Radical Homemakers


One of my most-often recommended books is The Radical Homemaker, by Shannon Hayes.

This empowering book validates the ideals we have of caring for our families, cooking nourishing food, re-skilling ourselves, bartering with others in our community – and so much more.

She advocates a return to this worthy role of homemakers.

Everything about it makes sense, but it’s radical in the sense that it’s a departure from the current mainstream culture of buying everything we need instead of taking responsibility for a portion of our needs… whether it be cooking, gardening, raising livestock, preserving food, home health care, child and elder care, sewing, crafting, building, renovating, repairing, etc, etc

In short, it’s a turn from being solely consumers, locked in a cycle of dependency on others, to becoming producers, and being inter-dependent with members of our community.

And, instead of thinking of thinking only about our own wants and needs, she’s identified that radical homemakers make lifestyle choices with consideration of 4 main areas:

  • Family

  • Community

  • Social justice

  • Ecological sustainability

Through decades of advertising, we’ve been convinced that we should be independent, that we “need” to buy so much stuff, that we “need” a certain kind of education and employment, that we can simply buy whatever we need, that we “need” convenience…

… and in the process, we’ve gotten away from the innate and primal need within us that longs for meaningful connections with others and the daily use of practical skills.

Deep within us, we also feel that by knowing those who produce the goods we choose to buy (or barter) that we can ensure fairness in their production and can make choices that truly have positive ecological impacts.

The role of a true homemaker is a creative and satisfying pursuit. It’s a role filled by both men and women, and enhanced by others who are also homemakers… resulting in a community that’s rich in bartering, inter-dependency, reclaiming lost skills, practical knowledge, and support for everyone (youngest to oldest).

Have you read The Radical Homemaker? In what areas have you become a “radical homemaker”?

What more do you aspire to in your radical homemaking journey?

Leave your comment below!


I wanted to include a couple quotes from the book. It’s so rich in content; it was hard to narrow it down to just two quotes!

Here’s a sample:

“When we regain connection with all that sustains us, we regain creative spirit. We rediscover the joy that comes with using our hands and our minds in union to nourish, nurture and delight in our families; we tap the source of true creative satisfaction, the ecstasy that accompanies a home that lives in harmony with the earth’s systems, and the certitude of a life guided by principles of social justice and nonexploitation.” p.83

“…so deeply embedded is this ethos [of becoming an ideal employee] that it is difficult to imagine a life in which one eschews the quest for validation of our self worth from teachers, principals and employers, and instead seeks prosperity in a satisfying and creative home life.” p.84