Homesteader | Kelly Brown

Your Homestead was created with three things in mind.  Quality, comfort and environmental responsibility.  We set out to make the most amazing organic sheets with the least amount of impact on our planet, while also making sure that everyone was treated fairly along the way.  All of our products are made with Fair Trade Cotton and are GOTS certified, making our products the most ethical textiles available.

Throughout this process, we have been humbled by the other businesses who strive to deliver the same standards to their customers.  The Homesteader series was created to highlight other sustainable businesses who are working hard to create consciousness around consumption. Without further ado, please enjoy as we welcome Kelly Brown, an incredible photographer that resides in Canada.

H | Who are you and what do you do?

K | My name is Kelly Brown and I am a photographer living between Vancouver Island, British Columbia and Southern California. Beyond photography, I help my husband with his natural building business, I weave and I enjoy swimming in lakes, rivers and oceans as much as possible.

H | What steps are you making to live more sustainably?

K | There are ways to make every part of our daily lives more sustainable. I believe a big part of living sustainably is being conscious of all the decisions you are making and continuously questioning how you are going about your life.  Complacency is unsustainable. 

H | What products do you have in your home that support environmental sustainability?

K | I think it's a lot of what we don't have in our home that supports environmental sustainability. We gravitate towards a very simple lifestyle with minimalist design. We only keep things in our home that serve a function and that are well made using natural materials. All of our furniture is handmade (by my husband) or from the thrift store. Our cups, plates, bowls and vases are ceramics from local potters which puts money back into our community, and most of our textiles are either ones that I have woven or are from our friends company who works to bring fair wages to small textile villages in Mexico. A big part of what comes to mind about when I think about our home is also the people who are in it. We love to have big potluck dinners and friends come and stay with us as often as possible. So many of our friends value good, local food so potlucks often look like freshly caught salmon, farm veggies, berries, local brews etc. Community is a big part of sustainability for me because it offers a strong foundation and support system which is necessary for anyone to thrive.

H | Have you always been interested in environmental issues or is this something that you have taken on recently?

K | I started becoming more aware of environmental issues in college thanks to an environmental sociology class I took. What I learnt from this class inspired me to delve deeper into covering environmental, socio-economic and alternative lifestyle stories with my undergraduate degree in photojournalism. One of the stories that really changed my life was documenting some families who lived on an off-grid commune in the Southern Ohio. They unschooled their kids, grew all their own food, built straw bale homes and had the curiosity to question the ways in which mainstream society was living and the drive to change what didn't make sense to them. I wouldn't have believed it back then that one day I would marry a natural builder and spend lots of time visiting different Eco villages and communities around the world.

H | How does your city or town inspire you to be more sustainable.

K | We live most of the year on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. As someone who grew up in the States, I am continuously amazed by the vastness and raw beauty of Canada. Since living here, a big shift I notice is the amount of people who not only eat but respect the abundance of local and native foods. Salmon, crab, prawns, mushrooms, berries, wild greens, the list goes on. Having that kind of connection to your food really helps to understand how intrinsically we are connected to everything.

H | What advice can you offer to someone wanting to live more harmoniously with nature?

K | My best advice would be to spend as much time as you can outside in wild places. Hiking, swimming, foraging, or just laying in the grass. Also, that like any good relationship, you have to put in some effort and not be purely motivated by all of the ways in which nature can benefit you but by how you can also take care of her. That connection is where the real magic happens.

H | What steps do you take to be more socially conscious? 

K | Something that I see over and over again (especially with the current political temperament) is how quickly we form sides and how these judgments allow very little room for the complexities of peoples lives. It's not always easy but really important for me to go into a new situation or conversation knowing that I need to have compassion, that I always have something to learn and that I must be willing to be wrong.

H | If you could say one thing to try to encourage people to be more environmentally friendly what would it be? 

K | I think about the environment the same way I think about my friends and family. You show up and take care of the people you love. To see more of Kelly's adventures follow along @kellybrownphoto

Photos Kelly Brown