What is slow living?
You might be hearing this term more and more lately, along with slow food and slow fashion. So what’s with this slow movement? What does it mean, and do we need it? If so, why?
At Lady Farmer, our understanding of slow living comes from making conscious choices about how we live our lives. It’s about paying attention to how we spend our time, money and resources. And, in doing so we take a step back from the industrialized systems that provide our daily needs. In observing our own consumer habits we can evaluate our own quality of life.
Front Porch Days
It’s not difficult to recognize how quickly our society has left slow living behind. Some of us only have to look back a generation or two to recall a different era. We hear about a time when people whiled away the hours sitting on the front porch. Yet it wasn’t that they had less to do. People weren’t dependent on factory farms thousands of miles away for their food. Nor did they require chain stores for cheap clothing made overseas by impoverished workers. It has been less than a century since many Americans fed and clothed themselves for the most part.
Fast forward to now, when practically every single thing we use is bought from a store. Most of these things are used up or broken in a relatively short period of time. Then they are tossed into the land of “trash,” that place society assumes is the endpoint of our concern.
In the Name of Sustenance
Our food supply, too, has long left the realm of self-production. It now has much more connection to a factory or a lab than the land. Food today has been sprayed, machinated, wrapped, frozen, fortified, processed, sealed, flown around the globe, clam-shelled and shelved. Then we come along and happily pull these things from the supermarket aisles in the name of sustenance.
As for clothing, almost everything available today has been produced at a terrible cost to the environment. In addition, millions of overworked and underpaid laborers work in deplorable conditions to fuel the toxic apparel industry. This broken system perpetuates our manic, throw- away habits while barely making a dent in our pocketbooks.
The Slow Living Choice
Slow living might have a different feel or pace, but it is not the same as leisure. The slow living choice to feed and clothe ourselves closer to the source might not take less time, work or money. In some instances it might take more. Those that have made the conscious decision to eat more locally know this. It takes effort and organization to seek out local sources and very often requires us to pay more. Growing your own is a wonderful option but there is a great deal of effort and energy involved. Yet, this is the choice we make over driving to the megamarket and buying packaged and processed food.
Likewise, sustainably sourced and produced clothing certainly will cost more in terms of dollars and cents. Yet this is the choice for the land, our water, our fellow humans and our own health. Many people aren’t able to buy clothes made from responsible sources and well paid workers. The prevailing fast fashion system has squeezed the life out of this model. The availability of ethically produced apparel is extremely limited, putting the many consumers in a position with little choice. We encourage slow living practices such as buying less, buying thrift and participating in clothing swaps. It’s a great way to have fun and encourage others to dress sustainably.
The Hand that Feeds Us
Our goal in exploring the idea of slow living is to identify where we have become separated from “the hand that feeds us,” so to speak. In embracing slow living, we want to see ourselves apart from mass production and consumption. Our desire is to hear our own voice inside the noisy torrent of information, and seek out the things we truly value. In that space is where we reclaim our allotted time on the planet and create our truly authentic lives.
To help you in your own exploration of slow living, we provide information, resources, videos, courses and products. We also have our own, in house designed, responsibly and locally manufactured apparel line. We hope you’ll use these only in ways that seem helpful to you, remembering that you alone are the one true expert on your own life. So come join us in whatever way feels right.
It’s good to be waking up.