Urban Homesteading, my current obsession-and an etech topic

I haven’t been blogging about it here, but my current obession(one of them, at least), is urban homesteading,  My new place in Oakland has a large yard, a basement, and a decent kitchen, all of which has set off a flurry of reading of urban homesteading books and blogs. (I am considering starting another blog just to chronicle my own efforts with worm bins, composting, etc, so folks who read this blog for tech and social media and tech/feminist info don’t have to read about making pickles with lacto-bacteria and so on.)

Nevertheless, when I heard that Mark Frauenfelder, editor of MAKE and a BoingBoing guy, was going to do a session at eTech on DIY and urban homesteading, I was thrilled!

Mark’s session notes say the following:
“In 1900 about 40 percent of Americans (40 million) lived on farms,
and a similar percentage worked on farms. All farms had machinery and
woodworking shops, and the people living and working on farms knew how
to repair equipment, make furniture, and build almost anything they
needed. People were makers by necessity, and as a result they acquired
many useful DIY skills that they applied to their leisure activities as well.

fewer than 2 percent of Americans live or work on farms. Most people
aren’t makers by necessity, and the flood of cheap junk from China
starting in the 70s resulted in people not caring about repairing the
stuff they owned. Everything became disposable.

But along
with throwing away stuff, we also threw away a rich, rewarding sense of
self-reliance that comes from being able to make, mend, and maintain
the things around us.

eTech has always been a fascinating conference; this Geek life thread looks great-I see  Rose White is also presenting; was so interested in her at Arse Electronika last year. (Okay, turning into a don’t miss…)



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  1. Jared Brandt says:

    I can’t wait to see your worm bins – I have been thinking about trying some for a while.

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