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Radical Homemakers


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: 99
Latest Activity: Jul 6, 2014

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

The Emotional Lives of Animals

Grief, friendship, gratitude, wonder, and other things we animals experience.

“Lean In” and 8 Other Bad Business Buzzwords

A radical pessimist’s glossary of exploitative economics.

Oscar Grant Was Shot by Police 10 Years Ago. Now His Family Is Helping Others to Heal

His life was cut short on a train platform. Now his family is building bridges between police and the community, and connecting families affected by such violence.

Comment Wall

Comment by Carol on January 6, 2011 at 10:31am

 I was fascinated by this TED talk, The Power of Vulnerabililty:


I think farmers are some of the most vulnerable people I know, yet we can't reduce the vulnerability and still expect change. It goes hand in hand. 

 How much of the "vitriol" is the result of others trying to beat back their vulnerability? 

 Seems very relevant to me. 

Comment by Shannon Hayes on January 7, 2011 at 10:23am

Anyone else have trouble reaching out to new folks?


Comment by Shannon Hayes on January 7, 2011 at 10:48am
Carol - I just had a chance to check out that TED talk you referenced.  Wow.  That's something.  I think you are right about the vitriol.  And I believe that most people on this path experience it.  I take it somewhat publicly because I published a book; but how many of us know that folks are rolling their eyes at us when we walk away?  And how many eye rollers are in the closet with their desparation?
Comment by Carol on January 7, 2011 at 1:54pm

I laughed when she said "I don't even hang out with people like that" .  I appreciate seeing it from her viewpoint. It does make it easier to have compassion for the eye rollers. They have their own struggle to embrace. 

 I am glad I have had the opportunity to hang out with  some very courageous people who inspire me to seek my own courage.  Every market, every CSA member, every new farmer friend, even nature itself makes us vulnerable.  I'll admit to sometimes shrinking from it and wanting to take a break from having to stick my neck out.  Like Private Benjamin, I just want to go shopping, get my hair done and stop struggling. Then I remember how quickly bored I have been in the past with those lifestyle choices. 

 Have we as a community become so comfortable with others providing the fish (paycheck) that we ridicule those who will actually get out there and fish? Even the words "work ethic" make me cringe these days because they only seem focused on the paycheck and not the struggle or real value of the work itself. 


Comment by Zoubida Ayyadi on June 6, 2011 at 2:14pm

I'm in the middle-age group of RH. My sons are respectively 16, 13 and 10 years old. We began our shift to RH about a year ago without even knowing about the eye-opening, thought-stirring, paradigm-shiting book from Shannon Hayes.

My 16 years old son likes to gently challenge us with a pretended "McDo addiction". He loves the stuff, but he knows how bad it is. He's in that age when peer-pressure or peer-influence is so powerfull. We just explain our beliefs and our decisions and when he answers with a sarcastic joke, we know the message got through and he's introspecting later. We could measure that in few choices he made lately.

I homeschool my youngest son since I resigned my job a year ago and he gets first-hand experience at radical homemaking and loving every bit of it.

Our 13 years old is trying to cope with marketing pressure and family choices and orientations. Again, I find that openly talk about our choices makes all the difference in the world. It's hard though, on him, and I find myself letting go of our new resolutions and plans to give him some time to adapt. I can't be a radical homemaker if I alleniate my kids, whom I pretty much raised, until recently, with the idea we had to have a nice looking home, the latest cool family car and junk food is ok to be able to relax and as a mean to enjoy in a rewarding fashion (no work or mess) the fruits of our hard work.

I have to say my husband doesn't read, ever. It happens that he doesn't master well budgeting. So it was easy for me, every year for the last 3 years, at tax-time, to demonstrate how silly and incomfortable our life is with all that money coming in and even more each year coming out. I finally convinced him to sit-down with me and calculate how much a difference it would make if I was home, no child care services to pay, no career wardrobe for me, no car on the road twice a day every-day (he commutes in city-bus, I had to use a car to go to work), homemade meals versus convenience and delivery food, and so on. We worked on the figures as precisely as we could, even computing in homemade bread versus bought bread. Then we asked the accountant last year, once he finishes the tax filing for the past year, to calculate how much taxes we would have paid if I wasn't working. The difference of actual money generated by me working, after all other "2 incomes work-related expenses" and savings in taxes was only 3000$. We made the calculating again and again and again. It varied more or less between 2500$ and 5000$.

That's when he got convinced we could be better off with less money. :-)) He realised how decieving a second salary entering the bank account every 2 weeks was. He was flabbergasted and I must admit that, me too. Comint to realise I was living all that work/family balance anxiety and working that hard for that little bottom line was depressing when I thought how long we did it and where blind to its actual value.

So that's how I convinced my reluctant husband. Now he's more and more seeing how little important is the fact of having a pristine back-yard with a splendid swimming-pool (he wanted that so bad only 5 years ago and I never agreed to it). He realises how people struggle in silence, showing off a well-to-do façade all the while consumer's debt are eating them up alive, up until they moved one morning and we see a foreclosure sign at their door (yes, it happens in Canada too, more often lately than we ever saw before). And most importantly, he realises happiness doesn't have a price-tag and "messy" can be delighteful and comfortable when it has a purpose and a reason (as in found rocks around no-till garden beds rather than store-bought, truck-delivered flag-stones on the garden paths).

A few weeks ago, we had a family talk. The boys were not happy about not having few things (mostly video-games but other stuff too) that "everbody has except us". I felt somewhat guilty at some point (they can be convincing) and reluctantly asked if they thought I should go back to work and live the way we did before I resigned. They unanimely told me I was nuts. Life is much more comfortable for everybody since we decided and acted upon homemaking changes last year. They reluctantly stopped the nagging. Later we found a compromise (they buy second-hand games with the money they earn).

That was a long comment just to say, I recieve the book last Thursday and have been reading it, sometimes out-loud to my family, sometimes during breaks gardening. It's an important book in my life right now. I'm so happy I read it. I'm so happy it exists.

I need to work more on developping a network, a community fabric around us. I find it challenging. I don't know how to do that.

Comment by Zoubida Ayyadi on June 6, 2011 at 2:21pm
Just a little note to say English is my second language, learned at school in France. So I appologise for any mistake and hope you'll forgive them.
Comment by Calamity Jane on June 6, 2011 at 3:13pm
Welcome Zoubida!
Sounds like you jumped off the cliff without even knowing quite what was down there, congratulations! That takes bravery.
I'm so glad you found Shannons book, and Homegrown. It really, really helps to feel like you are not alone.
Enjoy the struggles and joys!
Comment by Zoubida Ayyadi on June 6, 2011 at 9:34pm
Thank you Calamity Jane. I'm certainly glad to find all these ressources and information so the journey doesn't feel lonely. :-))
Comment by Shannon Hayes on July 8, 2011 at 5:45am

I've been hearing from folks about the woes of unsupportive partners when facing the RH lifestyle for quite some time now, and here is my attempt to make some sense of what I've learned.  I'm sure many of you have some views on this!



Comment by Annie B on October 23, 2011 at 8:57am

I picked up a copy back home in Austin when I was back home visiting my family this summer. I'm now back "home" in Germany, where in someways, I think it is very enabling of a radical homemaking lifestyle. Gardening is widely practiced, a large farmer's market is available in the city Monday-Friday, so on and so forth. Plus, although there is without a doubt a strong consumer culture, it is fully normal and expected, especially for young people like myself and my boyfriend, that we are low on funds, and therefore consume less. We are starting to try to do more and more for ourselves, repairing our own clothes, growing our own food and cooking as much as possible.


I came to this page because of checking out the Radical Homemakers website, and I'm checking back every few days for more information about different things that I've always wanted to do for myself. I also recommended the book to my mother after a very long Skype conversation about how inspired I already feel from my own reading (and I'm only half-way through!).


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