At Storey, we believe that living a self-sufficient lifestyle doesn’t mean doing everything all on one’s own, but having the confidence to get out there and learn what it takes to get things done.
In March, we celebrated the creative, do-it-yourself spirit that exists in anyone who bakes their own bread or grows food from seed, who knits their own socks on the city subway or lives completely off the grid. We hoped our Grow Your Homestead Giveaway would inspire and support homesteading ambitions for our prize winners, no matter the scope of their vision or their skill level. A panel of Storey judges had the unenviable task of choosing their three favorite entries from all the mini-essays submitted and designating a Grand Prize winner and two runners-up. Though our final essayists each have different designs and desires in mind for putting their prize packages to use, together, all three winners embody the idea that homesteading happens at many levels.
The Grand-Prize winning essay came from Cris Cantin of Wisconsin, who knows firsthand that community is at the heart of every homestead.
“I currently homestead on a 1/4 acre lot in a rural village in Wisconsin, a place I love calling the Farmlette. Home to chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, and dozens of gardens scattered throughout the entire yard, I love making the most out of the space I have. In fact, I love it so much that I routinely open my home to friends and visitors who are very interested in living a similar life, but don’t know where to start. After touring the joint, they usually leave with a basket of fresh-picked (or home-canned) goodies, some free seeds from the regional seed library I steward, and a ton of new ideas to implement in their own humble backyard homestead. Even when I’m not home, I have welcome visitors: neighborhood kids come visit the hens and give them scratch grains, while their parents check out homestead-themed books housed in the Little Free Library next to the Big Coop. If I should be the lucky winner of this prize package, I plan to share the wealth: the gift certificate for Peaceful Valley will be shared with the folks at our Community Garden up the block, which supplies the local food pantry with fresh veggies in season and can always use tools, seeds, or other handy garden supplies, and the Storey titles will be gladly added to the ones already tucked into the Little Free Library — hooray for more knowledge! Of course, I plan to read them first — probably on some late afternoon while lounging on the deck in the orchard, while the hens enjoy some range time in the backyard and I relax with a home brew. So you see, not only will the prize help grow MY homestead, but it’ll help grow the homestead dreams of all sorts of people in my community. In my view, a homestead is more than your own patch of grass, it’s a whole world of living where you’re at — and a gift such as this prize is one that I’m really going to love sharing!”
Cris will receive a prize package worth over $500, including:
- A potting bench
- $200 toward homesteading supplies from Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply
- 10 Storey books of choice
Our two runners-up, Susan Laun of Pennsylvania, whose essay-in-verse was a stand-out entry, and Ryan Goertzen of South Dakota, a recent college graduate whose passion for organic farming leads him to dream of owning an organic farm and CSA, will each receive 3 Storey books of choice.
Thanks to everyone for their wonderful entry essays. Congratulations to our winners — and happy homesteading!
Many thanks to Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply for making our March giveaway possible with their generous gift card donation. Be sure to check out their website and explore all of their farm, garden, and homesteading wares!