News Fair, and of the Modern Homesteader community in general. Diverse, passionate, disparate individuals all together, learning the common skills they need to live the life they want. Side-by-side, learning canning, gardening, herbalism, bokashi composting, animal husbandry, seed saving, solar cookery and more. It’s like a giant Fuck You from the DIY community to the divisive, pigeonholing soundbite-world of Fox News vs. MSNBC, elephants vs. donkeys, red states vs. blue states. (And honestly, I can think of little more deserving of an upraised middle finger than drummed-up conflict for conflict’s sake.)

It’s almost as if there is another axis, another spectrum, different and maybe more important than the Liberal-to-Conservative spectrum. Let’s call it Engaged-to-Apathetic. This axis represents just how much people care about what they see as the big picture issues. And though not everyone at the Mother Earth News Fair would agree on the exact ranking and criticality of those issues, there is a common vibe one gets from attendees: these people give a damn. They care about what’s going on around them.

And here’s the really important thing. These are not armchair activists, screaming at their TV in angry futility or leaving pointless, abusive comments on a news website. They care enough to put down the remote, to step outside, to learn, and to ask, and to investigate their own options for action. They are willing to do what they can, with what they have, in their own life.

What a boring place this world would be if we all looked at things the same way. But how nice it is that the different ways we look at things doesn’t have to compromise our ability to learn from and with each other.

Because you read this blog, it’s safe to assume that you give a damn, right? Do you ever feel like you’re the only one, or are you surrounded with fellow I-give-a-damn-ers?

 

To Do In The Northwest Edible Garden: June 2013
Homemade DIY Whole Wheat Waffle Mix

Comments

  1. What a great post! I often feel alone, but the internet helps me see I’m not. :) Thanks so much for writing this post; it gives me hope.

  2. Erica, thank you for such a fine post on a subject close to my concerns. I don’t do twitter or use a smart phone, but I admire your commitment to share your home, projects, interests, and love of it all. And you are beautiful as well!

    I am blessed with a supportive environment of can-do and will-do activists in So.Cal. coastal region and the Ojai Valley region. I am also blessed by having a 25-year relationship with Pacifica Graduate Institute for which I have served as gardener, landscaper, organic farmer, and Green Man on campus. At the market garden there we have mentored many young people who have gone on to contribute much to alternative and organic agriculture and permaculture programs and projects.

  3. Mary Carman says:

    Small town, apathetic neighbors. I’ll keep working on them, but it’s been hard going…

  4. You have expressed one of the things I also love about this realm of natural living/think-for-yourself/Real Food/Slow Food/Sustainable Food and Agriculture….. and all these other movements that have captivated such a diverse group of folks from every walk of life. It does provide a common ground, a worthy cause(s), a unifying force. And you’re right, I think if there is an “us” and “them” in this whole thing, it is the engaged to apathetic. The engaged ones have chosen to swallow the red pill and unplug from the corporate machine, whereas I think most of the apathetic just don’t know better yet. And learning enough to become convinced to live differently is a process that takes a degree of courage and determination because it means stepping out from the masses and risking being misunderstood and even scorned.

    It can be lonely, so I am so thankful for the internet which can provide that desperately-needed sense of community for those of us who live in places like I do, where conventional healthcare reigns supreme and there is not a health food store in sight. We all need a “safe place” to speak freely, discuss ideas, problem solve, learn, and encourage each other in our “unplugged” journey to live healthier, freer lives, and to help pave the way for the same for our children.

    There is definitely a sense of “sticking it to the man” that comes from frustration with the status quo of mindless consumerism (processed crap food, pharmaceuticals, etc…) and naive trust in these industries and government to selflessly hold our best interests (and the well-being of the environment) above that of financial gain and power. But on the other hand, and a perspective that I hope to better get a hold of for myself, is the less-reactionary, freedom-based, moving-ahead-with-a-better-way-of-living that is so untangled from the machine that I wouldn’t have the mental space for all the current frustration!

    Just this morning my husband and I were talking about this–he works in healthcare. As his eyes have become more opened to the disaster of conventional healthcare (which has become more a vehicle for more consumerism/drug-industry profit than for helping people to be well enough that they don’t need medicine/intervention), he has felt like a hypocrite by remaining part of such a broken system. Now he’s researching Naturopathic Physician programs–to be an active part of a better way/solution and help to fill a gaping void would be fantastic!

    I think the eclectic selection of people you are talking about in this post just want to live honest lives, true to their convictions. And to do that today means walking against a pretty strong flow. It’s frustrating at times, but it so encouraging to connect with other like-minded folks, no matter how different the walks of life the folks come from!

  5. Linda McHenry says:

    I now live in Eastern WA….20 miles from the ID boarder, home of conspiratorial white supremacists and all that entails. People in this neck of the woods talk of redrawing the State boundary lines so they can join the Conservative (their term, mine is not quite as charitable) brethren. The “West side” contaminates the purity pool. I’ve rubbed shoulders with enough swaggering, gun-toting braggarts to last me a lifetime and am not nearly as accepting as you. I avoid this segment of our community like the plague.
    The good news is I have a circle of “urban homesteading” friends. We live on 50′ wide city lots, raise gardens, tend chickens & bees & dogs, “put food by”, promote community gardens & “walkable/bikeable streets, have weekly neighborhood get-togethers, are active in our neighborhood councils, support our farmer’s markets & food co-op, make trips to u-pick fields and work on local political campaigns & issues. It’s a good life.

    • Well, there’s the libertarian conservative types who like their 2nd Amendment and their Federalist papers and want to be able to cut down a tree on their own property without getting permission from three different government agencies, and then there’s just people who are racist assholes. I’d avoid the racist paranoid white supremacists like the plague too. That sounds terrible. But your UH community sounds delightful!

    • Linda, I am north of Colville, so I feel your pain, most definitely.

      • Linda McHenry says:

        I’m in Spokane now. Worked at Boundary Dam near Metaline Falls for 6 yrs before retiring (in Seattle prior to that project)……so I know the area well……beautiful but so isolated and cut off from everything including diversity of opinion.

  6. I am fortunate to have a few around me who give a crap and you’re right – they are doing something. Not all are attending rallys and conventions, but all are at least trying to do what they can in their own sphere of influence.

  7. “The practical trumps the political, at least for awhile.” This is what I love about the whole DIY community, you have all kinds of people happily mingling together. Everywhere else, it seems like people are more and more self-segregating.

  8. In some ways (no fault of the author) this article isn’t fair in classifying us according to things we pursue – particularly political. Ironically, religion will do a good job of making my point. If you walk into your average Baptist Church (no offense Baptists – it’s true of the rest of us too), and ask every member of the congregation if they believe their Church is teaching the truth, most will tell you yes. Then if you ask them what they believe, you’ll get a wide spectrum of answers – many of which won’t be 100% compatible with others. The ones that told you no (and observe they’re still attending even though they answered “no”.) aren’t necessarily any different from the ones that answered yes, they’re simply a observed that some of their beliefs actually differ from what’s being taught – this was true of most of the others too.
    Now take politics for a moment. Which of us is actually 100% on board with the Democratic party? How about the Republican party? I hate voting because it’s very rare that there’s ever actually anyone worth voting for. I still vote to make what difference I can (and think everyone else should), but it really sucks that that person I’m going to go vote for so poorly represents my views. Often I wonder how our country can manage to put so many village idiots in office. People mystified by the operation of a checkbook. People of extreme low morale character. People who will take a bribe on about anything (and call it a campaign contribution half the time) as long as the bribe is big enough.
    I’ve always said that we’ll know our country (USA in this case) has arrived when the day comes we can put a poor man in office without a rich party of some sort backing him.
    With all groups though, you do get some people who unquestioningly back the group – these are often people terrified of being wrong, so they don’t even know what it is they believe – they just know they believe whatever it is the group believes – and if that changes so do their beliefs. That’s unfortunate. For the rest of us, the truth is in the middle. Somewhere. It’s not Republican or Democrat, it’s something in the middle. It’s not store food vs home grown, it’s somewhere in the middle (I happen to like oranges and pineapple. Unless global warming really steps up, I won’t be growing those at home anytime soon.)
    Things like this fair are things that allow all of us to come together to learn without having to get a tattoo on our forehead that says “I’m 100% behind this cause.” They also tend to be causes that don’t exactly have one economic power trying to ensure it’s existence by obliterating another. Political parties are economic powers seeking political power. Many religions tend to have financial motives as well. If they didn’t, perhaps they could get into this whole “love” thing most of them teach a little better and accept the right of their neighbor to believe differently. There’s no question of financial motives in healthcare, banking, pharmaceuticals, etc. A lot of the more “natural living” type movements are less likely to have a strong financial backing and hence are more tolerant of others having different beliefs – including their own adherents. Baker’s Creek isn’t going to have a fit if I plant some of their heirloom seeds in my garden and then run down to WalMart and grab some hybrids to add to my garden as well (I personally wouldn’t do this because I save seed, but I know many who do, and I’m fine with that).

    • Linda McHenry says:

      I don’t do religion, so can’t comment on that, but my suggestion on the political front is to jump into local politics…..recruit candidates who represent your values, volunteer on their campaigns doing phone banking, doorbelling….donate $25 for a mailing……heck, run yourself!
      It’s doable, the results come home to roost in a more personal way.

    • Mishqueen says:

      May I propose that the majority are not in the middle, but farther out on the edges (or split) than they think? The two parties are indeed very moderate and very much in the middle. And those who vote for their party every time may be betraying themselves because they haven’t educated themselves enough to recognize when their party is betraying them. In my experience, the more people learn about their own beliefs compared to the parties, the more dissatisfied they become with the groups who claim to represent them.

    • Thank you for this thoughtful comment. You add a lot of important nuance. This: “For the rest of us, the truth is in the middle. Somewhere. It’s not Republican or Democrat, it’s something in the middle. It’s not store food vs home grown, it’s somewhere in the middle (I happen to like oranges and pineapple. Unless global warming really steps up, I won’t be growing those at home anytime soon.)” rings so true.

  9. In the big city, no one cared at all. So I’m moving to the country, where flourishing gardens, various livestock, and berry cobblers are common!

    • Yum…cobbler. :)

      • Especially cobbler made from a native wild blackberry called “dewberries!” The kids tromp around in the forest looking for little white flowers and come back with purple-stained lips and buckets full of wild berries.

        Throw them in a cobbler with some vanilla ice cream on the side… nobody cares about politics over that!

  10. Mishqueen says:

    Which is EXACTLY why this super-conservative-libertarian Crunchy Con would rather discuss the resolution to the world’s problems with a highly intelligent and educated liberal thinker than ANY run-of-the-mill Republican. A well-informed far left winger is way closer to my lifestyle choices than a moderate conservative. We may have different motivations, but we are still walking the same path and I support their efforts as they support mine. :)

    • I think this is the key: “I support their efforts as they support mine.”

      Something happens when the focus is on the practical that makes it possible for people with divergent philosophies to not get caught up in the differences. Like, honestly, I really don’t care WHY someone wants to grow an organic garden. I’m interested in sharing what I know about gardening to anyone. If the motivation is purely saving money, or zombie proofing your homestead, or sticking it to the industrial food man, or getting the best flavor….or even jumping on a hipster gardening trend…I don’t care. Because I support the practical act, I’m just interested in helping you make that garden a reality.

  11. YES, YES, YES! My home-schooling pagan herbalist friend found herself working with the “don’t teach my child evolution” extreme Christian crowd.
    I made exactly this point when I did a little Earth Day presentation for a local learning center.
    Quote:
    “In the community, the growing of gardens can bring people together who otherwise might be at loggerheads. Growing things is a great way to transcend politics. Personally, I like the idea of poking a stick in the eye of large corporations, and see the garden as a point of leverage in the struggle for a more just society. Other people may be see themselves as arch conservatives. They believe in the value of individual responsibility and hard work. Their great grandparents had a garden, and if if it was good enough for them it is good enough now.

    In a world going mad, every garden is an island of sanity. Every garden is a sprouting seed. Every garden contributes to greater sanity in the world, AND helps to keep the gardeners happy and healthy.”

  12. I very rarely feel like we are the only ones. In my community it is increadibly popular to be part of the food revolution. Bellingham is a bag, free, multi farmer market, many schools have a school garden, most homes at least grow a pot of tomatoes, people keep goats, chickens, ducks. One person in every neighboorhood seems to have bee’s. The county as a whole is a a large traditional farming community. But the “city folk” are taking back their food and trying to change the way our system works. Nope, we are not alone….though there are a billion different opinions on how to do it.

    Well I am very sorry to have missed you! I was able to meet a few other bloggers i have been following.

  13. I really wanted to go this year, but forces prevented it, so special thanks for your astute observations. I’ve also been noticing and enjoying this phenomenon: be you far right, far left, or somewhere in between, where the topics of food, food production and self-determination are concerned, there are so many issues we stand together on. Maybe we should put some focus there, work together for a change.

    And Erica, I absolutely ADORE your blog!

  14. I drove down from Vancouver Island and was struck by a few things: Canadians aren’t quite so organized politically or ecologically; Americans are much more emotional than most Canadians about their “rights”; it was very inspiring to sit through a weekend of garden-related lectures; finally, it was really excellent to be able to wear a sticker that said PESTICIDES SUCK! lol

  15. dr. Dave says:

    Politics and huge egos have taken over my local p-patch – I’m disgusted that gardening is no longer a priority there so I’ll probably leave at the end of the year.

  16. Rebecca says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever left a comment on this site before, but this was a really great post followed by really great comments. It’s especially nice, for lack of a better word, to hear that other people feel lonely at times too, choosing to live this UH lifestyle. It reminds me that I am not, in fact, alone—-though it often feels that way. I live in a well-to-do suburb of Houston. Everyone has a swimming pool, but I have a huge veggie patch. Recently, when a neighborhood mom complained about buying $7 loaf bread for her gluten-intolerant daughter, I suggested that she’d save money and probably have healthier bread if she made her own. She laughed out loud and made some disparaging comments about grinding wheat and churning butter (which of course, I have done!)
    However, over time I’ve come to know some people in the neighborhood who enjoy home cooking and may grow a tomato plant or two on their porch. It’s better than nothing, and it gives me hope that these small steps might lead to bigger ones for them. Even one tomato on a neighbor’s porch makes me feel less “different” in my community.
    Your article is a good reminder to look for the similarities in us all. Sometimes we focus so much on the glaring and easily visible differences, that we forget to look deeper.

  17. Yeah, the apocalypse has been great for unity in general.

    The only bumper sticker I’ve ever owned was on my diesel Silverado that said, “my other car is your mother.” But, I note people are really into advertising their beliefs on their rides lately — even the $50K NightmareMobiles are sporting “26.2″ stickers.

    Fair enough.

  18. Great post, great comments. I went to the fair yesterday and loved it, loved the co-mingling of politico-eco viewpoints. We all have our own beliefs, but when it comes right down to it it’s the individual choices we make on a day-to-day basis, and when those choices are about growing good food and living frugally, the differences seem to fall away.

  19. Isabell says:

    Great Post Erica!
    I have been saying this for a long time…..We all need to eat, breath the air, drink the water, suffer through natural disasters, even global warming…… so that should be the great common denominator for us all to work together on making this world a better place for us all. Just thinking what we could achieve if we actually would see, what affects all of us and do something about it ‘together’ instead arguing over the things that mostly affect ‘other’ people and let us be divided. So what does it matter if one is a strong devoted Christian or Muslim or Atheist; one is gay, one is straight; one is a dog lover, the other loves cats ……… it doesn’t affect me personally, does it? It’s the food, the air, the water…….that affects us all, all of us, all humanity and that’s what where we need to work ‘together’ and not let us be ‘divided’ by a few that only seek power and enrichment by stirring up these divisions.

  20. This was one of the most refreshing reads involving anything political I’ve had a in a long time. I have found that talking about growing food and making food is one of the only passions I have that can be shared with my extremely conservative Southern in-laws. It is an enormous gift to have something we can all rally around while enjoying the fruits of our labor.

  21. Always alone it seems….thanks to this little white box I’m at least connected to like minds “out there”…but home is home and I do my part to explain the benefits of raw milk, pastured eggs, kombucha, organic veggies, etc…..usually I get the blank stare that indicates that they are just politely waiting until I finish BUT I have managed to turn a few people on to the superiority of fresh, organic foods….sadly, they don’t want to grow it themselves, but they are willing to buy it from me.

  22. I am, thank all the gods, surrounded by people who give various degrees of A Damn. My mother – who has grown away from her early starry-eyed days (she gave my father a for real back-to-the-lander book on Self Sufficiency for their anniversary one year, I think around the time I was born, which is now mine) – included.
    Sometimes I wind up in conversation with someone who hears “tear up your grass and plant clover or something” and thinks “Weeds? I don’t want no weeds in my lawn!”… and I’m mildly boggled, wondering what planet they’re from.
    I like who I’m generally surrounded by. ;-)

  23. I am the woman who interrupted your interview to do a major fan gush – I hope I wasn’t too disruptive, because it was really lovely to meet you in person!

    And I was happy to come home from the fair to see this post in my reader, because I was quite uncomfortable rubbing shoulders with survivalists more closely than I ever have before (they aren’t as common here in Canada, I think). I actually left a workshop given by the Doom and Gloom/Bloom folks on homestead healthcare because it was so disaster/fear-oriented (how to isolate sick people during a pandemic, and how to keep “your” women from getting pregnant when you need them operating at 110%, when what I was looking for was how to treat bruises or sore throats with herbs from my garden!) But you have given me something to think about, and I suspect that after chewing over this a while I’m going to end up feeling more generous, and maybe less closed-minded, towards some of my sister and fellow attendees.

    To answer your question, I am in the lucky situation of being surrounded by other give-a-damn-ers, with similar political and ethical positions. But you have reminded me of the synergy that can come from regular injections of different points of view, so thank you!

  24. I’m so fortunate to live in Portland, OR where there are so many other people who give a damn. I lived in Texas for 10 years before moving here – 4 of which were, gratefully in Austin (which I refer to as the Portland of the south), the rest of which were in Dallas, which is as conservative as it gets. Politics come in to play around religious ideologies rather than around social and environmental issues. So happy to have moved here and only wish I’d done it much sooner.

  25. I’m the rabid little hippy for a reason. My family thinks I’m a crazy hippy non-vaccinating, organic eating weird person (gods forbid they ever find out we plan to homeschool ;) ) and have told me they think I’m the weird one of the family. When in doubt, find new family! Surrounding yourself with others who feel as you do and believe in what you believe is so healthy for the soul. People meet up regularly with others of their religious persuasion to be with others who believe what they believe. Why not us who rate high on the engaged end of the engaged-apathetic scale meeting with other engaged people, others who give a damn and do get off their butts to do something about it. Great post.

  26. Lucky enough to live and work in an environment where we deal with these issues every day and can do something about it. We see a lot of people “coming to the fold” daily and you’re right, they are from very diverse backgrounds. I used to feel like I was hitting my head on the wall and I was the only one, but things are changing and I’m encouraged. Keep up the good fight!

  27. I looooooovvvvveeee this! I was just saying this same thing the other day (though not nearly as well). I meet a lot of different people who are in the process of rejecting the status quo food system. They have all kinds of different reasons. But you can’t really argue against people wanting to do feed their families and their neighbors better – you know? Who cares about all the political crap … we can argue about that another time. Food can unite people who would be terrified to speak to each other under any other circumstance.

    Anecdotally, I haven’t made a friendship yet that hasn’t been vastly improved by a shared meal and a few glasses of wine. That’s gotta mean something. ;)

  28. Richard says:

    I too was taken by the common purpose of the folks there despite the glaring political differences. The circle political spectrum never made more sense.

  29. I have also found common ground with people from other political parties. I think the main problem with the political system in the US is that there are only two parties and a wide range of beliefs that cannot possibly be represented by just two. That’s too simple and human beings aren’t simple creatures at all! That’s really why there is overlap. Because labels are handy sometimes, until they become inconvenient. There are more than 2 or 3 kinds of people and philosophical views. I don’t like being in a box – I would love to really think outside the box and I know I’m not alone (no matter the political party). Thank you Erica because your blog helps support that idea too!

    • Oops forgot to add the part about who I surround myself with… My family is full of do-it-yourselfers, canning/preserving, gardening, cooking, as well as home maintenance and the like. My husband’s family is mostly farmers. But many of my friends are into organic and cutting out their kids manmade chemical intake. My kids school is fairly progressive with a garden/nature habitat. But the food at the school is just ok, regular school food, although they did try vegetarian Mondays and lots of district emphasis on fruits and vegetables. But there is a lot more work to do and I’m working with them to help. It is what I can do, volunteer my time to teach kids about where food really comes from and how it should really taste. So from the school’s point of view, I’m the foodie/naturalist and with my friends, I’m just regular :-)

  30. Great post. I was at the Mother Earth News Fair too – and recorded 12 interviews with the presenters for my weekly show Radio Ecoshock. Those will air over the next few weeks.

    Re your post – keep tuned for my interview with the publisher of Mother Earth News, Bryan Welch. He too is an interesting amalgam of (a) forget the politics lets do something real and sustainable (b) a belief that capitalism still works and (c) unwavering optimism. I’ll run that sometime in the next couple of weeks.

    A listener pointed me to your blog – glad I found it.

    Alex Smith
    host/producer Radio Ecoshock

  31. I do give a damn, and I need to surround myself with more people who do. It’s inspiring reading this, and it’s nice to know MEN exists.

  32. I live in the rural midwest, completely surrounded by people who do NOT give a damn! I am desperate to find the enlightened country people – are they all in the northeast or northwest? I am surrounded by farmers who liberally apply pesticides, and those people I know in towns love nothing more than hiring a company to dump chemicals on their landscapes. I get quite discouraged. In my group I am known as a rabid liberal. People avoid such issues as recycling and animal rights around me. I am particularly horrified with the young people I am in contact with, who don’t seem to care about the environment.

    My sister tells me she is as concerned about the environment as I am, but she is for the keystone pipeline: it is state of the art, spills will be attended to immediately , etc bleh. Hah, I will NEVER settle, never accept. I will fight to the last man for the environment.

    Your blog is one way I am able to maintain contact with people who give a damn – about the right things, and not how great their lawn looks.

  33. What a healthy perspective.

  34. Oh thank you thank you thank you.

    Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with the futility of trying to change the world. Of constantly explaining my lifestyle choices to others. Of defending my values. Of attempting to become a proactivist (of which there are too few) instead of reactivist (of which there are far too many).

    Then I’m given a glimmer of hope like this and it motivates me to keep working for what I believe, to keep living like I do, to keep fighting the good fight!

  35. I live in spokane as well and i can say we suffer more from low self esteme than from being alone in a sea of conservative close minded people. All my life we have complained because we are not seattle or portland etc. After 40 yrs of living here I can say there are up to 700 people that come to the farmers market I attend and there are at least 4 other farmers markets in town that I am sure are well attended. If we lived in seattle everything would have already been done, living in a smaller community we all have the oportunity to be the 1st one to try something or introduce something new to our community, so next time you think whoa is me i live in a small town and no one has the same intrests as me do something new, be the first person you know to try it then get at least one more person to try it, you may be supprised to find you are not alone. Sorry this is a tad off topic but I think it needed to be said. L

  36. Great article! I have been following your blog for a month or so now, must say I enjoy the practical tips and diy info but love your commentary. Recently I have been trying to think this topic through as I am a Conservative/libertarian at heart but all for natural foods, diy back yard farming, herbal medicine, permaculture, ect. I had this nagging thought in the back of my head that I had become infected and if I didn’t take steps quickly would soon find myself wearing sandals made from hemp living out of an old rv along the west coast. Your post helped me lay those fears to rest, I can be a prepper/gun lover and still love all of those other things. In fact I really can’t see why more conservatives who want less government don’t fight against gov’t and large crony capitalism corps from messing with our food and lives. Seems like the two should go hand in hand. Keep it up.

  37. I just found your blog and have become an instant fan. This post ranks as one of my early and immediate favorites!

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