Jane Dwinell is a fountain of wisdom about living independently, in harmony with nature. She has been living off the grid – and acquiring the skills required for successful homesteading – since the 1970s.
“I liked the idea of living close to the Earth, and being self-reliant, raising food, living in time with the seasons and the sun – being in relationship with the natural world all the time, not as a vacation but as part of who I was,” she says.
Being in relationship with nature does not mean being divorced from the world of human affairs. Jane spent time in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, helping to rebuild the city. She worked on the Greek island of Lesvos, helping Syrian refugees. She has worked as a nurse, tending to the newly born and to the dying. She is an ordained minister in the Unitarian Universalist Church, where she gives sermons about adapting to climate change.
Since 2004, Jane and her husband have lived in small cities. They have built eight houses together, over the years, including the 700-square-foot house they live in now. Almost all their food comes from garden beds and fruit trees in the small back yard, except for carrots and onions, which Jane buys at the local co-op.
Jane wrote a book – Freedom Through Frugality: Spend Less, Have More, which she says is really about reducing your ecological footprint. She writes a blog, with her husband who has Alzheimer’s disease, about the experience of having the disease and coping with it – Alzheimer’s Canyon.
Currently, Jane is a moderator of three Facebook groups in the Deep Adaptation universe: Positive Deep Adaptation, Practical Deep Adaptation, and Deep Adaptation Parenting. Quietly and powerfully, she adds substance to the discussions, based on her life experience and collected knowledge.
In this interview, Jane shares some choice words about the realities of homesteading and the need for living in community.