What's in a name?

What's in a name?

Published: Feb 28, 2017 by Tracy

Are you a farmer? Are you a smallholder? A prepper? A homesteader? And how do you know?

I’ve been considering these titles as of late, after lurking on a Facebook group, “listening in” on a public debate over whether homesteaders can call themselves “farmers.” And what constitutes a farmer.


Many believed to be a farmer, one must own and work a large amount of land. Not sure if I buy this idea. No one can argue that JM Fortier, one of my inspirations, is a farmer. That said, he farms on 1 1/2 acres of permanent beds. In that small space, his farm “grosses more than 100,000$ per acre with operating margins of about 60 per cent.” I’d say that’s pretty darn good.

Small holders, hobby farmers, homesteaders or whatever your chosen moniker - we all have something in common. Community. I believe it’s a big part of what makes us similar. We depend on the community - not just for goods and services, but also the exchange of information. We learn from each other, are comforted when things don’t go as planned, and quite frankly, feel a sense of relief when we find out others have the same problems and concerns as we do.

We homesteaders (I tend to use that term and farmer to describe us) tend to be very wrapped up in the process of doing something, maybe even more than the result. That may be the biggest difference I see between, say, a homesteader and a prepper. Where a prepper is mainly concerned with preparing for the future, homesteaders generally are caught up in the moment. Yeah, we could can a ton of tomatoes in case of a catastrophe, and we often do. But we’re mostly doing it for the opportunity to can tomatoes. All the sticky, hot, finger-aching work is like a salve for our souls.

So what are you? Prepper? Homesteader? Farmer?




Farm Boss

When I'm not opening up a can of whoop-ass on slugs or defending the kids from attacking roosters, I can usually be found gently assuring my husband that yes, in fact, I DO think his tractor's sexy.

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