Help Us = Win Yarn

It’s very rare that words elude me but I have to say, I am stumped. I am trying to come up with the right word for an important project and it’s driving me bananas! Last night I dreamed about flipping through the pages of the dictionary, y’all.

I need a word (or short phrase) that describes the current movement towards gardening, cooking, DIY, crafting, etc. I am rejecting “homesteading” and “urban homesteading” both because the word “homestead” is inherently racist and because I don’t think it really describes the majority of my readers and customers. (Too 70s. Too granola.)

“Self-sufficent” is neither catchy nor true- even those of us with giant gardens can’t come close to claiming self-sufficiency. “DIYers” seems too closely tied to home improvement to serve the purpose. I’ve always thought “crafters” was slightly deeming and it only covers a fraction of what I’m trying to describe.

So what do you call the well-read, thoughtful people who are making deliberate decisions to grow their own food, sew their own clothes, maybe keep a couple of hens or beehives while maintaining a serious profession and living in the city or suburbs? There needs to be a word for these people and I can’t find it.

EDITED TO ADD: Keep in mind that it will work best if the word can be used as a noun, a la homesteaders, crafters, intentionalists (clearly I made that one up.)

So I’m turning to you, my well-read, thoughtful readers, for help. And I’m prepared to pay for the perfect word, in the currency that knitters and crocheters like best- yarn, and lots of it. $300 worth, to be exact.

Here’s how it works:

Leave your suggestion in the comments section of this post. One entry per person and only one suggestion per comment. (In other words, you can’t just throw up a bunch of half-assed suggestions.)  Entries with more than one suggestion will be disqualified, because it violates the rules and without rules, chaos. UPDATED TO ADD: I am dropping the “one suggestion per person” rule because we still aren’t quite there and I want y’all to keep thinking and coming up with ideas. So consider the floodgates OPENED.

The deadline for entering is 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, May 22. Entries posted after that date and time will not be considered.

The winner will be chosen by me, with help from Caroline, Zac and Carrie. The first poster of the winning word or phrase will be declared the winner. The winner gives JMF permission to use their entry in any way we see fit.  The winner will receive an enormous amount of yarn and will probably roll around in it when it arrives at his/her house. Photos of said rolling would be appreciated but are not required.




  1. This isn’t sexy, but in the planning & sustainability worlds I work in – a big part of that effort is characterized as ‘living local’ [or sometimes the even less sexy ‘relocalization’] (which doesn’t necessarily mean DIY though, it can mean buying vegetables from your neighbour).

    Looking forward to seeing what word you pick – we could use a good one!

  2. I would call it ‘self-reliance’ – it’s like ‘self-sufficient’ in that it’s not 100% self-reliance, but even Henry David Thoreau wasn’t 100% self-reliant (he started with $24 and went to his mom’s place a bunch).

    The idea that you’re relying on yourself is, to me, huge. It’s not 100% self-reliance, but the movement is towards more self-reliance.

  3. I call it the Why not movement. Why not grow my own groceries. Why not share them with my less fortunate neighbor, why not spin my own yarn, why not sell it to pay for my daughter’s braces….so many “why nots” and the answer is always because I can and because I want to.

  4. Jessica from Asheville

    May 15, 2012 at 11:19 am


    the cottage part makes me think both of cottage industry and homemade cheese. In my mind, the cultured part includes “well read” as well as sewing clothes, growing veggies, etc.

  5. I also immediately thought of Thoreau when I read this post!

    I like the phrase “deliberate living”. It’s sort of like you were saying in your Accidental Manifesto the other day, it is definitely is easier to run to Walmart for each and every thing you need, so it’s an active choice to do all these things, and it’s actually a pretty big decision to put in a garden that won’t produce for a while, or raise some sheep that will eventually be shorn.

  6. Doers and Makers. It doesn’t nail it down to a single type of doing or making and can include DIY, gardening, cooking, sewing, etc etc. It’s incredibly general, but that may be what you need because this movement concerns so many areas of making a home and a life that is less purely consumer than modern society lends itself to being.

  7. How about downscaling?
    I hope it implies conscious rejection of mass production, and the enjoyment and fulfillment to be found in the process of doing things and making things yourself.

  8. It’s a bit too self-aggrandizing, but I’ve always thought of it as living authentically, seeking authenticity. Not quite Thoreau’s “deliberately” because let’s face it, dude went into town all. the. time. But striving to do more and more of it yourself. Not just make the sauce but grow the tomatoes. And next year save the seeds. Always pushing a step further down the chain of production because if some big company can stick it in a can and ship it to a grocery store, it had to start somewhere, and I bet I can do it myself. Maybe even better.

  9. the conscientious self-sustaining crowd

  10. I would like to be called an Enlighten Nestor. I feel enlightened because I am doing my best to get out of the global encocomy. I know small is better. I have the satisfaction of making something with my own 2 hands. I am invested in my future. I can take ownership. I make a quilty product. Nestor because my life revolves around my home and family.

  11. Marianna Steele

    May 15, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I grew up with a large veg. garden and orchard. My mother taught us to preserve everything. She also introduced us to many crafts. I got as may girl scout badges in cooking and sewing that were offered. My brother raised chickens and sold their eggs. We had white, brown, green and blue eggs. This was in the 60’s and 70’s. My father worked and my mom stayed home. As a modern woman I work outside the home at a 40 hour a week job. Between that and raising 2 kids I had little time for my creative self. As I brought those things back into my life I felt whole and in balance. Therefore my phrase is “Live Whole-Live Balanced”.

  12. Christine Dinsmore

    May 15, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I like Artisanal Living !

  13. I like “daily fabrication” because it brings to mind not only various crafts, but construction and also the mental processes that go into creating.

  14. I like “tried & true living”. Being 1st generation American, I have seen my parents and grandparents make due with what they have. Be creative in using existing items for different uses. And swearing that nothing tastes as good as home grown fruits and veggies ( and they are right). They don’t shun technology, but use it to better their life and make due with less. Less money spent, less waste, and less stress. Taking old ideas and using them in modern ways. Getting their hands dirty fixing things and truly admiring quality items that took time to make.

  15. I like the word ‘Resourceful’, which I Googled (just for good measure) to find the following-

    Having the ability to find clever ways to overcome difficulties.
    ingenious – inventive – adroit – clever

    It is also why I go by “ResourcefulSqrl” on Twitter. I like the idea of resourcefulness as a descriptor for cooking from scratch, making clothing, growing food, etc.

    Resourcefulness is why I look at problems and say “I can do that!”

    It also describes my tendency to do my professional work (research) in less common domains.

  16. My first thought was “hands-on” or “hands-on living” because I think it speaks to the desire to get your hands dirty and be intimately involved in the everyday aspects of living that our modern world has distanced us from.

  17. Creative Living

  18. Conscious home management

  19. I love a challenge!! How about lo-impact/hi-touch purposeful living?

  20. living with intention

  21. Can I edit mine to just be hi-touch living?

  22. A self-sourced renaissance

  23. Sylvia C/Sligo

    May 15, 2012 at 11:45 am

    deliberati : )

  24. Roxyrana on Ravely

    May 15, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Wholehearted living.
    It embraces every aspect of a good fulfilled life.

  25. Resourceful living, a resourceful lifestyle. To me it implies not just making do or using what you have, but inventing new ways to do things; tweaking and hacking and experimenting and using your resources in innovative ways.

  26. Whoops, looks like somebody already thought of ‘resourceful’. Never mind …

  27. I’d call it Living From Scratch, which implies all of the aspects of the movement that are important to me: the involvement in as many steps as possible, the control over the final product, the independence, and the homemade nature and individuality of the products. It also implies the universal nature of this movement: *anyone* can make things from scratch given enough time, ingredients, and a few basic tools. You don’t need to raise chickens or garden to make an omelet from scratch (it’s cool if you do), but you can still make your very own omelet that doesn’t come from a package or a restaurant.

  28. modern-makers

    {By Hand, the magazine for modern-makers.}

  29. Kay from Bedford, VA

    May 15, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Green North 40 survivors.

  30. Kay from Bedford, VA

    May 15, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Reminds me of the old magazine, Mother Earth.

  31. I like “awareness living”. That’s really the goal for many of us- to be more aware of how we’re living, how it impacts the earth and our homes and our bodies. I don’t garden, but I have a CSA membership because that way I can be aware of exactly how my food is grown. I knit, and I prefer to buy my yarn from people who raise the animals with awareness and process the yarn in ways that show they’ve considered the implications. Being aware of all of these things doesn’t have the same colonialist tones as “homesteading” and can include those of us who live flat-out off the land and those of us who just try to be more conscious of our purchases at the local grocery store.

  32. Conservancy/conservationsist

  33. A self-sourced livelihood renaissance

  34. “Mindful Resurgence” (Resurgent)……or maybe that’s too literal?

  35. Sorry, just read your edit suggesting the word be a noun to describe the people in the movement.
    May I edit mine to downscalers?

  36. Christina Del Villar

    May 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Handmade Nation

    *Note: this isn’t my own creation. It comes from Faythe Levine’s Handmade Nation book, so if your looking to trademark it, beware.

  37. S.E.L.F. Substainable Eco-nomic Living and Free Enterprise.

  38. Well, I think of it as just the way I grew up; but I think the term “mindful living” accounts for the range of crafting, sourcing and disposing/recycling I try to use in managing my role in this world.

  39. Sylvia C/Sligo

    May 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    deliberati : )

  40. How about “Agricolae”(plural) the Latin word for Farmers? These folks seem to want to go back, get in touch with the land, or their roots, and so going back to the early word for farmers seems appropriate. (singular is Agricola)

    Hope it helps!

  41. Anne from Georgia

    May 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Sustainers – sustaining ourselves with less, sustaining the environment by living ‘lighter’ on the land and sustaining a way of life/skill set that might otherwise be lost.

  42. This is difficult, you’re right. What about “purposeful maker-creators”?

  43. Sylvia C/Sligo

    May 15, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Susan, I see my comment twice–could you please edit one out? I don’t know how the second one got there!

  44. B2Bers (Back to Basic-ers)

  45. Homegrowers?

  46. I’m a fan of the word “makers”

  47. lindaran(on Rav)

    May 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    How about ‘self-providers’? You’re provisioning yourself with what you can without claiming exclusivity.
    (and I promise, should I ever be fortunate enough to have a mother-load of yarn to roll around in, I will be fully clothed in any photos that I choose to share!)

  48. carol (chackler)

    May 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I like Melissa’s suggestion – “Deliberate Living”.

  49. Part of the problem here is in your description of what you’re looking for: your conflating the movement with its followers. E.g., the home improvement movement vs. DIYers. My read of what you’re looking for is the word that the community of these people would use to describe themselves.

    I’ve struggled with this problem as well. I’m favorable to Makers (kudos Diane!), as it has a lot of traction thanks to Make magazine (among others.) Here are a few other ideas:

    -Craftspeople (or Craftsmen and Craftswomen if you prefer)
    -Domestic engineers
    -Domestic innovators

    If I come up with anything else, I’ll certainly let you know!

  50. Judy aka lamazeteacher

    May 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    “Using your hidden talents”

  51. I came here to post “sustainers,” which I see has been said above. I also really like “Modern-Makers,” since it relates to the title of the magazine.

    So after some more thought, I suggest “Upgraders” – people who are trying to upgrade the quality of their foods, their enjoyment of their homes, the time that they are not working at traditional jobs, and their overall quality of life.

  52. One other idea inspired by others’ comments: How about resourcineers? :)

  53. I like something simple like “create.” It can cover a lot of bases.

  54. How about “urbaneers” (urban + pioneers)

  55. Treading softly

  56. Lisa Stockebrand (lasdcm)

    May 15, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Being a party poop-er here, but why does there need to be a word? Many Baby Boomers are not, Generation X – what is that? Yuppie, Hippy, Boomerang Generation, Tweens, Dinks, Milf’s (heh) Part of the beauty of the thing is the lack of “name” lack of classification. What people are doing is so broad and encompassing and is not very new, the new part is the choice, not the doing. Am I, who sew my own clothes and bake my own bread more closely aligned with my grandmother who would be nearly 100 – she sewed her clothes and taught me to sew and bake bread, because she lived through the depression, or my neighbor who has bees, chickens and a nice garden? On the surface, hey I sew and bake and my neighbor has bees and chickens so we seem part of the same “movement” but are we? My mom canned, gardened and sewed, her neighbors did the same, I think it is only recently that these things have not been done, so maybe the not doing of things is the “movement” that we are now moving beyond.

  57. Deliberate Agrarian Locavore.

  58. Lisa Stockebrand (lasdcm)

    May 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    BUT! if pressed, the word I would use is the same my mother, and her mother before her used – but the unisex version! “Homemaker”

  59. I know what you mean, I don’t agree with most of them that are tossed around either. I like to think it’s more

    self-reliant (self-reliance) or even locally reliant

    A focus on relying on resources that are either yours (by effort or ownership) or your neighbors (nearby).

  60. Makers.

    Because what we’re doing is making a life we want/choose/love to bits.

  61. I like the phrase “Radical Stewardship” or “Radical Stewards” because it emphasizes the ethic that goes along with those of us choosing this sort of lifestyle. Stewardship shows the way in which we seek to manage our resources and our time responsibly. Some people in the movement are more earth focused, seeking a cleaner, greener, less toxic planet. Others focus on simplifying their lives through DIY endeavors.

    Of course these two purposes overlap. Stewardship also expresses the idea that things we create and the way we live are tied to the bigger purpose of caring for others. Those others can be our families, our animals, and the future generations who will come after us. The resources we us in our creations and in our daily living belong to us, but they also belong to others.

    I like “Radical” before stewardship because it points out that we do this in a way that is very different from mainstream American life and further expresses the purposes involved–simplification and environmental concerns.

    Here’s the Wikipedia link to “Stewardship” which explains the origin of the word and the different meanings it can have:

  62. Tina Hamilton

    May 15, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    How about HomeCrafters?

  63. Reversionists.
    Reverting to simpler times.

  64. Another candidate would be “Husbandry,” which is the term Wendell Berry uses, I suggested “Steward” first because it’s more gender neutral, but Wendell Berry defines husbandry as:

    “the name of all the practices that sustain life by connecting us conservingly to our places and our world; it is the art of keeping tied all the strands in the living network that sustains us.”

    From his essay “Renewing Husbandry,” found in Bringing it to the Table: On Farming and Food (2008)–I highly recommend this book to you and friends of Juniper Moon Farm, if you haven’t looked at it already.

  65. i like the term
    Earth-Friendly Living
    (or Earth-Friendly Lifestyle)

    love ya

  66. p.s. use that in the tense that’s needed…i’m a better creative writer than lit. ;)…

  67. karen jankowski

    May 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm


  68. What about “home farming?”

  69. I’m not good with catch-phrases, but I want to address your discomfort with the word “crafters.” Craft will continue to be seen as demeaning or somehow less than until it is wrested back from the art world. Everyone wants to be called an artist and nobody wants to be called a craftsperson. I’ve seen, read and heard enough bad art to be able to say with some authority, that until and unless people reclaim their craft and pride in their craft, then art is going to continue on its current pace toward insipidity and irrelevance. Only when it comes from a strong foundation in craft, can something truly ever elevate to art. I am proud to call myself a craftsman. Craftswoman, if you prefer. I have no interest in making art. I have a lot of interest in becoming accomplished in craft. All of the skills which you are addressing are crafts: spinning, weaving, sewing, cooking, preserving. Crafts are necessary for survival. Craft is the act and the object of making. It is an old, proud word and it is still used by this old, proud woman. Take the plunge. Use it. Use the words Craft/Crafter/Craftsperson with pride. Be part of the movement to reclaim them.

  70. Inspirational Localvore. Look at all the folks you have motivated to become more self-sufficient in one way or another. All the folks you have inspired to support what you do, make something for themselves or someone they love, plant a garden, try a new recipe, get out of their own way and live the life they want to live. Reading your words, seeing the pictures, dreaming the dreams – it is very inspirational, even to those of us already living the farming life.

  71. Green survivors.

  72. “Urban farmer” – I don’t know that all of your audience is necessarily ‘urban’, but it would be a word that I would recognize as describing myself even though I live in the suburbs. I think the word farmer is descriptive of anyone who plants things to eat (for themselves or others).

  73. Artisans

  74. Someone else said it above, but I think “Makers” encapsulates it for me. There are people in this world who are makers — they are simply driven to make things. People who are not makers don’t get it — they are the one’s who will tell you it’s possible to buy socks at Walmart when they see you knitting a sock.

    I consider myself a maker.

  75. I often think of the word “heritage” which is a noun, but maybe not the sort of noun you mean. Heritagers? Weird.

    I think we’re all building on the work of those who came before us, and we’re all hoping to leave something for future generations – this is what comes to my mind when I think about heritage.

    Heritage makers?
    Supporters of the heritage economy?

  76. In conversation, I often denote this kind of lifestyle as “mindful living” and people seem to know what I’m talking about right away.
    The noun version would be “mindful livers”, though.

  77. Make, Do, Live -ers. I don’t know. It’s not flowing off the tongue. My husband often refers to my knitting, preserving, gardening, etc as Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness.

  78. Susan,
    The suggestion I submitted would describe the lifestyle – Creative Living

    Then I re-read your request for ideas where you were looking for a way to describe all the people and stated a noun would work best and I submit another word that came to mind – ReSorcerers

  79. The faithful. Faithful living.

  80. “Home artisans” for the people and “artisanal home” for the movement.

  81. Tina Hamilton

    May 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Ooooh! I’m gonna disqualify myself, but I think I like “HandCraft” better than “HomeCraft” :)

  82. Susie, I think you already came up with the perfect phase….to me, living “an authentic life” is a perfect fit for what you’re looking for here.

    There are certainly varying degrees of that type of life and we can’t all walk away from our corporate jobs (although I for one would certainly love to!) but I think an authentic life fits to a tee!

  83. Innocent Byhanders

  84. Admiting now that I have not yet read previous comments. I’m also uncertain if you would like to coin a term of your own, or just find a better one already in use, but nevertheless, I propose:


    Main Entry: crackerjack  [krak-er-jak] Show IPA
    Part of Speech: noun
    Definition: ace
    Synonyms: adept, excellent, expert, fine, nifty, skilled, splendid, super

  85. Your new title says it best – we are all By-Handers.

  86. I just read someone suggest resourcers, and I liked that, but what about Self-sourcers? It is to reflect how we are unhappy with the outsourced version of things and therefore look to ourselves to fix what we perceive as wrong and supply it. Instead of expecting the market or manufacturers to do it for us and expecting them to have our best interests at heart, we take the control of as much of the process as bothers us, we feel we are able, etc.

  87. Value-added living

  88. I like authentic life – but I think it is an Oprah phrase and people associate her with it.
    Mindful Livers sounds like you are in AA and on the wagon.
    My college son is in a group called Earth Matters. And the people are called the Earth Minders.

  89. What about Holistic Living for the movement and Holistics for the practitioners? Holism is the theory that whole entities, as fundamental components of reality, have an existence other than as the mere sum of their parts. Those of us who are choosing to live more simply, grow more, make more, create more are doing more than just making jam, just knitting a sweater, just growing tomatoes. We are creating an integrated life that is bigger and more meaningful than the sum of its parts. It’s holistic living!

  90. Urban homsteaders

    Living in the city but living their lives using traditional methods and values

  91. Please revise that submission to spell: ReSourcerers

  92. I would think someone who does all those things would be “craftily home savvy” . It is a very broad group of activities.

  93. HandyMakers.

    I dunno. I do like the Innocent Bycrafters.

  94. Virginia Yaruss

    May 15, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I like many of the suggestions above, but I will add my own :-) . How about “eco-aware,” meaning aware of the earth, aware of one’s impact on the earth, and aware of one’s relaionship to the ecosystem of climate and food. Like another poster mentioned, I am a bit nervous about -er titles, but I prefer “people who strive to be eco-aware.” Thank you for this opprtnity to think about a rich topic!

  95. What about “Living by Hand” to fall inline with the magazine?

  96. I’m throwing in votes for “Mindful Living” and “Modern Maker.” Those are the ones I’ve seen before and feel are reasonable. “Artisan” technically also covers most of what you’ve listed here, but is perhaps too often bandied about when it should not be. “Innocent Bycrafters” is cute, and I love it, but I don’t know that it actually covers it all. (And we’re not always all that innocent.)

    Ah, but since you’re looking for nouns, perhaps “Mindful Maker” as a combination of some of the above.

  97. Rebecca Adcock

    May 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I don’t know if this will work or not but why not Harmonious living, living in harmony with the world.

  98. I like to think of them as Intentional Reclaimers. Our culture has stolen away a lot of our ability to make our own decisions– where our food is grown, how our clothing is sourced, how our animals are treated, etc. I cook from scratch and buy locally to reclaim those decisions and my own health from the corporations that control large industries.

  99. Inspired living.

  100. Autotelic – “having an end in itself; engaged in for its own sake, as some creative art”

    Autoleticism – noun

    Autotelist – noun for people

  101. The only thing I can think of comes out as a phrase more that a word–I guess they could be hyphenated! Pioneer-groove

  102. Back-to-the-Soilers

  103. Home agriculturist

  104. I have not read all of the comments, but I’d like to suggest the term “rethinkers” — people who have thought about the way society today lives and then have “rethought” the process and are making their lives what they feel comfortable with and have changed the way they live by “rethinking” that generally accepted norm.

  105. “Slow” as in the Slow Food Movement. I’ve also seen people referring to Slow Clothing and Slow Bicycling. Now you know my hobbies and pleasures. :)

  106. To help you answer your question, I did what I always do – I started noodling around on the Internet where I found this term –

    Prosumers: “people who produce many of their own services” (producer+consumer) or prosumption (production+consumption)

    I first found it on the Association for Consumer Research web site where a 1986 article by Philip Kotler is posted. It cites a book titled The Third Wave, by Alvin Toffler, that proposes we have entered a new phase where people produce goods and services they could be consumers for, such as growing food, sewing clothes, home repair, etc.

    To find the full article:

    Apparently, just because I’ve never heard the term, doesn’t mean it hasn’t been used elsewhere. Check out this wikipedia article:

    This is not my original idea, so if you like it and Mr. Toffler doesn’t want the yarn, I’d love to use it to increase my prosumption! And even if you don’t use it, I think I’m going to start calling myself a prosumer. The bees are buzzing, the garden is in, there’s a dress project waiting for me on the sewing table and the cow’s giving lots of milk.

    Good luck in your quest.

  107. People “Paying Forward”

  108. Harmoniasts – living in harmony with your natural surroundings!

  109. ‘old timers for new times’…as one with a blackened hand, i can grow nothing but as one who wants to be included, i can contribute in other ways…reposting all i get from you, helping to explain to others what it’s all about. investing money in the projects/product that appeals to me, as can others. one of the things i think is needed is a networking directory so that if i want fresh eggs, i can get them locally (hi, cindy) or wool, i can get from either or both of you. tho that is all i can do, it sort of makes me feel like a ‘distant farmer of america”.

  110. Greenjeaner. To Greenjean. “We greenjeaned some nice tomatoes!” “I greenjeaned Kathleen’s prom dress and she got so many compliments on it!”

    This term reminds me of Mr. Greenjeans, the resourceful farmhand from Captain Kangaroo and also captures the “going green” idea

  111. Intentionalists. I love that. If you don’t use it… I will 😉

  112. Agro-archeologist. Learning the self sufficient ways of ‘olden-days’ farm life – which include reusing, repurposing, good use of the land, preserving produce, making food, making clothing and all kinds of useful items- whether from ‘scratch’ (i.e. sheep) or not.
    Fortunately we can pick and choose parts of the whole to satisfy our creative needs.
    I’m sure our forebears rarely thought of themselves as ‘creative’ and yet they had to be.
    We can certainly use modern ways to do many things – but it seems to me we do a lot of learning from the past.

  113. While looking at a thesaurus, I kept coming back to the word “cultivate” which the short definition was “raise livestock, grow crops.” I know that’s not all you do, but it does encompass a portion of your life. I’m thinking something like “life cultivator” or “life cultivatist” (my made up word). I’m thinking that you really have cultivated your own, unique way of life. It seems to fit to me!

  114. Karen Johnson

    May 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Back when Cal and I moved from Chicago suburbs to rural NW AR we called our selves Back to the Landers. Our new neighbors called us Hippies. We raised all our meat, veggies ( which we froze instead of canning) , most of our dairy and we gathered wild and picked local fruits and berries. So much work, so much satisfaction, so much joy! Hard to put one or two words to describe that . Good luck! Permaculture comes to mind but that’s not quite right. Love you guys and all you do.

  115. Juniper Moon Redux . Redux is supposed to used after a noun and means to bring back or to restore.

  116. Rebecca Adcock

    May 15, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Let me post a correction to my suggestion of Harmonious living, it should be living in harmony with the earth not the world.

  117. sustainers, people who practice a sustainable way of life. sorry if this has already been mentioned.

  118. How about “The New Handmade”? Those who do it are “the new handmakers.”

  119. I like the idea of being an “egoculturist”. Ego from the self, individual, one’s morale” because this movement not only makes us self sufficient but provides for self exploration and expression.

  120. Domestic Goddess

  121. Pastoral Perfecting

  122. Homegrowers.

  123. “So what do you call the well-read, thoughtful people who are making deliberate decisions to grow their own food, sew their own clothes, maybe keep a couple of hens or beehives while maintaining a serious profession and living in the city or suburbs?” IMO, I would call them two words… Filthy Rich.

  124. Christy Straw

    May 15, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Seed Sowers … You can Sow a seed with just a thought …

  125. Why can’t we be…


    But in all seriousness, these words are all…loaded. They’ve all been used before, and somewhere or another, they offended someone. Building words from scratch makes me cringe in a “not-another-George-Bushism!” sort of way.

    I’m submitting a word that (theoretically) has no baggage, except maybe for the occasional mascot or horny teenager. The way the GLBTetcetcetc group at our college was Open. What do the initials stand for? Nothing. We’re open. To everyone.


    From wikipedia: “In wider culture, the beaver is famed for its industriousness. The English verb “to beaver” means to work hard and constantly.”

    They change the environment around them, but with great positive impact…cleaner water, habitat for other animals…they’re a keystone species, and the one that shapes its environment more than any other, besides humans.

    Due to coppicing of most trees they fell, they propagate their food for future seasons.

    They build a home and “lawn,” and are both designers and workers.

    They put away food for winter.

    They are egalitarian.

    They were hunted to near extinction, but their resurgence has been greatly celebrated, and in many ways…is like ours.

    Probably waaaaay too much for what you’re looking for…but you’re not the only one who’s had this on the brain!

  126. Pauline Price

    May 15, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Evolver – one who learns and grows outwards, yet knows and practices beliefs of the inner self.

  127. Purposeful simplicity
    Reclaim and simplify
    Repurpose and simplify

  128. For some reason “homestirring” popped into my mind — like stirring a pot, you’re taking time to slowly create your home. Or stirring the home fires or something. Noun form: homester. Which has the added benefit of sounding like a cross between “hipster” (one who is trendy and hip) and “hamster” (one who burrows into his cozy little home). Heh.

  129. I usually refer to it as “Doing-it-my-own-darn-self” (normally more profanity is involved but I’m trying to clean it up)

  130. I’ve been doing my best Winnie-the-Pooh thinking, and all I came up with was “traditionalists”, which may have too many religious/conservative politics connotations. But then I thought “neo-traditionalists”, which has one definition of “reviving traditional methods”. I dunno … but maybe it will knock something loose in someone’s brain. I do think this idea needs a name, I didn’t realize the history behind the word homesteaders.

  131. Homespinners is what comes to mind for me…all the strands coming together to make the strong fiber of life.

  132. Jane from Maryland

    May 15, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    I call this “living off the corporate grid.”. So much of our lives are governed by faceless, nameless, profit seeking corporations. Making it yourself is the antidote to that. Something made by hand is unique and meaningful, not mass-produced. “Intentional consumption”, done by ” intentional consumers” who think about what they buy, make, and consume, and are willing to take the time to do it. We gain identity by the fruit of our labors, be it hand-dyed yarn or homemade pesto. Life is worth living when you take the time to do it thoughtfully!

  133. I’m with Bonnie. You already have the phrase yourself with “by hand.” I’m ok with being a “by-hander.”

  134. I think of myself as a maker, and my husband suggested “self-provider”.

  135. “Contemplative Living”

  136. Preservers

    I think of myself as a preserver of age-old traditions that many people in the modern world are forgetting, such as baking bread, knitting socks, getting on my hands and knees and scrubbing the floor, weeding by hand, taking the time to . A preserver of biodiversity by saving seeds and planting my food. A preserver of food by canning and freezing my bounties. A preserver of my neighborhood by supporting local businesses and producers. A preserver of what life is all about… family, friends, home, food, and fun.

    It was inspiring to read everyone’s submissions!

  137. knittingfool aka lori

    May 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm


    As in “watershed”, or “fibershed”

    “A watershed is the area of land where all the water that is under it or drains off it goes into the same place. John Wesley Powell, scientist geographer put it best when he said that a watershed is: ‘that area of land, a bounded hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, SIMPLE LOGIC DEMANDED THAT THEY BECOME PART OF A COMMUNITY (emphasis mine).’

    Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes. They cross county, state, and national boundaries.”

    “watershed – an event marking a unique or important historical change of course or one on which important developments depend; “the agreement was a watershed in the history of both nations”

  138. I have been pondering this ever since you posted earlier today and now I know why you are stumped.

    The only thing I could come up with is “Basic Contingency”

    I can’t wait to see what ends up winning.

  139. Incremental sustainability- moving towards sustainable practices in baby steps that the individual/group feels able to implement. We are incrementally sustainable. As a incremental sustainer I hope to grow a garden and have a bee hive in addition to raising chickens and ducks.

  140. uhh i think you did it yourself when you said ‘intentionalists”. to live with intention – to live mindfully.

  141. This will consume me if I take days to ponder it. I think we participate in a form of Artisan Living; making, creating, preserving, remembering, teaching. It comes from our past , present , and future; and, most certainly from within.

  142. Cristin Miller

    May 15, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    How about the”Life Arts” movement?
    Which makes us Life Artists, of course :)

    Great suggestions from everyone! Very thoughtful and and interesting. It seems to be revival of many elements of the Arts and Crafts movement, just not specific to architecture and home design.

  143. Sustainable living.

    Susan, I love your posts. They always make me think. I had never thought about the word “homestead” being racist before. Interesting links.

  144. Farming in the 21st. Century – I think this is what it is all about. The way we live do things, shop alot of things have changed in this century. Did you ever think you would blog about your life when you were a kid growing up? Did you ever think you would sell product’s on line or help someone with cooking something. I still can’t get use to some of the thing’s I can find on net. Just think you can fine people, anything you want to buy ( sometime’s to much lol) look at about anything you want good or bad. Read books listen to music buy music sell anything you what the list goes on. Good luck would love to try your yarn and roll in it. lol

  145. Home ranchers. All the things that are happening are done on a ranch: growing, harvesting, cooking. Sewing, knitting, crocheting, dyeing. Raising sheep, cattle, hens, bees. Gardening for food and inspiration.

  146. Home tenders.

  147. I read through everyones and thought of this:

    I am a keeper.

    A keeper of chickens
    A keeper of bees
    A keeper of goats
    A keeper of a lovely garden
    A keeper of my knitting needles and yarn
    A keeper of traditions

  148. Traditionalists?
    Echos? (of tradition, way of life, etc.)

  149. A contemporary yet indigenous people.

  150. Ah! I love this so much! I am loving all the suggestions and can’t wait to see what you decide on! I love so many of them!
    (Also, thanks for the love and keeping the conversation going!)

  151. Deanna Tworivers

    May 16, 2012 at 2:05 am

    We are part of an agrarian renaissance.

  152. I would name it ‘take your time’, because these days people keep on complaining that there are not enough hours in a day.

  153. Or it could be ‘don’t hurry be happy.’ For the same reason as above.

    Nope, I am not spamming. I just like the question of this contest and it means a great deal to me to live a life in full glory, realizing that that can mean be highly personal and have a different meaning for everyone. Some people are limited in the way they feel they need to fill their day with all things they want to achieve, get done, see and visit. I am limited for not having the energy to be up and running. So what I do, I try to do passionately.

  154. Living Intentionally with Mother Earth. This of course has an acronym of

    I was trying for L.I.M.B. as in the branches of our own actions growing and spreading but I am tired and can’t make the B work.

  155. Downshifters / downshifting, perhaps?

  156. i don’t have a word.. but I think it’s cute that free yarn brings more comments out than anything else possible!!! :)

  157. Hand-aide A play on the word “band-aid”. This is a non-gender term that applies to all folks who work with their hands in one capacity or another. Can be a gardener, quilter, DIY’er, etc. They aide our lives by the work done with their hands in a positive way. We are used to the terms, teacher-aide, health-aide, so it is a comfortable term to which people already relate, so it would be easy to incorporate into their lingo. And after I repeated it out loud several time, it seems to roll off the tongue easily. I hope you like my idea.


  158. I can’t think of anything better than Joel Salatin’s term “The Non-Barcode People”.

  159. The Makers/Making–simple, yet all-encompassing

  160. “Life-Tilling” (though someone else’s earlier submission of “Greenjeaning” is genius – in my humble opinion!)

  161. New-old wave makers

  162. I like to think of myself as a “Producer”. I produce knitted items, vegetables, clothes, bread. So many great suggestions, here. I’m sure mine’s not “the one” but what a fun idea!

  163. I loved this challenge, and I can definitely consider myself a part of this wonderful movement! Here’s what I’ve got:

    The New Folklife
    Old-Time Awakening

  164. SOULCRAFT !

  165. ReView. ReNew. ReGroup.

  166. eclectic life? Fun to think about!

  167. Whatever we’re calling this movement I’d consider myself a member! My vote is for “reclaimers” because I think so much of what we are doing is reclaiming skills and knowledge that has been lost in the last 50-75 years, but which was the norm before that.

  168. How about “Basics”. We are getting back to basics by making our own clothes, food, sustaining our selves.

    Or, “Reliants” as we are relying on ourselves to create projects, can food, set personal deadlines that are outside of our hectic lifestyles/jobs. Heaven knows I set ridiculous “deadlines” for myself :)

    Good luck finding your answer!

  169. How about Ox-Carters? (See

    (This is a blatant appeal to your previous career in children’s lit, natch. :)

  170. “Life embracers” These are the people who make a big commitment to living positively, responsibly, and with compassion. Whether it be growing their own food, knitting preemie baby caps for their local hospital, or giving of their time and talent to the less fortunate, they truly leave the world a better place.

  171. “Intentionalists” for me its about living intentionally, giving thought and time to stuff that is often purchased/consumed without thought and time.

  172. I’ve been using the phrase Seattle Smallholder for myself. I was a large scale sheep farmer in Washington state (I miss it!), and thus I know the diffence between a largehold and a smallhold. And, this word, smallhold, refences my Western European ancestors, who were all modest, make-it-work people.

    I come from peasant people many generations back, and as a struggling middle class person in the near-post industrial US, raising food, making, re-making, and repairing clothing and other household goods can seem anachronistic. I choose to reframe it as the best of many worlds: I am educated & work in the non-profit sector, I carry forward the many generations of women’s skills – sewing, gardening, cooking, baking, canning, small animal husbandry – as a way to balance my life and make a happy and comfortable life on less.


  173. Cultivators

    Cultivating knowledge. Cultivating crafts. Cultivating the next generation. Cultivating healthy natural foods. Cultivating our land, our animals, our friendships, relationships and our lives!

    Per the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, cultivate means:
    ** to prepare or prepare and use for the raising of crops; also
    ** to loosen or break up the soil about
    ** to foster the growth of
    ** culture (the act of process of cultivating living material in prepared nutrient)
    to improve by labor, care or study: refine further, encourage to seek the society of ** make friends with

  174. Not sure if it’s been suggested already, but I like “at home producers/producing”
    I also like “living with intention” and “intentional livers”

  175. More thinking…

    Purposeful Planners
    Conscientious Providers
    Joyful Modern Fabricators (JMFers?)

  176. I live the Involved Life– meaning I play an active role in what happens to me and my family and my neighborhood. I don’t buy processed foods- I buy local ingredients and COOK them not defrost them. I make clothes that fit well and knit garments that hug the wearers with love. I’m not just passing thru.

  177. domestic steward.

  178. What about Sustenance – like sustaining life, nourishment, livelihood, etc. I like some of the other suggestions here too.

  179. My idea is Eco pioneer, this generation is focused on earth preserving crafts, yet doing old things with a new twist. Thanks for making my brain work and all your great ideas. I don’t think you sleep!

  180. Living Well or Good Living or Makers or Making or Making Well. Hmmmm…..maybe I am just rambling here. I love what you’re doing. I hope you find the perfect phrase.

  181. Self-sourcing/self-sourcer

  182. insourcing

  183. EightPondFarm

    May 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Retroneer. Retroneering. Retroneerist.

    I am not sure I agree with the problem of “homesteading” since I think the same thing could be said of almost anything we white people did in the past. Nor am I sure we need another neologism. But anyway…great idea.

  184. To borrow from Daniel Quinn’s _Ishmael_, “The Leavers”.

  185. How about “self-sustaining”?

  186. Well, I like intentionalists, but that doesn’t really explain what it is for or what it means.

    Maybe another good word would be localist? Someone who keeps their work, food production/consumption/etc. on as small a scale as possible. It is very broad, so it includes people who make their own clothes but don’t garden, people who garden but buy clothes from big box stores, people who try to do everything, and everything in between.

  187. Abilitarian

    derived from ABLE: 1) having sufficient power, skill, or resources to accomplish an object 2) marked by intelligence, knowledge, skill, or competence

    I like it because, while alluding to skill & competence and the power they confer, it:
    covers the wide, multi-disciplinary universe you’re talking about
    has echoes of “utilitarian,” an allied concept
    doesn’t mean anything else yet

  188. I’m glad you opened the floodgates! I actually did read the thesaurus last night to try to come up with a word for “of the earth” that wasn’t earthling. And still can’t quite find the right word, but maybe it’ll inspire someone to think of something.

  189. Greenpurposeful just called out to me.

  190. The word that keeps coming to me is “mindful”. I like the sound of “mindful living”, though I am not sure how to go about noun-ifying that. :-)

  191. I haven’t fully read through the comments, so these might have been suggested already!
    I know “Makers” has been suggested… perhaps with an adjective? Mindful Makers? Modern Makers?
    Hmm… I’ll keep thinking.

  192. I would think “Nature-Intended” might do. Or “Naturally-Intense”?? Ha!

    “Green-Nature Living”? Living a “Green-Nature Life”? Or a “Green-Natural Life”?

  193. mindful making / mindful makers
    non-industrial living

    ; )

  195. Charlene Marshall-Hitch

    May 16, 2012 at 4:03 pm


  196. How about Good-Lifers or Good-lifeing!

  197. How about “homemaker”? Have you’ve read “Radical Homemakers”, by Shannon Hayes? I don’t have my copy in front of me, but Hayes had a lovely definition for the word (as she was using it), and my recollection is that it encompasses the vibe you are aiming for. In the book she also points out that “homemaker” is gender-neutral. Mind you, the Google searches that I ran for “radical homemaker” more closely met your concept than just “homemaker”. I wonder if you could use “radical homemaker” without impinging on Ms. Hayes’s work-product? Just throwing the idea out there …

  198. I suggest Urban Settler

    Like the settlers of old, the urban settler embraces a sustainable life meeting the challenges of food production, clothing, shelter, etc. using their skills and energy. They recognize the value of working with your hands and taking care of the environment. They appreciate the joy and peacefulness of the snuggling in an afghan you made, savioring the taste of a tomato you grew, and resting in a bed you refinished. They know the contentment of being settled in the life they want.

    Following the history of settling, the urban settler also contributes to community, improving schools, caring for the land, and helping neighbors. Barn raising may have given way to playground building, but the spirit is the same.

    Verb: Urban Settling Initials: U. S.

    Motto: Live a life of U.S.

  199. I’m going to try my hand at naming the ‘movement’ as well. I’ll try to edit my suggestions down to ones I think are good. How about…

    Authentic or Heritage or Respectful living?
    Something involving “antecedere” or “antecessor” (from the Latin for “go before”, root of “ancestor”)?
    Moving forward, looking back?
    Handiworkers/Hands to work?
    Mindful modernism?

  200. Revivalists. We are reviving old ways of doing things; learning to make what we need; how to grow our own food etc. We are once again learning how to produce things with our own hands and beginning to value the skills and talents involved.

  201. Solvers? Self-solvers? Resourceful solvers?

    Like we’re problem solvers but we do it ourselves. Can’t find a sweater we like/fits/isn’t made in a sweatshop? Make it. Can’t find yarn that you’re happy with? Raise sheep. Afraid of what the world lets in our food? grow some. Love that bazillion dollar table from master carpenter but don’t have a billion dollars? learn how to build things. Some thing that alludes to the fact that we’re not looking outside for someone else to fix the world (although we will utilize those with experience/expertise we lack) but instead figure out how to do it our own damn selves.

    So, doing it our own damn selves should also fall under consideration

  202. More brainstorming! Insourcing, handsourcing or homesourcing – the opposite of outsourcing.
    Also, micro-farming.

  203. ACraftyKnitter

    May 16, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Vintage Modernists. I think it’s the simplest way to convey the mixture of old and new.

  204. I would say the movement is – reliance.

  205. My next idea is: reflection.

    a mirror – what has been done in the past, reflected for another time.

  206. How about Naturalists? (And I apologize if it’s already been used; I’m short on time and haven’t read all of the comments yet.)

  207. My suggestion is heartharians. Home and hearth are central to their living-cooking, sewing, gardening, and so forth is done for the love of the home, for those who live there, animals, friends, family.

  208. I’ve been contemplating this since you posted the original query. Choosing just one has been so difficult, so I was thrilled to see the update on the rules. Here is what I’ve got so far:

    Domestic Artisans (movement: Domestic Artisanry)
    Urban Outliers
    Conscious Creators
    Urban Originators (or, perhaps, just “Originators”)
    Dwelling-Makers (a spin on homemakers/homesteaders)

    I’ll be back if anything else comes to me!


  209. Conscious Evolution

  210. Cultural Creatives
    Cultural Creatives are defined by a set of values, a new lifestyle, and worldview. Feeling that we are all members of one planet, they are concerned about the environment and social-economic justice.

  211. Okay here goes :)

    “Retaking our Heritage” or “ReMaking our Heritage”
    I feel that this allows an great umbrella for all of the arts that you listed, from gardening to the home arts. All of the skills are in part from our heritage as a people. It doesn’t matter if you currenlty live on a farm, are self reliant or not at some point someone in your heritage was. With the advent of social media we are no able to share these skills with one and other in a way that was much like the old county extension office. However, the great thing is we can access this information at a much great speed and not even leave the home and life that we are rebuilding for future genterations.

  212. Integral Culture

    Cultural realignment

    Lifestyle realignment – the adventure of realigning our lives with our food chain, our environment, our community and our creativeness. (This comes directly out of my business plan).

  213. Light Footing

    Whenever I think about having a garden or raising chickens, I always do it because I like the idea of living light on the Earth and not taking anymore than I need. I also like the mental image of a bunch of people tip toeing around because they don’t want to stomp on everything.

  214. Okay, how about: Urban Reliance

  215. And, my last for this morning: First Roots

  216. Homesteading, making people homesteaders.

    People who are settling their land, and trying to make the most of it. Still reliant on supplies from the store, but doing their best to be good and wise stewards of what they have, and what they can do with it.

  217. A couple ideas:

    1. Urban Harvester
    2. Urban Cultivator

  218. Urban revivalist

  219. Carol (LiquidLace)

    May 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Urban pastoralists /urban pastoralism

  220. Carol (LiquidLace)

    May 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Microfarming / microfarmers

  221. I think of the movement as a Contemporary Renaissance or 21st Century Renaissance. It really is a a re-awakening to some of the excellent ways of our ancestors. Many of us are trying to make a smaller footprint or live a little more softer on the environment.

    I hope you find what you’re looking for. :-)

  222. Kristin Nicholas seems to be calling us ‘Back to the Land-ers’
    Sounds good to me…
    Second entry – I know – No Problem…

  223. How about, “Bring it on Home.” to use as a phrase? It can be implied on all levels for home adventures and projects. :)

  224. homegrowers
    homegrown lifers
    urban homemakers
    modern homemakers
    DIY makers

  225. roseknits24-7

    May 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    “what do you call the well-read, thoughtful people who are making deliberate decisions to grow their own food, sew their own clothes, maybe keep a couple of hens or beehives while maintaining a serious profession and living in the city or suburbs?”

    I’d call them “Life Techs”. Emphasis on “life”, of course! And “Tech” covers a wide range of techniques (both rediscovered or new), as well as the technical skills/knowhow often needed these days.

  226. How about “Lifestyle Preservation” or “Lifestyle Restoration”? I’m working on an old house and can never decide whether I’m restoring or preserving or both, but maybe one or the other will work for this.

  227. Life Centrists

  228. How about “back to basics”. Alot of the things you are taking about are the basics of life and many are embracing this as urban homesteaders and such.

  229. Hmm… the word is on the tip of my tongue too!!

    Sustainable living/living sustainably? Personal Urban Sustainability?

    Good luck with finding one, this is hard :/

  230. Also “Simple Living”.

  231. Intentional Doers.

    I’m sure I’ll come up with something else later.

  232. Dreamsteaders
    Still liking your Intentional ideas too
    Millennium Makers

  233. mindful makers
    savoring the process; slow craft, slow living
    insightful creation

  234. compostmodernists!


  235. Lifestylists or NewLifeStylists

  236. Purposeful choices
    Mindful Sourcing

  237. Artisan Empowerment or Authentic empowerment

    or maybe just crafty hussies

  238. The New Village People. lol

    Artisan Village Movement

    Direct Living

    Remembrance Homesteading

    Interactive Living/EcoInteractive


  239. As a scholar of 20th century material culture, and of the profound changes wrought in American society by the rapid corporatization and urban- and suburbanization that followed WWII, I’ve been struggling mightily with this one myself. The process of settlement for the US in general has been one which continued the process of alienating people (from the land, from each other, from history) and any attempt to define the ‘movement’ that is reacting against this process of alienation has to make room, in my opinion, for everyone with the shared attitude about the value of doing something yourself, from those building businesses and professional lives based on handwork to those who can only find a little time in their lives to grow a small garden or learn to repair things rather than replacing them. Industrialization took our efforts out of the domain of labor (where we struggle just to find the means to survive) and into the domain of work (paid, corporate, abstract), skipping most of us right over the in-between space where we produce more than just what we need for living and our efforts have a meaning and value beyond just what they will fetch in the marketplace.

    I really like the idea of ‘Intentionalists’ because it gets at the attitude most of us want to celebrate without inserting divisions between those who are able to make their intention to live a more hands-on life a reality and those who can only find space in their lives for small gestures (recognizing that a collection of tiny gestures can be just as powerful as one major life shift). I also find Alyson’s insistence on “doing it our own damn selves” really powerful, because it gets at the fundamental desire so many of us have to know how things are done, how things are made, and to gain more control over our lives by way of this knowledge.

    In my own work, I’ve begun to refer to this as “reconciliative” and “reintegrative” living because it seems the goal is to bring people out of alienation and back into connection and balance with the lives of others, with the environment, and with the past, though I’m not as happy with the noun forms “reconciliators/reconciliationists” and “reintegrators/reintegrationists.” I’ve also referred to this mode of living in some of my academic work as reaffective, in the sense that it seeks to return affect (emotion, feeling) back to the acts and habits of life, returning mindfulness and meaning to the choices we make on a daily basis (a mindfulness that corporate capitalism has, for many years, successfully insisted we replace with mindless consumerism).

  240. I think one of the things that makes this so challenging is we’re trying to come up with a word or phrase that covers people engaged in making both primitive (knitwork, gardens, etc.) and technical (solar water heaters, remote sensing applications, etc.) things, and it’s hard to mentally lump together the folks who attend craft shows with those who attend ham fests or home machinist conventions.

    When you’re faced with a classification problem like this, it’s useful to consider what the groups in question have in common. In this case:

    1) They design their own product, or follow the plans of the original designer. (There are no middle-men between the designer and the end user.)
    Keywords: innovator, inventor, designer, engineer, architect, entrepreneurial

    2) They source their own raw materials.
    Keywords: Resourceful, creative, inventive, clever, ingenious, capable

    3) They build/make/produce/construct/erect/put up/assemble/form/create/fashion/model/shape the product themselves.
    Keywords: Maker, producer, creator, modeller, constructor, builder, fabricator, entrepreneur, hand-made, handiwork

    4) They’re typically doing it for themselves or their loved ones. (They’re not usually in it ‘for the money’, i.e. to sell the end product.)
    Keywords: independent, self-sufficient, self-reliant, self-sustaining, familial, communal, community-oriented

    5) Any particular project is usually a one-off, not intended for mass-production or distribution.
    Keywords: unique, singular, creative, imaginative, inventive, expressive, artistic

    6) They typically care about the appearance and reliability of their work.
    Keywords: Aesthetic, quality-oriented, sensitive, perceptive, discerning

    The question is, is there a word or phrase that captures all of these qualities? In cases like this, there usually isn’t, so often labels are developed from a real-world exemplar. For example, Benjamin Franklin was known for being a discerning and resourceful inventor who created truly unique products (and he certainly had a streak of independence in him), so perhaps Franklinites might be a good choice. Thoughts?

  241. michelle carter

    May 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I just heard the term “locavore.”

  242. Self-sourcer…self-producer…one’s own producer…maybe someone can get an idea from these.

  243. So, have we tried “mindful consumers” in light of what Rebecca wrote – instead of being the mindless consumers that capitalism has conditioned us to be for so many years? About about against the grain or against the flow? As in moving, creating, and doing in a way that’s the opposite of what big business and marketing want us to move??

  244. clearly I forgot a ‘how’ in the second sentence up there :-)

  245. Bourgeois Bootstrappers

    Conscientious Cosmopolitans

    Conscientious Producers


  246. From my 14 yr old hockey goalie…..tenders/tendies. Because we are always tending a garden, a project, a child or animal, an idea, a meal, a neighbor….

  247. Raquel Mencke

    May 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    lifestyle sustainablers ?
    Self-Sustainability Trend

  248. How about deliberate living enthusiasts or partners in production?

  249. Instead of “lightfooters” We could be Gordoners (as in Gordon Lightfoot-ers)
    Definition: To gordon: to tread the earth lightly, or lightfootedly, by making thing for yourself and your family whenever possible and giving your own life as much meaning as possible through creativity, imagination, and accomplishment.
    Verb forms:
    I/You gordon We/You (pl) gordon
    He, She, It gordons they gordon

    Verb Tenses: to gordon, gordoning will gordon, gordoned.

    Gordoner: someone who gordons

    Examples: “I spent the whole day yesterday in the shop gordoning.”
    “If I don’t get some more gordoning done, we’re going to be cold this winter.”
    I gordoned that myself, from my own vegetable garden”

  250. Christina Del Villar

    May 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    I haven’t read the other entries, so these may be a repeat at this point:

    Self reliant living
    Urban Crafter
    Expert amateur
    Urban Reclaim

    I had another one, but I have to go find my post it.

  251. The (R)evolution

  252. Resourcefuls?

  253. Okay, so I feel really dumb. I read your post, and then I thought about it for a few days. And then I posted my comment without re-reading your post, and thus totally missed the homestead comment, and I still haven’t clicked on the link to see why it’s racist. But I will, right now.

    I’m really sorry, and please ignore/delete my previous comment.

    • Susan

      May 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      No worries, Dorothy! I had never heard it was racist until Caroline told me a few days before I wrote my post, so we’re in the same boat. Absolutely no reason to apologize whatsoever. :)

  254. Dynamic Do-ers
    “Do-ers” because these kind of people can’t/won’t sit by and do nothing and “dynamic” since that word has several great levels of meaning for what you describe. And because I’m a sucker for alliteration! I hope this helps=)

  255. CultivātUs

    Comes from Medieval Latin as part of history of the word cultivate. I capitalized the U to make a play on words “cultivate us” with the older word. After all, cultivating can encompass the farm, the crafts, the garden, everything.

  256. “Terrascapers”
    a blend of the idea of landscaping and terraforming, people who are reshaping their urban surroundings/environment into something more natural

  257. I still like stewards, for the reasons mentioned in my previous comment. “Creative Stewards” “Homecraft Stewards” and “Intentional Stewards” are all fitting in addition to my original “Radical Steward.”

    To add another one from literature, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Wallace Stegner, used the term “Sticker” to describe those who stayed in one place to cultivate the land and create a sense of cross-generational belonging. Handcrafts, farming, canning, DIY activities do just that by tying us to those who have come before. “Boomers” were the opposite sorts of people. They are hyper mobile and exploit the land and its resources–consumers rather than producers. I think Stegner was right when h said that people were either “Boomers” or “Stickers.”

  258. Habitat Savers, Habitat Reclaimers,orWorld Interventionalists! I will keep thinking!! Keep up the good work.

  259. The New Agrarians

    The Viridians

  260. Real. Living.
    Back to basics
    Basics, Modern.
    Self reliant

    Hmm…now I’m going to dream about dictionaries!

  261. I feel as if everything you describe to be part of this phenomenon is what my grandmother did. She grew and prepared her own food, created utilitarian beauty, and lived in a city (Hamilton, Ontario). She called herself a homemaker and I think this is a word we need to reclaim. Its not inherently gender-biased, it infers action and creation (unlike stay-at-home mom, or urban housewife – these are both noble professions but not the same as homemaker). And yet, even as I’ve been mulling this over in my head, there’s something a little too passive in that phrase “homemaker”… the way the words run together. So, I’m going to modify it slightly… to give “maker” a little more “umph”.

    Home Maker.

    I think I might start to call myself one. Proudly.

  262. Here is another suggestion:
    smithics, those who’s life centers on creating. like a blacksmith, or wordsmith, but in this case, they craft everything.

    • In keeping with Julie’s idea, one could use the term lifesmiths, or worldsmiths?

  263. Handmaking / Handmakers

    Scratching / Scratchers (as in made from scratch)

    Full-circle living/livers (could be called circlers)

    Ground-up lifestyle / grounders

  264. Thoughtful Dwellers
    Abecedary Living
    Urban Entrepreneur
    The Essential Entrepreneur (oh, I like this one! this is fun!!!! )

  265. Persevere (because knitters push on) or The Perseverer’s =)

    Because of you – I just threw that in there

    On Hand – explains everything you’re doing.



    Knots and tangles




    rippled ringlets

    writhe and coil…? lol

    Felted (meaning touch or stroke… could be something)

    Around my finger…

    around the finger

    wrapped around… twist around…

    By my hands(it could be a catchy phrase…)

    A touch of love

    touch of beauty

    a touch of the hand

    Knit n’ soil

    From my hands, those hands?…

    From ground up living
    Makeshift hands…

    I guess it’s harder than I thought. Hope I gave you some good ideas. Goodluck =)

  266. Roots living / Rooters (or Root-ers), as in:
    returning to one’s roots
    looking around for what is valuable or useful

  267. So I’m still processing the caffeine slowly now, and things are coming to me in fragments. Also in keeping with some of the ideas that have come up here, and in keeping with the new magazine project, instead of ‘homemaker’ you could use some variety of word using ‘hand’, like handworker/handiworker or handmaker, as another of the ideals behind this mode of living is to go back to making things by hand ourselves that we would otherwise have let someone else make for us using a machine (and who knows what processes, chemicals, etc.).

    It’s a shame that English doesn’t have a verb like ‘faire’ (to make, to do) which has a long custom of being used in phrases that describe a state of being as well as a state of doing. Ever since I learned French as a schoolkid, I’ve loved the idea that, as a matter of our fundamental nature, we are human beings AND humans doing.

    My weekend brought this one home to me as I struggled with spraying my fruit trees with soapy water and brushing aphids off with an old toothbrush *by hand* (!!!) rather than spraying down the trees with insecticide. Now I’m off to buy a box of ladybugs to help with the task going forward!

  268. Live green, feel clean 😉

  269. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read your request for a name for those that grow a garden, preserve food, cook from scratch, craft clothing and home furnishings and strive to find a more wholesome reality. I call it life.

    I’m not ancient – mid 50s – but was blessed to be born on a farm. We grew our own food, decorated our home with flowers from the yard, made our clothes and were “green” before anyone ever thought of the term. As one of our favorite neighbors commented, we lived with “an elegant sufficiency”.

    I don’t live on the farm any longer. A need for employment in the 1980s took me to a city. But in my suburban back yard, I grow crabapples, blackberries, blueberries, pears, tomatoes, squash, herbs and lettuce. I still make jellies, preserves and sauces. I can’t imagine paying a fortune for a pillow that has only four seams. I knit, crochet, weave and decorate. I hold down a full-time job and managed to rear two wonderful young men who can do their own laundry. And, I still call it life.

    But for some of your beautiful yarn, I have been thinking of an appropriate name. I am a homesmith. Just as a silver, tin or blacksmith, I take an unrefined material and turn it into a useful or decorative piece. Yes, I have been homesmithing for my entire life.

    But for

  270. I’ve been doing some more brainstorming on this. There are so many descriptive terms that can be used, but it’s difficult to come up with one that’s all-inclusive. Here are a few more ideas:

    Urban Nesters
    Urban Pioneers
    Urban Survivalists

  271. lifewrights.

    a wright is like a smith – one who works with his/her hands and what more than making life (w)right could we hope to do in this world?

  272. Here are more suggestions (though it’s really hard to capture this idea in a single noun!):

    21st century pioneers (or, more simply, pioneers)
    back-to-basics believers
    back-to-basics proponents
    back-to-basics practioners
    craft conservationists
    back-to-the-landers (full disclosure: I read this term on Kristin Nichols’s blog; I had been playing with the concept of back to basics, and I liked her term)

    And this one is just in jest, but I can’t resist: Thoreau-backs

  273. P.S. This will edit my last comment (as I apparently can’t spell or spell-check):

    back-to-basics practitioners (rather than back-to-basics “practioners” — whatever that may be).


  274. Hand – a – nista’s

    Earth’s allies

    Handy cultivators

  275. Artisanal cultivators

  276. I think some others have suggested it, but I’ll do it again:


    The good thing about this is that it already has some modern-day traction (mostly due to Make magazine and Maker Faire) and I like that it’s not too specific: Home maker, stuff maker, food maker, whatever-maker.

    We make stuff.
    And we make it happen!

  277. Sustainable living
    Pure living

  278. Artful labor (artful laborers)
    Creative labor (creative laborers)

    Hearts to work (a play on the Shaker “Hands to Work, Hearts to God”) Heartened Workers? Workers with Heart?

    Intentional Avocation
    Artisan Avocation
    Creative Avocation

  279. Craftivisim/craftivists.

  280. Thanks, Susan. It just goes to show me I should re-read a post before commenting days later.

  281. The first thing I thought of was David Brook’s “Bobos,” but, of course, bourgeois bohemians are merely an overlapping demographic. Besides, it’s not such a flattering term.

    I had been thinking “back to basics,” because my activities are partly about that, but it’s an awkward phrase that doesn’t morph well into various parts of speech. Besides, somebody else said it before I was willing to commit.

    Frankly, I don’t think there is a neat way to cover everything, but I’ll submit “neo-pioneers,” with the caveat that folks will have questions about exactly what that encompasses, at least before it catches on ;).

  282. I was just trying to explain a new project of mine to a friend and we got onto the tangent of this movement everyone’s trying to put a name to. She started complaining about the efforts of a big box retailer to outsource our jobs and manufacturing (and even trash) to other countries, and her comment got me to thinking. What about insourcing/insourcers? Or homesourcing/homesourcers? Or selfsourcing/selfsourcers? All of these get at the idea that, while we aren’t so delusional as to think it possible to be completely self-sufficient, we are trying to be more self-reliant, trying to meet our needs through our own efforts, and by turning to our immediate or close communities.

    Insourcing/homesourcing/selfsourcing encourages us not only to be resourceful but to be mindful of the consequences of our choices, and allows us to bring our lives into closer balance with our values by being aware of our stance on and in the world. When you insource your clothing or food or other household items, you know more about how they were produced, and by whom, and what kind of life you are supporting, not only for yourself but also for other producers.

  283. Though (with thanks to Lois and Dragan), I am now also having positive thoughts about ‘artisanalists’!

  284. I like “makers,” too.

  285. I always thought this movement was along the lines of B2B (Back to Basics).

    Even though growing your vegetable garden, sewing your clothes, knitting, etc. are not basic but rather complex activities; this new movement brings people more in contact with nature (agriculture, the environment, our inner selves). It helps us removed the blindfold of excessive consumerism to truly understand where things come from and the effort required to get there.

  286. A Conscious Dweller

  287. Living Raw

    It represents the aspect of making things and going “back to basics.” It is “raw” because you are using raw materials to construct or make a living. But the raw part can also apply to the city. In the city there is “raw” emotion, a city does not stand still. It takes stills to deal with such raw emotion (because in my experiences in San Francisco, the people can be cold hearted and rude, just because they are in such a hurry all the time.)

    This can almost be a paradox, there is the cold raw emotion of the city that takes a professional like yourself to be able to understand and navigate. But then also by living raw, you are breaking out of this professional side of yourself. You are embracing a traditional style of living from the past, the style of living that preceded and fostered and built the professional world in which you now work in.

    You could even call it “A Traditional Modern”

    There almost isn’t a word for it and I can see how hard it is to come up with a name for this because you are trailblazing a new path. Good luck!

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