I spent some time this morning looking at getting the farm website (and maybe this blog) listed in various "directory" sites on the 'net... "Is this really worth it?" I ask myself.
Who am I trying to reach, here anyway, and why?
For a start I love being able to interact -- even in the very limited way the 'net enables -- with other self-sufficiency nutters like myself; people who love the independence, raising their own food, healing the Earth, sustaining heirloom breeds, recycling their own "waste", managing their energy needs, exploring different ways for humans to live more sustainably on this planet. There are few enough of us, so we gotta stick together. (Besides, its a great way to learn new tricks and prick ourselves out of old comfort-zones and into new ways of doing, thinking, being.)
But, just as important, I want to connect with people similar to who I was 15, 16, 18 years ago. Someone stuck in the desolate, affluenzic, wasteland called the Conventional Economy or (Post?)Modern Life. The me of 15 or 17 years ago was starting to think of breaking out of the Two Inch Pipe that society had put him into, starting to conceptualise"something different", more connected with the Earth, but still did not know what to call it. The me of 16 years ago could not see how to "make enough money to live" in an alternative lifestyle -- let alone the possibility of breaking free of the Money Trap completely! The me of 15 years ago was finding it hard to summon up the courage to let go of the "safety net" of steady income, medical plan, pension plan and 20-days leave a year. Little did I then see just how unsafe, how weak, shaky, unpredictable the "safety net" was, and what a vile and insidious trap it is.
Thus the urge to do some...
I find it appalling: Not one of the website and blog directories I looked at has a category for "Environment"!
"Country Living" is a useful slot, but where do we fit people who are doing self-sufficiency in the cities and suburbs; those who cannot or don't want to live in the "country" but still want to be self-sufficient in some measure?
Would someone look under "Lifestyles"? They almost certainly won't find anything useful there: It's all about Paris Hilton and buying the latest disposable crap.
"Health"? Certainly some of what we do is motivated by health concerns: Our own health as well as the health of the other organisms all around us that sustain us physically, emotionally, spiritually. And the health of our home, Earth.
"Home and Garden"? Well, we built our own home. And we do garden quite a bit! But self-sufficiency -- or "homesteading" for my 'Merkin friends, though it does have an ever-so-slightly different connotation -- certainly encompasses a hell of a lot more than just Home and Garden.
It's also much more than a "Job and Career", and we certainly tackle the big "News and Issues" of the day, in our own tiny ways. Not too many people are trying to directly and personally do something positive about Global Climate Change, (by using renewable energy sources, minimising our consumption, eating local) Corporatisation of the Food Supply (again: growing our own, saving seed, growing open-pollinated and heirloom varieties) installing and living with alternative energy supplies so that we're more resilient to the changes that will be wrought by Peak Oil. We call it Taking Responsibility.
Lots of this self-sufficiency gig is, in my mind, about "People and Relationships" -- but that's not what the directories mean. (One day soon I plan to write about self-sufficiency and community. It's been much on my mind for quite a while. Self-sufficiency is truly only possible on a community scale, and around here there's no real community to speak of, so I'd like to muse-out-loud sometime on how we might begin to build community towards self-sufficiency. Another day.)
"Religion and Spirituality"? Perhaps we don't talk about it much, but I, for one, am strongly motivated by the spiritual element of this life choice.
So Here We Are
All-in-all, I don't find the web directories to be much use at all. We don't seem to fit in anywhere very well, but rather everywhere, just a bit.
I guess we never did, and that's what has brought us here, to this ever-striving-to-be-more-self-sufficient place.