There is a quiet movement around the country that is becoming more and more prevalent, a movement towards simplicity, a movement towards the old times, when pickles were made in the kitchen, not bought from a store. When the eggs we used for breakfast came from the chickens in the backyard, and a time when we could make a hoe ourselves, not having to drive to Home Depot to pick one up. That movement is called homesteading. Homesteading, by definition, is a lifestyle of self-sustainability, with what you eat, what you wear, what you use, etc. And this movement isn’t happening just in the suburbs, but in major cities, like Atlanta.
This week’s Five Questions features Kimmy Coburn, who heads up The Homestead Atlanta, and also Crop Mob Atlanta, which is a “group of landless and wannabe farmers who come together to build and empower communities by working side by side.” In Atlanta she works to help people remember their roots, and shows them ways they can be more sustainable and self-sustainable, even living in a large city. She’s a huge proponent for local and organic food, and is also a world traveler, having spent extensive time in India. She’s a great treasure to our community, as someone who not only helps make it better, but stronger through what she does, and how she helps encourage and support community. Enjoy her Five Questions-
1. What is the last book you read?
I’ve been on a bit of a non-fiction streak – probably due to only having little chunks of reading time scattered about. Just finished “My Stroke of Insight” by Harvard neuroanatomist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. I was totally captivated by her Ted talk in which she illuminates the functional and cognitive differences between our left and right hemispheres as she experienced them during her stroke and recovery. It’s pretty mind-blowing stuff (horrible pun intended) and has made me want to give my good ol’ right hemisphere a little more air time.
2. What does “homesteading” mean to you?
Homesteading is one of those crazy concepts that can mean any number of things. It obviously conjures up traditional images of a milk cow, canning jars and a hefty stack of firewood. And while I love and value that approach (and fantasize frequently about my dreamy mountain freehold), it’s kind of an “all or nothing” proposition that alienates most people.
I guess at the core of it there’s a certain level of thoughtfulness and engagement. You take the time to consider everything coming into and going out of your home, who it effects, and how. If you don’t have the time or space to grow but commit to buying from local farmers who are stewards of the land, or swap clothes and shop second hand rather than buying from companies with questionable labor practices, you are still tending your home and its role in the community – even if it’s just a little studio apartment! Make what you can, trade for what you can’t, reuse what you’ve got, and buy local. And by all means, share as much as you can. I think that might be the heartbeat of homesteading. Share what you make and what you know. It’s an economy of abundance.
3. Best place in ATL for brunch?
It’s not technically a “brunch” establishment, but my friends and I have started a bit of a tradition of hitting up the Wrecking Bar Brewpub after the farmer’s market on Saturdays. If you ever hear a rowdy crew of farmers and friends in the biergarten, it’s probably us. Plus, Chef Terry Koval and the whole crew over there are so amazingly supportive of everything good happening in the Atlanta community. We like showing our love. And I’m addicted to their fries. It’s a problem.
4. Favorite music purchase of the past year?
I feel like I’m so behind on all kinds of amazing musical releases. The new Beck album is awesome for a rainy day. I really like the new Andrew Bird album of Handsome Family covers (with equally amazing title “Things are really great here, sort of”) when I’m feeling kooky – which is a lot. And since I spend most of my time writing for various jobs, I always come back to great instrumental stuff like Stan Getz and Bill Evans and acoustic magician Leo Kottke when I gotta put fingers to keys.
5. Favorite place to get away for the weekend?
(Do not tell people you like staying at home in your pajamas. That is not a weekend getaway. People don’t want to know your latent anti-social tendencies and love of Netflix binging while working on crafts. That’s a cat-lady meets Unibomber kind of vibe.)
Seriously though, a cabin in the mountains with lots of trees and birds and not a whole lot of people or internets. I’m not picky past that.
You can find out more about The Homestead’s workshops here- http://www.thehomesteadatl.com/upcoming-workshops/
You can connect with Kimmy on Twitter here- https://twitter.com/TheHomesteadATL
You can find out more about Crop Mob, and how you can help here- http://www.cropmobgeorgia.com/category/crop-mob-atlanta/
Check out all the other Five Questions blogposts!
Kyle Tibbs Jones of The Bitter Southerner
Chuck Bryant of “Stuff You Should Know”
Sarah Buchanan of Kula Project
Chef Chris Hall of Local Three
Tim Gaddis, of Many Fold Farm
Justin Fox, of Fox Brothers BBQ
Dan Haseltine, of Jars of Clay and Blood:Water Mission
Chef Asha Gomez of Cardamom Hill
Jen Hidinger of STAPLEHOUSE and The Giving Kitchen
Chef Hugh Acheson, of Empire State South
James Martin, of lots of things
Julian Goglia, of The Pinewood
Erin Zwigart, of Georgia Crafted
Chef Homaro Cantu of MOTO in Chicago
Kyle Brooks, aka BlackCatTips
Emily Myers of Emily G’s Jams
Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Ice Creams
Jonathan Baker of Monday Night Brewing