One day she heard about the trademarking of the terms "urban homestead"and "urban homesteading", and her dream was interrupted. The rest is history my friends. My idealistic image of being like Amanda Soule, crafty super mama hero of all crafters, disappeared into a fog of legal speak and a rapidly growing, and very wonderful urban homesteading facebook page. Things took a turn shall we say, a major shift in direction, and I became the leader of a fast moving grassroots urban homesteading community almost over night. It's been an exceptional ride, and I wouldn't change a moment of it, but lately I've become introspective and have been questioning who I am in all of this.
The questioning started when an interviewer asked me, "What is your life plan?" Ummm.....life plan, what is that anyway? That got me thinking about what my "plan" is, and truth be told I have none. My vision up until this point has been to continue being a stay at home mom, growing my sewing and designing business, which I'm still doing slowly but surely when I'm not on facebook fighting the latest battle. Honestly though, I'm just taking life as it comes and living in the present, following my heart, and trying to take the community I'm leading in the right direction in the mean time. I'm sorting through the multitude of directions that are opening up to me, and that others are presenting me with. Everyone has ideas, really great ideas, but if I were to implement every single idea presented to me I would lose vision, lose focus, and ultimately not get a darned thing done. I get phone calls, e-mails, requests, etc. and for the first time in my life I have to sit back and evaluate each possible direction carefully before taking action. There have been times when the direction I've gone has back fired, (and I've got the hate mail and letters to the editor to prove it!) But, I've learned to get back up, shake the dust off, and continue on without dwelling on the past.
Lately I've been asking myself another question, "Who am I in the midst of all of this anyway?" Writer? Activist? Leader? At first I tried to fit into the mold of blogger as my main identity. I tried, and there were days where I almost believed I could be an amazing one post a day urban homesteader blogger who would wow the crowds like Erica Strauss of Northwest Edible Life. That woman can write like no other urban homesteading mama I've seen out there, seriously. Just read one post and you'll see what I mean! Then there's Deanna Duke of Crunchy Chicken. She's another one I just can't hold a candle to, sigh. Eco groovy chicken lovin' writer extraordinaire, that's what she is! There are others out there who get all down into the psychology of homesteading and house holding and house this and that...I've lost track of all of the terms, I just can't keep up anymore. Harriet Fasenfest, (amazing writer and woman in general), is one of them, as is Calamity Jane of Apron Stringz. Just reading what that woman does on a daily basis makes my head spin. Really? She does all of that, really? Wow, just wow. Talk about giving someone an inferiority complex! Then there are the super hero gardening sorts like Rachel Hoff of Dog Island Farm. She's doing the "year without groceries challenge" and I just stand in awe of that kind of commitment. There's lots more of the super hero gardener types, so please forgive me if I skipped over you! But I love them all, they are truly wonderful and talented women....just not me.
Enter Julie Bass, of Oakparkhatesveggies - the gardening hero who has been all over the media for the audacious crime of growing veggies, (NO!), in her front yard in raised beds in Oak Park Michigan! I first heard about her veggie "crime" via the Take Back Urban Home-steading(s) page. Within a day of posting her story on the main TBUH feed Treehugger and Grist had articles up about her, and within a few more days her story had gone viral. Then I checked her blog out, and I was sold. This was a woman I could relate to, a woman I could hang my hat on. Her tone resonated with me and I get her, or at least I think I do. She's totally down to earth and human, but don't let that sweet voice deceive you - she's got got an iron fist under the velvet glove. There will be no backing down until she gets what is rightfully hers let me tell you. I guess I see a bit of myself in her and the more I think about it the more I see that I'm an activist at heart. I sit down to write a blog, and I have a hard time finishing it because I'm too busy looking through news feeds, or blog posts to see what's happening. I look for people to help, causes to fight, and although I wasn't initially looking for a cause when the urban homesteaders united, I do now. I know the power of a unified voice, of people standing up in unison and refusing to accept the status quo.
I have faith that I can make a difference in this world somehow. I believe that my position in the urban homesteading community was more than simply fate. I don't speak much about my personal faith beliefs publicly, because honestly I hate the idea of anyone feeling I'm shoving my
So, to conclude, thank you Julie Bass, Erica Strauss, Harriet Fasenfest, and the rest of you wonderful, talented and intelligent women for helping me figure out who I am in all of this. We're in this together, so keep writing, blogging, house holding, and I'll be right beside you fighting the fight.