2013 Homesteaders of the Year

Homesteaders make strides in self-sufficiency and sustainability.

| September/October 2013

  • A typical pioneer homestead.
    Photo By Fotolia/onepony
  • Eric and Wendy Slatt's 157-year-old home in South Carolina.
    Photo By Eric and Wendy Slatt
  • This house was a wedding gift for Lewis and Eleanore Janetos.
    Photo By Lewis and Eleanore Janetos
  • Danielle stands in her New Jersey homestead garden.
    Photo Courtesy Danielle Figel
  • Andrew and Suzanne Cox grow heirloom crops in Tennessee.
    Photo By Andrew and Suzanne Cox
  • Mike and Alison Buehler homestead on 5 1/2 acres in Mississippi.
    Photo By Melissa Braxton Photography
  • Robbie and Britnee on their 26-acre homestead.
    Photo By Kayla Atnip

This year we received a mountain of nominations for the 2013 GRIT and CAPPER’S Homesteaders of the Year recognition. Sorting, mulling, discussing and narrowing them was torture of the best kind. In the end, we selected three winners and three runners-up who embody, to us, the real spirit of a gritty homesteading tradition. Here we offer you a glimpse into the lives of our six Homesteaders of the Year.

Eric and Wendy Slatt (Winners)

City/State: Kershaw, South Carolina

How many acres do you have? 3 1/2

How long have you been homesteading? 4 years

Definition of a homesteader: I used to think a homesteader was simply someone who went out and made a life for themselves off the land they had available to them, but I believe it's a lot more than that. A true homesteader is a steward of the resources they have, someone who is not attempting to be the "master of their domain," but finding their place in the balance of caring for and working with the resources they have and the environment they find themselves in to perpetuate a cycle of self-sufficiency.

Do you have animals or crops or both? How many of each? Please name some of the animals you raise and/or crops you grow. We raise both animals and crops. We have six different kinds of animals, (chickens, pigs, cows, ducks, bees and turkeys), and 16 kinds of crops (apples, corn, blackberries, herbs and garlic to name a few).

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