Instead of What?

Published on June 18th, 2012 | by

I’ve been contemplating the name of this blog and what it means to me personally.  I don’t know the thought behind the name, as I was not involved in its development.

What does insteading mean?

According to the Urban Dictionary, the definition of insteading is:

When you’re doing anything but the assignment that you’re supposed to. Avoiding writing your paper/essay or doing any study related activity by involving yourself in anything that can distract you Procrastination.

Clearly, that is not the answer. Procrastination has nothing to do with the ethos of this site.

Instead, this is what Insteading means to us:

Resources for those who value self-sufficiency, sustainability, and community reliance, including topics like collaborative consumption, the sharing economy, local and virtual currencies, off-grid living, and peer-to-peer technologies.

I think of it as a modern term related to homesteading. Although many of us aspire to be homesteaders, there is more to conscious living than the self-sufficiency of yesteryear. Even though I live off-the-grid and grow a lot of food, I still rely on technology I am not willing to give up.  I have a long way to go to live an insteading life

Instead of what?

  • Instead of relying on farmers in distant lands, I want to grow my food. Then, I have control over what fertilizers are used and how water is conserved.
  • Instead of getting power from coal and nuclear plants, I want to use green energy in my home.  I want to be able to rely on my own two hands to fix power outages, and I don’t want to feel guilty for using electricty.
  • Instead of feeling isolated while living amongst hundreds of thousands of people, I want to feel connected to my community.  I want to be able to trade with neighbors for their cottage industry goods. I want to know there are people I can trust and call on in times of need, and vice versa.
  • Instead of vacationing at a resort, I prefer the wilderness.
  • Instead of going to a gym, I prefer to hike and practice yoga.

Instead of what?  There are so many alternatives to modern life that are contemporary yet fit the ideal of insteading.

There was a time in my life when I wanted to do it all in terms of self-sufficiency. I wanted sheep. I wanted to spin my own wool. I wanted to weave my own cloth.  I wanted the sheep to mow the lawn.  I still have my loom and spinning wheel, but the sheep have never come.  I enjoy these crafts not to fulfill a desire of self-sufficiency. It’s just not a reality for a family of four in modern times.

What do you want to do instead of the conventional American life that is unhealthy for our bodies, souls, and the planet?  How do you live an insteading life?


About the Author

Jennifer lives on 160 acres off-the-grid in a home built with her own two hands (and several more skilled pairs of hands) from forest fire salvaged timber. Her home is powered by a micro-hydro turbine, and she has been a vegetarian for 21 years. Jennifer graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in art education and has been teaching art to children for over 16 years. She also spent five years teaching in a one-room schoolhouse before becoming the mother of two beautiful children. Jennifer has a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education and is currently teaching preschool, as well as k-8 art. She enjoys writing, gardening, hiking, practicing yoga, and raising four akitas. Jennifer is the founder and editor of Eco Child's Play ( "I’ve always been concerned about the earth and our impact upon it. Now that I have children, I feel compelled to raise them with green values. From organic gardening to alternative energy, my family tries to leave a small carbon footprint." Please visit my other blog: