Here's another side to the urban commune mentality we wrote about earlier today: when Madeline Holler and her husband moved to a small university town in the Midwest eight years ago, they soon found themselves in the middle of the Radical Homemakers movement—people who "survive on home-grown food, old-timey skills and a willingness to help the neighbors." But after almost a decade of living this way, it came down to this for Ms. Holler: the economic meltdown has made frugal living fashionable, purposeful and much less quaint. But go radical? She just can't.
Here's an excerpt from her article, which you should definitely read in full:
Our high-earning, home-owning days are nearly a decade behind us, our 40s staring us in the face. "But we're happy?" my husband offers. Not exactly. What I am is ambivalent. In the last few years, even mainstream culture has been all about green living, hyper-locavorism, Michael Pollan and his five ingredients. Even the biggest corporations attempt to tread lightly on the planet... Really, there's never been a less embarrassing time to drive a '93 Ford Festiva, which I sometimes do. The economic meltdown has made frugal living fashionable, purposeful and much less quaint. But go radical? I just can't.
I wasn't raised on a farm (Hayes was), and I've never kept a basil plant alive from one caprese salad to the next. I don't trust myself with a bread starter, much less livestock. Imagining total reliance on a backyard farm makes me cry for my starving children. I am comforted by our growing 401K. And I can't help it: A little piece of me dies when I notice the baby sitter drives a nicer car than us.
...While I share the Radical Homemakers' family, environmental and social justice values, the way they propose bringing about change requires too much of the kind of work I frankly don't want to do. I'm fine giving up stuff. But I can't imagine spending afternoons rendering fat and lacto-fermenting cucumbers.
What do you think? Are you a radical homemaker? Or do you find yourself intimidated (or a little peeved) that this idea of radical homemakers seems to have become synonymous with living a "real" green life?
Read the article and then come back and tell us where you stand.
(Image: Faith and Gender)