Talking on the ¼-acre homestead at the Maker Faire

Photo by Cornelia at

I was sort of surprised to be invited to talk at the Maker Faire (in San Mateo, Calif, on May 23-24). It’s mostly mechanical/digital inventions: robots (galore), high-tech gizmos, computer brilliance and wit. Amidst all this, Farm Aid had a flesh and blood, food and shelter corner of the fairgrounds, and it balanced out all the rest of the stuff.

It’s a fascinating event, and crowded to the gills. Another coup for Tim O’Reilly and Make Magazine: O’Reilly really has his finger on today’s digital pulse. There were a bunch of things there that were brilliant and amusing.

I gave a talk on “The ¼-acre Homestead,” tracing my 40+ years of owner-homebuilding, small-scale farming, gardening, and related matters. The food/shelter angle; I’ve always tried to take care of this first, then to get along with making a living. A pretty good audience. People are (re-) interested in doing some of this stuff themselves. Can you figure out a way to have a roof overhead without borrowing from a bank or paying rent? I think you still can, and in cities as well as the country. I’m probably going to do a book along these lines, after we finish the book on tiny houses (for which I now have an overwhelming bunch of insanely great stuff).

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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