Big (Good) Changes at HOMEGROWN.org
A Bit About Where We’ve Been
HOMEGROWN.org has thrived as a lively web community for more than four years now. Many of you have been here since the early days, and all of you have helped shape the site into what it is now. Much has happened in these four years. We’ve achieved many of the goals that we had set for ourselves: lively conversation among members, thousands of stories told, and, we hope, thousands of lives changed, empowered, enriched through meaningful connections to the sources of good food.
Other things that people predicted would happen have not. Namely: We don’t “live online.” Sure, we find cheap flights and goof around on Facebook, but we’re not interested in rattling around in an online world or living a “second life.” We’d much rather be living real life: cooking, tending the lettuce bed, and gathering eggs. Heck, we’d rather be weeding than living some virtual life with ones and zeroes as our neighbors.
Where We’re Going
We’ve long thought of HOMEGROWN as the child of our parent organization, Farm Aid, whose mission is to build a vibrant family farm-centered food system. No one is happy with the damage that industrial agriculture has wrought – and we know that family farmers alone can’t stem the tide of destruction. Farm Aid has been integral in building an alternative for farmers and eaters, and HOMEGROWN.org is one way for us to participate in the change. We’re all out there – growing, cooking, canning, tasting, building – reveling in the joys (and sorrows) of agrarian life. That’s transformative — for us as people and for the world that we live in.
We’ve kicked this around for a while, and we’ve concluded that the greatest service HOMEGROWN.org can perform for those of you who visit it (and love it) is to be a resource of honest, good information. Now HOMEGROWN.org, scampering along like a toddler but bearing a marked resemblance to mom and dad, is set in purpose and direction.
That’s why you’ll be seeing (and may have already noticed) some changes here at HOMEGROWN.org. The Member Blogs, now called The Stew: A Potluck Member Blog, is still the best way for you to share your stories: Bloggers re-posting from your own sites has been a terrific way for us to get to know each other! You can still connect with people in topic-specific Groups like Backyard Chickens and Newbies. Photos, of course, tell (a thousand!) stories, too. And you’re invited to share garden photos, which will be featured in the “Hey, I Grew That”. Right at the top of the homepage, you’ll see the “New on HOMEGROWN” section—a quick way of accessing all of the latest stuff on the site.
In this next phase of HOMEGROWN.org, the keystone of the site is the HOMEGROWN 101 library. This is where you will find succinct, practical information and how-tos for growing, cooking, making, and building. In order for the HOMEGROWN 101 library to be the very best resource, WE NEED YOU and your expertise! Sure, we’ll continue to comb the web, compiling the finest information available, but we’re also creating HOMEGROWN 101s from the knowledge that you share with us! If you keep a blog and have written about these agrarian skills that we celebrate, please share them in a member blog post or in a private message to Cornelia or Jennifer. Recipes count, too! You are the ones who have the dirt under your fingernails and beet stains on your hands, and you are our teachers.
Knowledge and Power for All!
We want HOMEGROWN.org to be a resource for your community. You can use a HOMEGROWN 101 wherever there is opportunity to engage and educate. It’s not college, there are no fees, and it’s not co-opted by industry. It’s useful information that can be shared with everyone—be it at a church potluck dinner, a neighborhood association meeting, a rooftop garden party, a science fair, or the county fair. A HOMEGROWN 101 empowers all of us with the skills we want for living a life that reflects our values.
Let’s invite as many of the people we know—online and off—along on the journey. Please post this to your Facebook page, Tweet it, Pin it, email it, print it and post it up on the bulletin board. We’re all changing the world together. Let’s go!
“SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT” PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR USER JSCHNEID UNDER CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE.