New Tricks: Homesteading With an iPad

People assume things about others and their lifestyles all the time. One common assumption might be that those who have barns, live off the land and raise animals tend to shun technology. Another one might be that those who have their iPods attached to their hands at all times wouldn't even consider stepping foot in a garden, much less raising chickens.

The Fraser family debunks all of that. As detailed in this Inquirer article, the Frasers, neo-homesteaders living in suburban Collegeville, haven't shunned anything possessing a computer chip:

They grow organic vegetables and fruit. They raise bees, chickens, ducks, and pigs, for honey, eggs, and meat. They spin yarn from rabbit fur and put up enough tomato soup, applesauce, and berries to last the winter.

They aren't purists, to be sure.

Though without a TV - whose sole purpose, Megan believes, is "to sell you stuff" - the family watches movies on a computer screen. Cars and air-conditioners put them squarely on the grid, and unlike diehard homesteaders, they don't home-school their children, who go to Penn View Christian School near Souderton.

The Frasers are proving that a simple, low-impact, self-sufficient life is attainable. Their truce between living off land and technology is not unique, either:

People all across the country and region are keeping bees and raising chickens, gardening and canning. Though statistics are hard to come by in this diffuse movement, there are indicators of the trend:

Up to 200,000 hobbyists keep bees in the United States, compared with 75,000 in the mid-1990s, according to Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture magazine. (There are an estimated 5,400 in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.)

If you’re interested in urban homesteading, this might be a good place to start.