July 16, 2015
Stamps professor Joe Trumpey and family are featured in the August/September 2015 issue of Mother Earth News magazine as 2015 Homesteaders of the Year.
Joe and Shelly Trumpey, with daughters Autumn and Evelyn, live off the grid in their hand-built, 2,200-square-foot straw bale home near Grass Lake, Michigan. Together, they produce at least half of their own food by gardening, canning, freezing, and raising heritage-breed livestock for meat and eggs on their 40-plus acre Sandy Acres Farm.
What does being a “modern homesteader” mean to you?
We each have a different take on this. For Joe, it is really about proof of concept – how low energy, natural building materials can be used in an efficient and beautiful way to create a home that supports your life. How managing your energy use and production can be fossil-fuel minimized and still allow one to lead a “normal” life. Thinking about how ecological systems operate with solar power and how to use the sun for heat, food and electricity. It is about piloting a creative transition into a lower energy society.
...We are farmers. We are builders. We are about efficiency and against fossil fuel use, but it is not the “more with less” approach. It is about “less with less,” and being happy with that. The style and scale of the farmstead is intentionally within U.S. cultural norms – but different. We know that relationships take time and effort. We prioritize the relationships with our family, our food and animals, our land, water, and energy.
In a recent video profile, Trumpey talks about the intersection of art and the environment.
Video produced by Stamps student Melissa Cho.
The Trumpey family hand-built their off-grid, 2,200-square-foot straw bale home near Grass Lake, Mich. Here, they strike a pose with their heritage-breed Standard Bronze turkeys. Photo by Oliver Uberti.