Not so long ago, a visit to grandma and grandpa's farm was like taking a crash-course in fermenting and pickling garden-fresh produce, collecting honey and tending to chickens, goats and rabbits.
But those living-off-the-land skills have slowly eroded over time as more folks chose city over rural life.
Today, a pair of Manitoba women are on a mission to resurrect the past and teach a new generation of modern urban and rural homesteaders those long-lost crafts. Read: Handcrafted Manitoba ice cream flying out of freezers
"It's about being self-sufficient, not depending on outside sources for food and knowing where your food comes from," says Kris Antonius, co-owner of Nourished Roots, a company dedicated to teaching urbanites how to live like they're homesteaders.
At the DIY Homesteaders Festival, gardeners learn to plant a pallet garden, perfect for small yards or balconies. (Robin Summerfield)
That means teaching city dwellers how to: build pallet gardens; ferment food; grow bountiful backyard gardens and fruit orchards; and raise rabbits in the city, among many other skills.
The classes, which start in July in Winnipeg and west of Gimli, tap into a growing food movement that challenges people to adapt traditional self-sustainability skills to life today.
"We call this 'modern homesteading.' It's having one foot in both worlds," says Antonius.
With partner Adrienne Percy, the pair have started hosting homesteading workshops on Percy's 320-acre farm west of Gimli. Classes in Winnipeg are also planned. "There is such a desire for learning this right now," Antonius says.
Indeed. In early June, the pair hosted 350 wannabe homesteaders at the first annual DIY Homesteaders Festival. The one-day outdoor exhibition, which was held on the farm, sold out.
The group's new classes start in July and include Wild Edible Adventure; Cob Oven Construction; and Permaculture for the Canadian Flatlands. Percy will teach 'Traditional Wisdom, Modern Kitchen,' a six-month course starting September in Winnipeg. The company plans to add more classes including how to raise rabbits.
Newcomers embracing the self-sufficient movement can start slow with little projects around the home that will begin to transform your lifestyle, says Percy.
"You can start no matter where you are."
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