Funny question: What is the purpose of “urban” farming and “rural” tiny houses? It’s like jumbo shrimp, right?
I’m a fan of the tiny house movement and a bit less of a fan of urban farming (though I’m trying). There’s something fascinating about the Swiss Army knife construction of tiny houses. There’s a place for everything and everything in it’s place. The tiny house dwellers say their primary reason for living in limited space has to do with a sense of freedom. Freedom from rent or mortgages, freedom from the tyranny of “things”, freedom to go where they like. They can save their money for more important things, like the ability to live a more self-actualized existence without being enslaved to a system that forces them to commit so much of themselves to the attainment of someone else’s vision of a good life.
The urban farming movement has to do with sustainability, providing for oneself and not feeling dependent on, or at the mercy of, a profit driven, finance directed food industry and oil based economy. You grow your own stuff, raise your own chickens, make your own fertilizers. You’re not going to get sticker shock when you walk in the grocery store with a hankering for grilled chicken only to find that a single package of breasts cost almost ten bucks. I’m beginning to suspect that there’s a speculator working the other end of the food deals in a way that is similar to the Enron guys manipulating rolling blackouts in order to stick it to the grannies. I’m not there with the chickens yet and my backyard garden is still on the small side but I’ve got a lot of room to work with and I intend to put it to good use.
I suspect that financiers will find a way to profit from these trends eventually. Or maybe we will devolve to a somewhat less affluent culture. Think of England without the Empire. We’ll live in increasingly smaller houses, giving up the McMansions, in order to snap back in line with our decreasing wages. Our front and backyards will bloom. Maybe we’ll raise bees. It wouldn’t be the end of the world. Yeah, the economy will plod along and we’ll have a lot less to live on when we retire and we will be like the elves, diminishing and going into the West. But maybe that is what it will take to take down the financiers, when more of us take our balls and go home and refuse to play the game. At least we’ll have a roof over our heads and our kids won’t starve.
It only takes one devastating layoff from the best job in the world to make a person a convert. In the future, I predict that building your own tiny house will be a teenage “rite of passage”. You heard it here first.
Here are a few of my favorite tiny house/urban faming links:
Kirsten Dirksen has been documenting the tiny house movement on YouTube. Here’s her latest entry: