Star 2012 Modern Homesteaders

In 2011, we asked our readers to nominate friends and neighbors who deserved to be named as the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Homesteaders of the Year. We were touched and moved by the awesome stories of the wide array of modern homesteaders who have fully embraced the sweet satisfaction of self-reliant living. You can read about the winning homesteaders who were featured in Our 2012 Homesteaders of the Year: Living the Good Life, in addition to reading about all of the star 2012 modern homesteaders listed here. For our full collection of yearly nominees, see our Star Modern Homesteaders page. We think you'll find each story to be inspirational, maybe a bit quirky, and definitely an example of what can happen when the goal of living simply is taken to heart.

Steven and Sedley AbercrombieAbercrombie

North Carolina 

We are Steven and Sedley Abercrombie from Denton, N.C. We used to be from New Orleans, but after weathering Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005, we chose to seize the opportunity to cut and run. We landed here in rural Davidson County and bought 7.5 acres with a fixer-upper ranch house.

We were living in the suburbs of New Orleans shortly after we were married (12 years ago), a friend gave us a copy of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. We both read the magazine from cover to cover and we had an epiphany! We were the Adams family on the block and now we knew why — we didn’t belong here!

We began with baby steps, by expanding our garden, composting and baking bread, but we dreamed of one day moving to the country and doing it for real. We thought one day when we retired, but what turned out to be the most horrific natural disaster in U.S. history turned out to be our catalyst for change.

Since we closed on our home in October of 2005 (our girls were 4 and 5), we started with five roosters and a garden that washed away in a flash flood. That first winter we were shocked at the price of fuel oil, a heating system we had never seen in Louisiana, and we invested in a wood-stove insert and learned how to chop wood. Having experienced the chaos and anarchy of what life would be like if we suddenly ran out of oil after the hurricane, Steve and I decided to work toward a more sustainable lifestyle and a healthier environment in which to raise our children.

Since those first few months, we have achieved all sorts of things and acquired a variety of skills. The journey from point A to point B was never a straight line, but that’s part of the fun of it, learning from your mistakes:

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