"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.
Smart forest management can help you move towards energy independence while also providing additional income. This woodlot management workshop is meant to empower owners of small woodlots to start a management program of their own.
David Cantieni will share his personal experience of living in the woods for the last 30 years and his journey of forest stewardship. He’ll discuss and demonstrate how to do a forest assessment, with emphasis on species diversity, canopy openness, aesthetics, wildlife habitat, and timber quality. David will dive into economic considerations of forest management including regional timber markets, selling cordwood, and more. There will also be discussion of scale-appropriate tools and technology to aid you in your forestry work.
New England is blessed with an excellent climate for growing a wide variety of mushrooms, many of which contain rare nutritional and medicinal value. This hands-on workshop will teach you the techniques necessary to grow edible mushrooms in your landscape, whether it be a backyard, woodlot, or basement. We’ll primarily focus on cultivating lion’s mane and shiitake mushrooms, both renowned for their flavor, medicinal qualities, and ease of cultivation. The skills you’ll practice in this class will empower you to be begin your own mycelial adventures.