Who are Millennials? People born roughly between 1982-1996.
Millennials are the first generation to grow up with the internet. They are the first generation to have hand held devices carrying the internet around in our pockets.
Millennials are also the generation who are new parents. Watching their parents slave away the last of their healthy days at jobs hoping to have enough for retirement.
And from my personal very anicdotal observation…a lot of millennials are homesteading or interested in homesteading.
I don’t think it’s surprising that this is the generation who is starting to really feel the impacts of disconnection, technology overload, imbalance in life and work, and we’re craving something deeper. We don’t want to slave away our lives in a cubicle and hope for health and enough money in retirement. We’re dissatisfied with living for a tomorrow that may never come. We want to live our lives today.
This has been misjudged by older generations as everything from selfish, impatient, and lazy. But that’s really an unfair assessment in most cases.
Millennials just think outside of the box and in many cases are crushing that box all together. Many millennials are entrepenuers and those that aren’t are working for new age companies that are changing the typical cubicle, 9-5 model all together.
And, many millennials are homesteading. Why?
How on earth does homesteading connect with kids raised with the internet?
I have a theory.
Homesteading is real. It’s tangible.
It creates connection to the earth, to a higher power (however you define that), with other people, and with the self. Homesteading forces us to put down our phones, step away from the tv and the laptop, and do something REAL. Something physical. Grounding. Meaningful.
Homesteading Act of 1862
Homesteading in many ways was a rebellious and wild act when the Homestead Act of 1862 first came along. Homesteaders left it all in the east and moved out to the unknown for something that could be theirs. They bucked the system of the day, and embraced radical thinking and in the process changed the country.
Doesn’t sound so different from millennials, now does it?
The landscape is different, but the heart is very much the same.
Homesteading is reclaiming life. It’s reclaiming ground. It’s reclaiming food. It’s reclaiming health. It’s reclaiming freedom.
For millennials that life is a life away from an imbalanced pursuit of climbing a corporate ladder and enjoying the present with our friends and families.
The ground is literally earth we can dig in with our hands instead of screens we can dig our noses in.
The food is real food, instead of tv dinners and chemical laden processed junk.
Health is claiming health now and for our future – millennials don’t want to spend retirement sick and crippled – we are realizing that this isn’t an inevitable consequence of age, but a consequence of poor health habits when we’re young.
And in doing all of this we reclaim our freedom from the rat race.
Millennials are also the first generation to take a step back and ask serious questions about our food system.
If you ask a group of millennials about food and food production, you’re much more likely to spark a conversation about ethical farming and gmo’s then any other generation, would be my guess. It’s not just hippies or crunchy “weirdos” shopping at farmers markets, joining CSA’s and fueling the rise in organic food production. Millennials are parents of an increasingly ill generation of children that are plagued with allergies and illnesses in staggering numbers. And they aren’t sitting back. Millennials are the biggest section of consumers today, and they are driving this change.
Many millennials are taking it a step further with hobby farms, homesteads, and even starting honest to goodness farms.
And thank goodness for that! With the average age of the American farmer steadily rising from 65 years old a just a couple of years ago…well, we’re in danger of a food crisis.
Isn’t it obvious why millennials are homesteading?
This generation, just like any other, has it’s flaws and unique struggles. But from what I can see, many people in my generation of millennials, are striving to merge the good from modern advances and the wisdom from the past, to reclaim a more healthful and intentional life. And homesteading, well, I believe it’s a great vehicle for that.