MPW.71 / 2019 The Skoolie Homesteaders by Heather Khalifa
Photographer
Heather Khalifa New York, N.Y.
Team Lee

Story Summary

The Friedrichs are millennial modern homesteaders. By their definition. More importantly, they are a family that does what they can, with what they have, where they’re at, say Tracy Friedrich as she quotes Teddy Roosevelt. They currently live in a school bus that the entrepreneurial father converted into a home for his family. It sits on a small plot of land 15 minutes from the center of Boonville. He also built a greenhouse made out from the frame of a carport. It’s one of many small things the “modern homesteaders” do to live a more sustainable life.

“Am I doing it perfect? No,” says Friedrich, 38, as she answers he own question. “We live in a digital age, so I don’t see myself going completely off the grid. We love the Internet too much.”

Tracy and his wife Ashley are YouTubers. They broadcast how-to’s, like how to make a solar-paneled chicken coop. They have over 16,000 YouTube subscribers, finding a community of people around the country similar to them.

“I see a lot of younger people wanting to do things differently,” Tracy said. He uses his electrical buffer to shine up the side of a 1949 Chevy truck, the family’s daily ride. “I don’t know if that’s because of a lack of money or it’s wanting to do things simpler. I think the longterm is ‘live simply so others can simply live.’”