by Rachel Kaplan with K. Ruby Blume
Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
In 2011, we published a book called Urban Homesteading which was about the work we were doing in our own backyards and the work we saw happening in our neighborhoods and cities to reclaim the means of production, simplify our lives, and reach towards sustainability. When we sat down to write the book, we wanted to tell a good news story in uncomfortable, bad news times.
We are two old friends who met in the 80s as artist-activists in San Francisco's Mission District. In the nearly 30 years that we've known each other, our lives have evolved from citizen artists to citizen farmers. We wanted to tell that story. What we found along the way was a lot of other people who were turning their backyards into farms and relearning some basic human skills for self-reliance. We also found that the way our communities, our grocery stores, and our neighborhood economies were changing in response to these simple actions.
There's a larger movement underfoot towards something called "sustainability" but which is maybe better thought of as "resilience" - our ability to respond effectively to change. Given the new normal of the 21st century, we believe these skills are important for all.