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Radical Homemakers

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Radical Homemakers

A discussion group and gathering area for those wishing to discuss the book, Radical Homemakers, and the topics that it covers.

Website: http://www.RadicalHomemakers.com
Members: 98
Latest Activity: Sep 24, 2013

Radical Homemakers - Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture by Shannon Hayes

Join us! We have invited Shannon to participate in an ongoing book discussion here and she is encouraging Radical Homemakers who come to her looking for dialogue, community and some fun to participate as well. We look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts!

Purchase directly from the author here

Shannon Hayes’ book reinforces so many of the reasons that HOMEGROWN.org was created and has received such a positive response. Shannon's masterfully-crafted language solidifies the sentiments that drive us. Put to words the feelings that we who are passionate about living closer to the earth feel: We reject the consumerist-driven waste of energy and squandered creativity that we see every day. We are joyful for our involvement in activities that bring us closer to the soil, to our food, and to the “culture” in agriculture. In her introduction of the book she writes:
As I looked more closely at the role homemaking could play in revitalizing our local food system, I saw that the position was a linchpin for more than just making use of garden produce and chicken carcasses. Individuals who had taken this path in life were building a great bridge from our existing extractive economy – where corporate wealth was regarded as the foundation of economic health, where mining our earth’s resources and exploiting our international neighbors was accepted as simply the cost of doing business – to a life-serving economy, where the goal is, in the words of David Korten, to generate a living for all, rather that a killing for a few, where our resources are sustained, our waters are kept clean, our air pure, and families can lead meaningful and joyful lives.
Shannon continues by pointing to the industrial revolution as a catalyst for the elimination of a “producer culture”, the demotion of the farmer from skilled citizen to industrial worker, and the deprecation of the “homemaker” to a position of servant. The second half of the book is the most inspiring and instructional. In it she provides insightful and impassioned stories from true life, modern day Radical Homemakers like Carrie and Chad Lockwell who live frugally and joyously in the rural Northeast; like Amanda Shaw and Carol Rydell who grow food and community together in their Chicago suburb, and like our friends Kelly Coyne and Erik Knudsen of HomegrownEvolution, who introduced us to Shannon in the first place (thanks guys, we’re forever grateful).

If you have an interest in delving deeper into the motivations for Radical Homemaking, and are also looking for practical tips for installing some of these philosophies into daily practice, invest in this book. A synopsis of the book – originally published at Yes! Magazine – can be found here.

HOMEGROWN Discussions

Meet the Radical Homemakers 2 Replies

Chime in with your questions and comments here!Continue

Tags: Modern, Homestead, Books, Hayes, Homemakers

Started by Cornelia. Last reply by Andrew Odom Nov 23, 2010.

Do you have a community story for us?

Hi all, I am new to the group. Exciting! I am an aspiring radical homemaker surrounded by lots of other city aspirants. My friend and colleague Spiri Tsintziras and I are writing a book called The…Continue

Started by Myfanwy Jones Aug 26, 2010.

Life in Transition 4 Replies

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…Continue

Tags: rebuilding, to, bakery, supported, blues

Started by Britin Foster, All Good Bakers. Last reply by Britin Foster, All Good Bakers Aug 17, 2010.

Even Better Homes and Gardens (Blogs by and for) 4 Replies

Hey there fellow RHs,When I got married, my MIL bought me a lifetime subscription to Better Homes and Gardens. For anyone who knows me, this sounds preposterous. I am not a consumer culture kind of…Continue

Tags: homemaking, housewifery, community, blogs

Started by Calamity Jane. Last reply by Rachel Hoff Mar 17, 2010.

Shannon Hayes blog on Yes! Magazine

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Comment by Chris on March 17, 2010 at 1:38pm
I recently stumbled upon some videos (actually, they must've been films) of Dolly Freed, made just after she wrote Possum Living (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvn79E40VSc). I have to say, as inspired as I was by her book when I read it a decade or so ago, back then, I imagined her and her dad living in relative squalor. Seeing the her home and the small snippets of her life, listening to her so thoughtfully articulate why she chose to live as she did, just blew me away as what I saw completely undermined those old assumptions. I imagine that for those who first hearing about people leaving behind regular paychecks, new everything, health insurance, and 401ks, could have a similar initial impression--that such a life would be onerous, dirty, and empty of joy. From my own experience, transitioning to this life, I know that I had NO idea what liberation felt like until I began living my homemaking life. The thought of going back to that old life--even if it meant more money, stuff, and "security"--seems more like a prison sentence.

As for the article. Congrats on the coverage, Shannon--even if the writer "didn't get it." I was surprised, as Sharon Astyk noted in her commentary, that an editor let the coinage of the nonsensical "femivore" appear in the story. I wish the story had been more about radical homemakers instead of about Orenstein's reaction and her friends (who really didn't get more than a mention, anyway). Let's keep our fingers crossed for some more depth to future coverage.

My friend Sarah wrote that story for Daily Finance! I'm sure she'll be pleased to know you've read it. We've started a discussion group here in Portland--lots of us living or aspiring to live the radical homemaking life here.
Comment by Rachel Hoff on March 16, 2010 at 9:59am
Shannon, thanks for sharing that article. It is true about money and ethics.
Comment by Lizz on March 16, 2010 at 7:23am
Shannon, that story makes me think of this book I just read, Blue Bird. Is written by one of my favorite authors Ariel Gore. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Bluebird/Ariel-Gore/e/978037411489...
People have more control over their happiness than money does :) it's just convincing them of that lol
Comment by Shannon Hayes on March 16, 2010 at 4:50am
Comment by Lizz on March 15, 2010 at 5:54pm
This is true. Sometimes you just have to plant the seed (so to speak) and lead by example:)
Comment by Shannon Hayes on March 15, 2010 at 5:27pm
Thanks for that, Amber. I have learned on this path that, once this kind of lifestyle gets some publicity, folks immediately jump to "Little House on the Prairie" and "Amish." I wonder if it is some way of "othering" that puts it mentally and emotionally out of reach, so that they do not have to feel bad for not exploring it further?? In any case, even though the simple act of living according to one's values doesn't seem challenging or confrontatory, those who have not walked the path tend to interpret it as such. The way RHers live can make non-RHers defensive, even if we don't intend it.
I give Orenstein credit for trying to explore it, even though she is not totally walking that path. In that way, I think she was brave.
My experience has been that people's initial resistance today doesn't mean that the ideas won't haunt them for a while....and when they are feeling less defensive someday, they might make a switch, or at least a few changes.
Comment by Amber Westfall on March 15, 2010 at 12:35pm
Hi Shannon.

You know, after my initial reaction of 'she just doesn't get it' I went back and reread the article and the part you mention, where she is questioning herself , what she wants and how much is enough, stood out for me too. I definitely got a sense of her own dilemma when she talks about rushing to get her daughter and cooking a fast meal, maybe even thinking, "Sure it sounds great, but who has time?"

I can imagine, for people who have made different life choices, that it would be really challenging to think about putting the brakes on that and making lasting changes that go deeper than just tapping into a trend. No doubt, there are plenty of people that would be downright resistant to it or so caught up in the bonds of a high mortgage, high debt, high consumption lifestyle that they can't imagine getting out even if they wanted to.

I would be the worst representative for this movement because I'm so enthusiastic about it that it would just come across as sounding like, "This way of life is right, your's is wrong." When really, all I want to say to the author of that article and everyone else is "Hey, check out the endless possibilities for freedom, creativity, joy, autonomy, purpose, meaning, laughter and celebration! I'm having so much fun and I want you to have some too."

Finally, I do tend to bristle a bit when people make comments like "it sounds a little too Amish for me" or "I don't want to live on Little House on the Prairie." Ok, I get that. But to assume that those are the only options, limits and narrows down the infinite possibilities of what can actually constitute a radical, homemade life (I live mine in a rented, basement apartment in the city, with no car, a day job and an allotment garden) and does a disservice to the generations of people who did and do live closer to the land. Were/are their lives less than ours, because, by choice or not they had to/ do live with less modern conveniences and make their life rather than buy it? And let's be real, whatever life we are buying instead of making on our own means that someone else is out there making it for us. Are their lives worth less? You wouldn't have to look too far into the clothing factories, coffee and chocolate plantations and agribusinesses across the globe to to get a sense of how we value many of the lives of people in those industries.

And for me, that is exactly where the homemade life stops being precious and starts being radical!
Comment by Shannon Hayes on March 15, 2010 at 10:29am
FYI, lest anyone is nervous, I do not eat feminists.
Comment by Shannon Hayes on March 15, 2010 at 10:28am
Thanks for sharing this link, Amber. Indeed, it is a superb commentary, and I really appreciate it.

One thing that I do think is important about Orenstein's piece is the dilemma that she, herself, reveals. You can see in her writing that, while it may be simply an account of what some may hope is a passing trend, she's personally reckoning with the ideas.

Talking to reporters has been very interesting on that front. They are talking to me because this is newsworthy, but many of them have made different life choices, and I think it is a tough interview for them to do with me.
Comment by Amber Westfall on March 14, 2010 at 11:44am
Hi Shannon,
Still waiting for a copy of your book to arrive, but I LOVE it already!

Sharon Astyk posted a reply to the NY Times article which I thought was quite good and articulates what my response would be, much better than I could, which is basically, "Ugh, the author of the article so does NOT get it! Pfft."

Here's the link to Sharon's post.

Cheers!
 

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