New to the site? Welcome!
(Below is a bit about HOMEGROWN’s philosophy. Looking for the FAQ? Find it here!)
HOMEGROWN.org is an online community of people interested in all things HOMEGROWN: growing, cooking, crafting, brewing, preserving, building, making, and creating. HOMEGROWN.org is a place where we can learn from each other, share our questions, and show off how we dig in the dirt, grow our own food, work with our hands, and cook and share our meals—all things we call HOMEGROWN.
Farm Aid founded HOMEGROWN.org with the mission to create a place where our love for food and the land evolves, deepens, and becomes something more fulfilling. A place where we can hear and appreciate the bigger stories that our food has to share. A place where we can connect to the source of our food, the land and the grower: the family farm. Where we see the connections between good soil, good farmers, good taste, and good times. Where the source of our food doesn’t feel like a stranger, but a fun and friendly neighbor.
That’s the spirit of HOMEGROWN.org. A spirit that will mean more visits to the farmers markets, more backyard BBQs, more dirt under the fingernails, more talking, touching, smelling, and tasting. It will mean a more fulfilling life that people everywhere will come to call HOMEGROWN.
This website celebrates all of us who pioneer a HOMEGROWN way to live, eat, grow, and express ourselves. We connect to the land and to each other.
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 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 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!
What to do on HOMEGROWN.org:
- Do join groups: By joining microcommunities on HOMEGROWN.org, you can stay abreast of discussions going on. You can opt in or out of email notifications through your email settings (underneath your inbox, in the upper right side of any page).
- Do link to your own blog: We want to connect with you and we want you to connect with fellow HOMEGROWN members! There are a few ways of posting your content on HOMEGROWN.org:
- Post in The Stew: A Member Blog: Help us get to know you! A blog is a fantastic way to start keeping an online diary of your HOMEGROWN adventures. Show off!
- Share your own blog: If you already have a blog on WordPress or Blogger or another blog platform, simply copy and paste relevant blog posts to The Stew: A Member Blog. In order to maintain your links, use the html version of your copy. You may also edit and add links using the toolbar at the top of the page. You can schedule posts, too: If you want to share multiple posts, spread them out over a few days or a few weeks so they’re better appreciated. If you do share your posts, please also consider including a HOMEGROWN.org badge on your site that invites your readers to join the community.
- RSS on My Page: Locate the RSS icon on your profile page, click, and enter the URL for your blog’s home page. Sad note: The platform that this site is built on does not play nicely with all blogging tools (e.g., sometimes Blogger—d’oh!).
- Do post photos and videos: Pictures say a thousand words, and people can leave comments on photos and videos, too—and videos are the best way we can teach and learn. Posting tutorials, interviews, and movie trailers are all terrific ways to engage people in the issues that are important to you.
- Do participate in discussions: Got a question? Have you found an interesting book, website, or article? Got a recipe to share? Look for relevant discussions in the general forum or in specific groups.
- Do sign up for our mailing list!
- Do keep it civil: We’re not ready to be mothers, so please be respectful of each other so we don’t need to break anything up. Our members come from diverse areas and backgrounds, but all are unified by their interest in the subjects we discuss here. To that end, please be kind and respectful when you are interacting with others on the website. See the HOMEGROWN.ORG Terms of Service for more details.
What not to do:
- Don’t solicit for products and services: We want to know what kind of business you are in, and there is plenty of opportunity to promote your work on your profile page. That said, posting pitches and blatant plugs for specific products and services is considered SPAM and will not be tolerated. THIS INCLUDES KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGNS. You may not use Private Messages or Chat to advertise unless members specifically request information.
Solicitations considered no-nos include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Products or services you are selling
• Work-at-home businesses or opportunities
- Don’t post inappropriate comments:
We will not tolerate the posting of anything vulgar, hateful, violent, racist, or otherwise obnoxious or illegal. These miscreants are pretty easy to spot, so let Jennifer, the HOMEGROWN manager, know if you have concerns, and she’ll investigate the matter.
We have crafted these guidelines to ensure that everyone within the community has the experience they want. And remember, if you ever have any questions or comments about the site, we’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact Jennifer, the HOMEGROWN manager, with comments and suggestions. Thank you for your support—and welcome to HOMEGROWN.org!