Life at the Homestead isn’t always easy—there’s wood to chop and a composting toilet to rake—but as generations of homies will tell you, it sure is fun. Here’s a glimpse of what it’s like to live at the Homestead.
Cooking and eating
Mealtimes are some of the most important community-building times at the Homestead. Homesteaders traditionally pair up on assigned nights to prepare dinner (and Saturday morning breakfast) for community and guests. Food is cooked using an old-fashioned wood-burning stove, which doubles as an additional heat source in the winter. The cooks ring a cowbell to signal when the meal is ready, and everyone circles up, holding hands and taking a moment to reflect on the meal, those who prepared it and the people who have come to enjoy it.
What’s on the table? Homesteaders strive to fill their diet with whole foods and fresh produce, sourced locally and in season whenever possible. By raising chickens and tending gardens, homesteaders supply themselves with fresh eggs, fruits and vegetables, supplemented by CSA (community supported agriculture) subscriptions and grocery trips as needed. Meals are vegetarian and often vegan, based on the dietary needs of the current residents.
Homesteaders are dispersed in two cabins: Cabin Phoenix and Cabin Atlas. Cabin Phoenix has the capacity for three residents, while Cabin Atlas has room for nine, divided among three bedrooms.
In the past, homesteaders had to do their laundry or take showers on campus—or find other creative ways to wash. Now Cabin Atlas contains a high-efficiency washer and dryer, as well as two shower stalls. The water is heated by a central boiler system, which uses heat from burning wood to warm a reservoir of water. This water is then used to heat the cabins as well as provide Atlas with hot water for washing clothes and bathing.
As a living-learning community, the Homestead has offered countless enrichment opportunities outside the classroom for more than 40 years. But in recognition of the expectations of modern academic life, homesteaders in fall 2017 requested that internet access finally be offered at the Homestead. Prior to this milestone moment, students needing to go online for their studies had to commute back to campus or spend extra time in friends’ wired apartments. With the addition of high-speed wireless internet—the same quality enjoyed by the rest of the university—homesteaders will have the freedom to go online without leaving their home, leading to less travel time and more connection within their community.
Several study spaces at the Homestead offer comfortable places to learn and work, from the newly redesigned Atlas common room to the cozy Homestead library. Located in the loft of Cabin Bob and lined with student-built tables, the library is home to hundreds of books on topics ranging from social issues to alternative building.