Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Deliberate Agrarian And Voluntary Poverty

I do not know if you have had the pleasure of reading The Deliberate Agrarian, proprieter Herrick Kimball, who describes himself as such:

"I (Herrick Kimball) have been blogging here about Faith, Family, & Livin' The Good Life since 2005.  Browse down this column and you will find a rich resource of contra-industrial thought, down-to-earth inspiration & useful how-to information."

His story is one that many (I should like) would like to emulate:  he left his "good paying" job to move to upstate New York where he farms a small plot of land and has a part-time business in Planet Whizzbang, where he publishes plans of small-scale agricultural helps.

I hope to meet him some day (Here, There, or In The Air, as the saying goes...).

At any rate, he wrote an article yesterday entitled "Truth & Reality in the Midst of Economic Lies" which I would highly recommend you take the 10 minutes or so it takes to read.  In abbreviated form, COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) is a statistic of questionable value in that it hides economic displacement is coming for either those that depend on pensions or those that depend on retirement savings (unless you are independently wealthy) and that the wise person prepares for this ahead of time instead of waiting for the train to arrive.

How?  I will leave it to you to read Herrick's post but will simple suggest that his idea of "voluntary poverty" is one which should be explored, at least in theoretical form, before being completely dismissed out of hand.

I suppose the post quite resonated with me based on yesterday's column - feeling displaced already, the shackles of "Life As We Have Always Done It" weighs heavily on one.  What would voluntary poverty look like in my own life?   It was fascinating enough that I actually started asking the question "If I did not have the payments I have now - all of them - what would be the minimum that we would need to survive?  If we eliminated all debt - all - how much would it require for us to live where we are now? (Not even theorizing moving in this)"  I do not have that number but I fully intend to find out.

One more quote from the post to whet your appetite:

"Think in terms of less consumption and more personal production.  Think of it as "voluntary simplicity."  Maybe even "voluntary poverty" (which is much nicer than involuntary poverty.)"



kymber said...

TB - i read Herrick's post and no truer words could he speak. i left Herrick this comment - it's a pretty long one:

"Herrick - i already told you in your "Delmar" post that my father always told me to save for a piece of land. but also, my husband's father who is also from my island, but moved to ontario to work told me not to wait too long before getting my piece of land and moving back here.

my hubby and i could have waited another 5yrs before retiring and he was making a small fortune then. but we saw the writing on the wall, jumped ship (left the city) and moved to the very middle of absolutely nowhere. my small pension was enough for us to live on and we saved money every month, started growing our food, canned, deydrated, froze that food AND he is a fisherman extraordinnaire!

and then lo and behold - he gets called into Lobsters R Us (seafood plant) to fix a couple of printers. then he gave his incredibly impressive resume to the owner of the plant. he's been working there almost 5 yrs and he gets paid very well. the best thing is tho - he does all of his work remotely from home and he does it when he feels like it. he goes on-site when he is unveiling a new part of what the bossman calls "the system" and here we thought he would lose his IT skills (he had 20yrs as an IT business systems analyst). he is taking their whole process from paper to what the bossman calls "automagic". and this is something that he can do until he's 100. and will do because the bossman has 13 other businesses and wants hubby to make all of them "automagic" too.

some of this is serendipity. some of it is making certain decisions at certain times. some of it is just plain hard work.

but if you take getting out of debt seriously (we did) and leave your high-falutin' houses and jobs and learn to live with less, consume less and produce more of your own food - it can be done. and like you say, with a small/partime/home business and living beneath your means - you can save money for when the crash happens. and you can do all of that and still be happy. we were very happy people back in the city - now we're darn right crazy happy.

one last thing - doesn't deb harvey always hit the nail right on the head! some of her comments blow my mind. she's brilliant and i wish she would start a blog."

TB - if you ever have questions about what me and jambaloney did or how we did it - do not hesitate to ask. you can reach me at

sending much love to you buddy! your friend,

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Thank you Kymber. I do not know that I ever knew the "whats and wherefores" of how you ended up at Framboise Manor. And I will e-mail you after I collect my thoughts a bit - my situation is a little different than yours and Jams at the time (more players involved for example, and no pension) - but at heart I suspect the solution would be same.

And yes - I did not know Deb Harvey before now but her comments are super right on. Interestingly I had to run out to buy some Mayonnaise for Egg Salad Sandwiches this weekend (it is the traditional post Easter Egg giving activity) and my experience with the price was right along with hers.

It is here people. It is just very well disguised in plain sight.

Much Love! - TB