"Homesteading is a way for me to fully LIVE the life I love; a joyful immersion in a whole, sustainable system."
- Sharon Gensler Outreach Coordinator, NOFA/Mass and long-time homesteader
In a world that is becoming increasingly more complex and inaccessible, people are taking charge of their own lives through homesteading. Homesteading represents the utmost expression of self sufficiency and self determination, and is practiced by New Englanders in a wide range of surroundings. Homesteaders across MA are raising chickens and livestock, keeping honeybee hives, planting vegetables and fruit trees, and finding ways of preserving, fermenting, and drying food to keep throughout the year. They are spinning their own fiber, constructing their own homes and furniture, implementing new forms of sustainable energy solutions and finding ways to renew, re-use and recycle natural resources.
At NOFA/Mass, we believe that opting out of an industrial food system by growing food for yourself and for your family is amongst one of the most empowering decisions a person can make; an act which is simultaneously a strong contribution to food security. Our homesteaders are bold dreamers. They step out of societal norms and create intentional communities, where simplicity, self-reliance, and hard work are core values. This is true whether they live on 20 acres of land or in urban apartments. Whether you are a homesteader because you’re not quite ready for the next smartphone, or because you are trying to make a political statement, our classes on cheese-making, lactofermentation, and other DIY workshops are designed for the homesteader or serious hobbyist. At NOFA/Mass you’ll also find a strong homesteading culture among our members – among folks who have been homesteading since the 70’s. If you’re a homesteader, come learn from the generations of MA residents who have successfully transitioned back to a simpler, land-based lifestyle.
The North Shore of Massachusetts is a place of opportunity for small, diversified, ecologically-sound farming, a place where local products are increasingly valued, and a region with a growing number of farms. At the same time, the agricultural soils of the North Shore are varied and the weather patterns can be extreme. Challenges faced by both experienced and new farmers include erosion; run-off of phosphorus and nitrogen; drainage issues (including soils that are drought prone and soils that are often waterlogged,); and overall flooding of crop lands.
At this hands on workshop Jake Levin, The Roving Butcher, will lead participants in the slaughter, bleeding, scalding, evisceration, and eventually the break down into various pork cuts, of a market weight pig. There will be a tour of the historic 95-acre Frohloff Farm, 20 acres of which are managed as a hog operation by farmer Bill St. Croix.