My husband and I have lived in Albany, NY for about 7 years now. We've become immersed in our locavore movement, inspired by working at the Honest Weight Co-op and making friends who are wonderful examples of Radical Homemakers. We both grew up in suburban sprawl, feeling disconnected from food, meaningful work/play and extended family. We have a 3 year old now and we're feeling the pressure to reinforce a life-sustaining culture vs. a consumer based one. We were both encouraged to live a "conventional" life and are still being counseled by our parents to both get full-time jobs for benefits, and to put our daughter in school. We whole-heartedly reject this idea, but it's difficult to carry the weight of trying to carve out an alternative lifestyle when the people we look to as mentors don't have any understanding of why.
I finally received Shannon's book from our library recently and reading it has helped me feel inspired, comforted and anxious at the same time. Comforted because it helps to have my own views articulated so well, and anxious because I don't feel I'm doing enough and there's so much knowledge to be acquired and implemented. We have been removing ourselves from the extractive economy for several years now. I stay at home w/ our daughter, we have one (very old) vehicle - a 1978 VW Bus, we live with my mother-in-law to share resources, we barter for many things we need and have drastically reduced our purchasing neuroses, we work within our community to exchange ideas & childcare. However, we're still paying almost $600 a month for healthcare and are terrified to drop it - I recently broke my ankle & our daughter has been fighting an infection for 2 weeks. My DH will be out of a job at the end of Sept. During the winter I get seasonal affective disorder and have been fighting depression for years, partially due to feeling inadequate and ineffective in the mainstream world.
However, I do feel like we're in the rebuilding stage...we bake out of our home for a farmer's market (using as many local ingredients as poss.) and are working on starting a Community Supported Bakery (like a CSA, but with bread/baked goods) in order to sustain us through the winter. What's really got me in a tizzy now is, how can we sustain our home life through the winter in a more nurturing, healthy way? We've had a tendency to rely on TV lately and with the weather up here, in winter it only gets worse. I'm feeling kind of stressed out about how to feel more connected during winter (especially where our daughter is concerned). I really don't like being out in the cold, but not having enough to do deepens my depression and the whole family is affected. I do have some resources here to build on (community activity, homeschooling collective), but I'm wondering what other RH's stuck in the city, transitioning their lives, do in the winter to maintain that sense of well-being that our summer is bringing us now...we have so much fresh, nutritious food right now that it warms my heart. I've started freezing veggies (haven't ventured into canning just yet, but I'm working on getting there) - I know having those to eat this winter will help. Does anyone have any advice or stories that might help me improve my whole family's winter outlook? I want our daughter to have a happy winter, not a stressful one. Sure would be appreciated.