By August 30, 2012 Read More →

When did being self sustainable become “Trendy”?

By: Noreen Gastineau-Lambert

Co-hostess of  The Homestead Honey Hour

Lately, I’ve been thinking about this question.  It seems that this whole “self sustainable” lifestyle has become a niche market.   People who “homestead” or people who are “preppers” are pigeon-holed and placed in a category instead of this being a normal way of life.  When did this happen?

When I look back on how I was raised, this question is easily answered.  I grew up in the desert in foothills of  Tucson, Arizona.  We did not garden, in fact the whole of our back yard was dedicated to an ‘in-the-ground’ swimming pool or what the Clampetts would affectionately refer to as a “cement pond”.  I loved that pool!  I have many fond memories of being able to swim on a whim pretty much any time of the year.  My mom and dad provided my brother and I a really great childhood complete with Atari, color televisions and trips to Disneyland.

My parents were born during WWII.  Their parents had victory gardens, canned their own produce, built bomb shelters and lived a somewhat frugal lifestyle.  They had ration books, used margarine when they really would have preferred butter and the women went without stockings for the war effort.  They fostered relationships with their neighbors and friends.  These are things that seem to harken back to a different way of life and are somewhat foreign to us today.

I remember my Nanny canning jam, and I remember her having a garden that took up the majority of her back yard.  My mother never wanted anything to do with it.  Still doesn’t.  This is certainly her prerogative, but on some level, I think it is sad, not to want to grow your own dinner.  We rely far too much on grocery stores and the like, to provide us with quick, convenient goods.

Many years ago, when I decided I wanted to start gardening and canning and jam making and such, it was looked upon as “cute”.  As if what I was doing was simply a phase that I would grow out of and eventually return to the world of the living that just go to the market when they need some salad fixings.  My love for gardening grew, just as my garden did.  I fostered the same love for gardening in my husband, who is by my side in our endeavors.  It is hard work, with great rewards.

Gardening led to canning and preserving and that led to a desire to have a more extensive food pantry or “food storage”.  This led to becoming more awake to the world around me and wanting to provide for my family in any situation.  So we became Preppers/Homesteaders.  We really arrived at this place by accident.  We showed up to a party we didn’t know was happening and we met all the requirements, so we just joined right in!

Back to the original question though, when did becoming self sustainable become “trendy”?  If you ask me everyone should be doing at least something that qualifies as self-sustaining, whether it is a tomato plant in a pot on their patio to having 3 days, 3 months or 3 years worth of food storage to sustain themselves and their families in the event of job loss, natural disaster or financial catastrophe.  We should all be “Self Sustainable”!  Every single person should take it upon themselves to become responsible for whatever life may throw at them.

I know many people who tell me that they don’t worry about such things happening to them.  I can tell you that I have seen some of those same people after Hurricane Irene, tell me that I was right.  It is never too late to begin to become more self sustainable.  The fact of the matter is, that every single day we have the opportunity to do something small that will further our efforts to becoming less dependent on the system and more dependent on ourselves.

I have people ask me all the time, what they can do to get started.  I see the overwhelming concern in their faces and I see the looks of distress because they think that it is far too large a task to undertake.  I tell them that the way to begin is to simply buy a few extra things the next time the go to the store for groceries.  Buy an extra box of macaroni and cheese, an extra can of green beans.  Shop sales and take advantage of buy one get one free or in my area buy two get three free deals.  Use coupons, because as I recently told someone, cheap is good but free is better!

Make yourself a plan.  Stick to it.  Learn something new each month that interests you.  Learn to garden simply.  Learn to sew on a button or darn a sock.  Learn how to make a meal from dehydrated foods.  Learn to dehydrate foods.  Small steps are the key to become self-sufficient.  It is not as if those of us who have been doing it for a number of years emerged from the womb with this knowledge.  We learned what we desired to learn.  Now we have knowledge that is priceless and we will be able to keep a level head about us should the situation present itself.

Self sustainability is not trendy, it is not cute or quaint or a passing fad.  It is life, it is as necessary as breathing.  Once you reach a level of sustainability, you will wonder how you got along before you decided to take that leap.  At that point, it will become important to pass on that knowledge to others, and there will be others who will want to know how they can help themselves.  This world is ever changing and what comes tomorrow is unknown today, but when you are self-sustaining, you never have to worry about tomorrow because you have prepared today.

Visit Noreen’s Youtube at:                                                               

Visit Noreens web site at:

Listen to The Homestead Honey Hour “live” every Thursday Go To: American Preppers Radio!

Posted in: APN Radio, podcasts

About the Author:

17 Comments on "When did being self sustainable become “Trendy”?"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. mmkkpro says:

    Great article,i also think we all need to be responsable for our own sustainability,i grew up in n.c. we always had a garden and i always worked in it ,not voluntarily but it prepared me in ways im proud  of now,a strong work ethic,depending on myself makes me feel good,times are going to get tough and im glad my parents were hard on us as kids,not mean but we always worked doing something,cutting fire wood,tearing down houses,recycling metals,learned to mechanic,wood working,hunting not for fun for food,we ate what we hunted,all these things have gotten me ready for whatever,i wish the best to everyone out there,we need more love,compassion,caring for each other.Im proud to be blessed with good health,my family,and friends,im 50 now and i plan on working till my time comes,we all need to pull together and help each other in these hard days ahead,ive met good people here,makes me feel like im not alone in prepping,keep up the good work,bless you all,mike

  2. yes…. it should an accepted reality in our country….(following words taken directly from your article) ..” Every single person should take it upon themselves to become responsible for whatever life may throw at them.”

  3. Guy Lundgren says:

    When our government came out for the criminals!!

  4. Rod Robison says:

    Good article. I see Noreen grew up in the foothills of Tucson . A virtual stone’s throw from my office. We’re doing our little prepper thing at our homestead north of Tucson.

  5. I feel more people were into being self sustainable or at least with the mindset than everyone realized. More are vocal now. Also, some are waking up to the fact that they have less control of their own life than before. This economy crunch woke up a few more !

  6. Avery Smith says:

    It already is! Sustainability is a big buzz word right now!

  7. Brian Smith says:

    It is trendy on the internet, that’s what caught my eye about it. But eventually just became our lifestyle. We’re now prepared for whatever life throws at us, and we arent scared anymore. Bring on a great depression 2.0… We’re ready for it.

  8. Here is another reason to become self sustaining.

  9. SUNFLAIR says:

    Like the article, but honestly, does it matter why people choose to become self-sustaining? If they do it because it’s trendy, they’re still doing it, right? And that’s what matters.

  10. Oddly enough, I have thought the same thing. I am near 50 and as a teanager some friends of our parents got me thinking. Back then it was more “Turner Diary” oriented speech, but as I matured I found that to be something to stay away from. Not to say that scenario is out of the question. I applaude the “Trendy” folks. Their participation has, in the positive, brought about new ideas and equipment. It has brought about APN and NvPN networking. Lets face it, finding people who have an in-line goal with you is paramount today. Our country is filled with folks who can’t even change a tire on their car, let alone take of themselves and their family in crisis. Finding and grouping with others who bring something to the table, johnny come lately or not, is a great thing and I applaude them.

  11. Oops. I meant teenager.

  12. Mark Jaffre says:

    Ever since I got my first issue of “The Mother Earth News” back in the mid 70’s I’ve been working towards being self sustaining. And I’m only 53.

  13. My life goal is to become self sustaining, to raise my own food and raise my own food for my lifestock. Everything natural and from the earth no weird chemicals. How God put in here for us in the first place.

  14. I have for sale ideal for survival farms in Costa Rica with own water sources, trees, forest, ideal for planting, having livestock farms in the mountains. During my photo albums you can see different options.

  15. I have for sale ideal for survival farms in Costa Rica with own water sources, trees, forest, ideal for planting, having livestock farms in the mountains. During my photo albums you can see different options.

  16. Mark says:

    People elsewhere are have been doing this for a long time! I live in the SAFE HAVEN of Belize, a stable, english-speaking democracy, on the Caribbean coast of Central America. I live TOTALLY OFF-GRID. All our electricity and water comes from the sky! I have enough electricity (solar & wind) for AC, a modern kitchen, and a workshop. Go ahead, leave the light on, I don’t care, the sun will be out tomorrow, and the Caribbean breeze is constant. We grow 3 CROP HARVESTS PER YEAR. We are on the Caribbean coast, with all the fish we can eat. By road (4WD) or by boat, we can get ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. We’ve got private airstrips nearby.
    We are remote and lock-down secure. DEFWU. What we don’t grow on site (we do grow oranges, grapefruit, bananas, plantain, mangos, coffee, cacao, tropical fruits & vegetables, chickens, etc) we buy & trade from local bush farmers. 80 inches of rainfall/year. Everybody here knows how to weather hurricanes, in 2010 we hunkered down and withstood a direct hit from Hurricane Richard with little damage – however many more hurricanes hit the US every year.
    More people live in Colorado Springs than the entire country of Belize. We have zero neighbors at our place, and are surrounded by thousands of hectares of wild, national lands. Jaguars have eaten two of our watchdogs, but they were here first so we dont bother them. Monkeys & parrots sometimes eat our bananas and corn, but we can figure a way to limit that.
    There are many tropical safe havens throughout the world, with PEACEFUL & WISE residents who know how to thrive close to the land, and are glad to teach others. But Belize is where I will be when grids fail. If my sat-dish stops working at about the same time I see a dim flash way up in the northern sky, I might wonder in a week or so – why don’t they write?

    And – if TS doesnt HTF, then we still have a great Caribbean lifestyle, far from crowds, and as self-sufficient as we want.
    There is room for others. You really should check this out.

  17. James Nix says:

    Quite frankly, I’m all for self-sustainment and self-reliance becoming trendy.  When something becomes trendy, the idea spreads and people want to do it.  And there is no better idea to spread that doing things yourself and helping yourself.  Maybe it will help some people find out they should get off the government bandwagon and realize they should do something.  Personally I’d rather see this trend spread than some new fashion trend or some new reality show…   

    Just my 2cents…