Ecology and place in homesteading principles
Homestead, as a dictionary definition, consists of a dwelling and property where a family resides. However, the fundamental principles of sustainability, stewardship and engagement with the land plays an important role in human health and development. I grew up playing in the dirt, hearing the dinner bell ring and smelling fresh cut alfalfa. These sensations resonate meaning; for rural communities’ these experiences are self-defining providing identity and the creation of place. Nature of place refers to the human feeling of belonging to a given area. Farming, family and faith defines a culture that works and lives closely with the land. The physical, cognitive and spiritual relationships develop a value system that defines culture and identity despite today’s globalizing capital and synthetic environments. Self-sustaining, ecological farmsteads are the main focus of this paper. The antithesis considers two current issues: the threats of global society on place identity and the consequences of material/artificial dependency on human health. This leads me to question the meaning of selfsustainability. Why should a person be connected to his or her life source - the land - and experience nature at an intimate level? Investigation contains the values earned and defects of sustainable lifestyles. Living harmoniously with the environment is key in understanding human relationship with natural surroundings. What is the value of having connectedness to the land verse interconnectedness within global economics? Through a series of interviews and observation, I’m learning how localized sustainable agriculture systems, such as organic farming and permaculture, are rooted in environmental ethics aimed at teaching, improving and connecting people to our natural resources. These homestead principles contribute to the identity of environments by reflecting locality through materiality, sensory engagement and hands-on education. With ever-increasing virtual practices, human perceptual engagement shifts our communication standards. Dependency on material culture and lose of identity have created a new movement of modern homesteading and organic farming. These explorations question how place and values create an authentic, healthy environment.