Saturday, January 7, 2012

Calling all homesteaders!!!!!

Attention all wanna-be homesteaders!

I am bringing to your attention what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Yes that sounds dramatic, so let me explain. This is a long post, but I think an exciting one, so hang onto your hats.

Last month I, along with many other rural-themed bloggers, received an email as follows:

I came across your blog while doing research for a TV production company. We are developing a show and it's still in the very early stages, and right now we are castings our nets far and wide looking for characters. Here is the official casting notice:

Raw TV, the makers of the hit shows Gold Rush and Locked Up Abroad, are searching for individuals to feature as part of a new series for a major cable television network. Do you have the spirit of an American pioneer? Are you fed up with the world you live in today and imagine another - better - way to live? Do you and your family and friends ever talk about leaving society we know it, leaving it all behind and building a new world off the grid, with the frontier grit of your forefathers? If you are passionate about your beliefs and would be willing to share them with a national TV audience we would love to talk to you.

If this sounds like you, whether you have a plan in action, have a more long term dream or are already living out on the frontier, please email your contact details and a brief description of your situation to

Of course I immediately looked at their webpage, located here.

Frankly my first thought was this was a scam of some sort. Over the years I’ve been contacted by various and sundry shady-sounding organizations and this seemed no different. However I emailed back and asked for additional information. Bottom line, last month I had a delightful hour-long chat with a fellow named Adam Loeb out of New York City. (Raw TV has both British and American offices.)

Looks like this is legit, folks. And that’s where the once-in-a-lifetime bit arises.

This is the gist of what Adam explained. They’re looking to cast ordinary folks into an extraordinary situation, namely leaving the city and moving to a homestead. The “pioneer” term in the casting call mentioned above is not quite accurate. As Adam explained, “pioneer” has a slightly different meaning in Britain than it does in America. I suggested he substitute the term “homesteader” into future casting calls for a more accurate description.

I explained to Adam the differences between historical and modern homesteaders. Historically, homesteaders were those participating in the Homestead Act of 1862 which opened up the American West. Modern homesteaders, by contrast, are those interested in becoming as self-sufficient and independent as possible. They farm to feed their families and perhaps have a little surplus to trade or sell, but their livelihood isn’t farming.

Most modern homesteaders are NOT farmers. Farmers engage in agriculture for purposes of profit. I know many people who farm for a living. Their business is to produce a crop and sell it, and that’s their job. Most homesteaders don’t “farm” for a living; they merely produce food for their own family and usually bring in income through a regular job and/or a home business.

Anyway, back to the TV show. Adam is looking for people who want to homestead, but for whatever reasons haven’t yet taken that leap. He’s looking for people with a passionate interest and some mental and/or physical preparation to live a rural, self-sufficient lifestyle. (In short, Adam is looking for Don and I the way we were twenty years ago, LOL.)

Raw TV recently produced a documentary series for the Discovery Channel called Gold Rush Alaska which followed several men seeking gold in the Yukon. It was a very popular series, Adam said, and now they’re trying to develop a new show which depicts people attempting to launch themselves into rural life, and documenting all the trials and tribulations and beauty and successes they may experience.

The concept is still not fully developed, so at this point things are flexible. But the next step is to start casting, and that’s the exciting part.

Adam stressed this is not a contest-based reality program where participants get X amount of money for “surviving” six months in the wilderness, or whatever. Nor will they be artificially pairing up incompatible participants, such as putting hippies together with militia folks. Nothing artificial like that.

Rather, this is an unfolding docu-drama, illustrating the American dream to become self-sufficient on a homestead. It will document the challenges inherent in building a life in the wilderness.

I asked where this would take place. Would participants be required to leave home and try homesteading at a location of the producer’s choice?

Adam said no; the location is not fixed, but it needs to be in a “visually dynamic” location such as Idaho, Montana, British Columbia, or something like that. Their preference is in the Pacific Northwest, Montana, or Idaho. He prefers to cast someone with an interest in settling in a wild area that has the potential to support a farmable homestead.

Adam was quite clear about the kind of person(s) they’re seeking. Participants should be planning on making this move to begin with. They’re looking for people who have passionately yearned for a homesteading lifestyle but just haven’t quite taken the plunge. In other words, they’re NOT looking for patently unqualified people who will fail. Rather, they’re seeking someone who will be happy to keep living out their self-sufficient dream life long after the cameras stop rolling.

I asked if participants would be expected to live a “pioneer” lifestyle, i.e. oil lamps and hand pumps and outhouses; or can they utilize modern means to get things done, such as tractors and power tools. He said participants absolutely will use modern methodologies. They’re not looking to re-create the 1850s; they’re looking to document how modern people set themselves up to be self-sufficient.

Adam knows that not many participants will have actual experience in homesteading, but he wants people to succeed. Therefore participants should possess useful skills (or the willingness to learn useful skills) to get them started on a homestead. In other words, if your most useful skill is shopping at the mall and gossiping on your smart phone, you’re probably not the best choice.

Adam asked me what kinds of people are most likely to fail in a project like this. I thought for a moment, then replied, “Those who think country living will be flawless, simple, and easy. The ones who think, ‘How hard can it be?’ The ones who think living in the country is all peace and love and universal harmony.” I said that country living is NOT simple, but it IS worth it. I said that homesteaders must expect to face the good, the bad, and the ugly. They must sometimes make decisions about their livestock which may be seen as cruel by urban standards (such as castrating a calf or butchering an injured animal). The ones who fail are the ones who don’t want to fence their garden against all those pretty deer, then don’t understand why their organic vegetables won’t grow.

But the ones who succeed have a willingness to face sometimes harsh reality, who don’t have an artificially rosy view of country living, and who don’t mind working hard and getting sweaty and dirty. Nor are they afraid to make mistakes.

Since this is TV, they’re also looking for “dynamic” people. I asked what he meant by “dynamic.” Apparently it has nothing to do with physical attraction, but rather everything to do with charisma and the ability not to be flat, monotone, and boring in front of a camera.

I asked what incentives or compensation participants can expect. This is still up in the air. The compensation and/or incentives will depend on the final format and direction of the show. They’re willing to consider things that might help the participants get started. They don’t want to interfere with or manipulate the natural progression of a developing homestead, except insofar as assisting with something big. (Yes, at this point it’s that vague.)

I asked about what participants can expect as far as filming. Will they have a film crew dogging their heels 24/7? Adam explained the whole project is still being formulated, so how this docu-drama will be filmed is still up for discussion.

One idea, Adam said, is to find multiple families to come together in the same location. They definitely need more than one family to participate, but whether it is a random collection of strangers, or a band of friends who already had plans to move, is still open.

Whew. Is this a bizarre and exciting twist, or what?

At any rate, if you’re interested in this developing opportunity, you’ll need to send an email stating your interest, qualifications, and goals to:

Adam Loeb

If you apply because you’re reading this post, please tell them you got the information from me on Rural Revolution. In other words, somewhere in your email you should state, “I saw this information on Patrice Lewis’s Rural Revolution blog.” This way they’ll know where people got their information. (Besides, I told Adam I’ll be fascinated to watch this project unfold.)

Okay folks, now’s the time to do some serious thinking! And keep me posted!


  1. What is the incentive to participate? Are they buying the homestead and giving it to the participant?

  2. Your new neighbors will not be happy with you bringing the world to their little hamlet. Not to mention your own OPSEC problem. This is not a good idea. If one is that starved for attention, move to Virginia and become a Moonshiner. That's a quality program right there!

  3. Montana sucks! Idaho too! Stay where you are and tell all of your friends and TV producers!

  4. Interesting. Sounds like they are actually taking it seriously and want show the real side of homesteading and not try to make folks that are trying to be self-reliant look like stupid yokels to be looked down on. If they take that attitude there might actually be some watchable TV for a season.

    One upside point is that if they get folks who are serious about being homesteaders and compensate them for allowing the filming, that's an injection of money/equipment/whatever into the homestead that will get you that much closer to the goal.

    Sounds like a good opportunity for somebody who wants to deal with it.

  5. I think they should hire you as a consultant and subject matter expert / adviser.

    Terry T

  6. This sounds really cool! I just started following your blog, and it is a wonderful, inspiring resource (thank you for that!). I think I will send an email to this Adam guy and see what comes of it.

  7. Yet another great reason to read your blog!

    Funny thing is, I started practicing my lines as soon as I read this post, lol, describing the benefits and construction of a Dakota Hole.

    Next up, converting a 40 foot connex container into liveable, all weather, off grid permanent accommodations...


    Needless to say, I'm seriously considering this. Now, if I can just get them to make the 20% down on the property I want in Montana. lol

  8. Sigh.. I guess my homesteading dream will have to remain just that for now. Couldn't possibly drop everything and head west at this particular point in my life. It is pretty intriguing, though. They ought to follow it up by examining people who homestead in the city. I might could participate in that!

  9. What an intriguing idea......

  10. I am assuming you have talked to Enola and family. Personally, your two families would be perfect! I don't follow any other Blogs.

  11. Wow, Patrice! That's so cool! I am thinking some praying is in order. Thanks for sharing this information.

  12. GBTV (Glenn Beck TeleVision) is launching a show called "Independence USA" (I think). It is about a family going off-grid.

    Interesting that this topic is getting air time...

  13. I would wonder what happens to the participant's own property while they're away from home filming. Our homesteading activities are preschool level compared to yours and Don's, but we have trouble arranging for both of us to be away even for a weekend.

    With all that said, I would be very interested to watch the show after it's produced.

  14. Very interesting. I'd also like to hear if they are planning to purchase the homestead for participants. Could be an awesome opportunity for someone who wants to move to Montana or Idaho. I think I'll stick to some place not quite that cold.

  15. I saw most of the gold mining show over New Years with my b.i.l., between footbal games. I don't have a tv and that didn't cause me to miss it. Oh, Murphy was his usual busy self, it had greed and betrayal and a few men who worked very hard for what little they got (at least so far as I watched). Didn't hear any money mentioned, but that may have been by design. Jeff

  16. I am SO writing Adam! I'd LOVE to pack up my three children and move somewhere waaaaaay off the grid and a million miles from Wal Mart!!! Thanks so much... Valarie

    PS I'd love to hear from you...

  17. Patrice, how can you watch this project unfold if you don't have a television?

    Before anybody signs up for this, I suggest watching some episodes of Gold Rush Alaska. That will give folks an idea of the slant the production company wants.

    Anonymous Patriot

  18. I don't know, Patrice. Sounds pretty suspicious to us. Liberals are darn sneaky at sounding and acting like they care about how conservatives live and think. This could be legit, sure. But it could also be a ruse to expose all us "kooks" to the rest of the country. We've come to distrust liberals in every way, and they can thank THEMSELVES for that! We trust them about as far as we can spit! --Fred & Deb in AZ

  19. Oh man. It totally sounds like my family (we're on 1/4 acre and would love to move somewhere nearby to acreage similar to yours). But we're kinda private and don't want/need that kind of publicity or other people all up in our business. Although with our eventual goal of acreage and starting our own u-pick farm... Sigh.

  20. Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, or maybe just old.
    I am not a fan of the reality show genre. Throw a bunch of people together, outside of their normal comfort zone, add some difficulties, real or imagined and watch the fireworks. And let's not forget to encourage the overly emotional, (that's why they want "dynamic" people).
    Maybe it could be a stepping stone for those seeking a homesteading type lifestyle. For me, I'll run away fast and far.


  21. Bad idea! What was that law the pres. signed Dec. 31st? Oh yeah, the one to hold American citizens suspected of terrorism in detention centers (like Gitmo) indefinitely without a trial. And how does one get on a suspected terrorist list? Why just type Fusion Center into your search engine and see the list: more than 7 days worth of food, concealed carry license, home schooling, returning veteran, Ron Paul enthusiast, overly religious (yeah, by whose standards?), missing any fingers, believer in upholding the constitution, someone who questions the king's birth certificate, conspiracy theorist, etc. Look it up and THEN see if you want to be on the show!

  22. Quite family will be praying about this, and maybe even writing. Thanks for sharing the opportunity! :)
    -Angie W

  23. Ok. Am I missing something??? It doesn't indicate they will be buying anything let alone property. To me it sounds like they want someone who is prepared for this change without a hand out of land. If this is really your dream, you'd be working your butt off to get it already. Not waiting for someone to hand it to you. That is the opposite of what homesteading and self sufficiency is all about, not to mention what is wrong with this county.

    Cass on WA

  24. I don't think I would trust this. First for OPSEC reasons, and also, as the second poster says, it would make the neighbors (homesteaders too, I would assume) angry to have swarms of camera crews etc. all over destroying their peace and privacy. Plus, I just don't care for reality shows and place them in the same category as crazy talk shows, with drama and discord. Good luck to any who choose to do this though.
    MaryB in GA

  25. I agree with a few of the other folks who think this is a BAD idea. Your neighbors aren't going to be too happy with all the added attention your area will be receiving (possibly blowing their OPSEC in the process)...not to mention all your preps will be on display for everyone to see. Have one or two years of food stored? Great - the folks down the road who didn't prepare will be glad to stop by your place so you can be "neighborly" and share. I don't think putting your family in harms way and throwing OPSEC out the window is worth whatever $$$ they plan to offer. Don't do it folks...keep a low profile, help others when you can and keep plugging along without the help of the media. Remember - they are going to want dynamic situations and when things go wrong, they couldn't be happier...that makes for good TV.

    PrepperMom in Virginia

  26. I watched the Gold Rush shows. It was really interesting. Very detailed in how they went through all the problems getting set up, breakdown of equip and personnel issues. Personally I would not want to go through that. The TV producers WERE there almost 24/7 and saw the frustrations and arguments and were basically in their face. They had decussions in after shows and discussed the stresses with cameras on them all the time.

    I agree with Cass - I believe they are trying to find people who are already in the move (with property) to a homesteading lifestyle. Not just someone who "wants" it. So many of us want it, but it is difficult to attain. I am not homesteading, but live a rural life which is about all I can deal with.

  27. They are looking for: "families who are already homesteading together" this isn't what this post suggested. And...after watching the gold mining show on you tube who in there right mind would want to look like buffoons? Sorry I contacted them as it's a security risk.

  28. P.S. Feel hoodwinked, mislead.

  29. Anon 8:55/9:53, this blog post was sent to Mr. Loeb before I posted it, so he could make any corrections. He made a substantial number of changes to clarify what I wrote and to clarify the project's goals. I did this in an honest effort not to misrepresent him in any way. In other words, I have posted everything I know about this project (based on my phone conversation Mr. Loeb), and know nothing else. I do know the show is still in the planning stages and is fluid in what they're looking for, so if their requirements have changed, I was not informed. I have posted this announcement with only the best of intentions and in no way did I mean to mislead or "hoodwink" anyone.

    - Patrice

  30. Patrice, You are a wonderful asset to many of us and I for one do not feel you mislead anything. You are relaying information as you get it. I think people need to really read it and not run away with ideas. I think your post is pretty darn clear. My hubby and I are toying with the idea of writing this Mr. Loeb....mostly cause we are darn funny people and our life would be entertaining indeed. hehe. We live an urban life right now, but we prep and we are saving for a farm (already picked out) and hopefully will be moving there in May or June....God willing! Plus we are newly weds and have a baby on the we would definitely be dynamic people. Our biggest deterant is OPSEC...of course!!! However, we have already don't have to show them EVERY part of your life. We would lock up our ammo and guns and extra food. I can explain away my food storage because I coupon like a mad woman and we buy in bulk to save money. Especially if you are going to be living far away from a big town...buying in bulk just makes smart, just because you want to share part of your life, doesn't mean you have to share it all. We are just stubborn enough to keep our stores private.

    I think it's a great opportunity for the right people...but like many have have to weigh the pros and cons. We intend to pray on it and think it over....and make wise choises.

    God Bless,
    Cass in WA

  31. I agree with Cass in WA. Thank you Patrice.

  32. This was NOT a slam of Patrice. What I'm saying is that the email I received back from the show is totally different than what was told to Patrice. An email was sent with the instructions we were supposed to relay attn Adam and the return email was from a woman who stated they want multiple families ALREADY engaged in homesteading. It was just a heads up people is all! Should have watched the you tube videos of their gold show to realize they want to make buffoons of people before sending an interested in the show email! Watch it for yourselves they make the people in that show look stupid.

  33. What would be more boring than doing this? Oh yeah, watching other people do it on TV.

  34. RawTV has apparently changed the venue since Patrice last spoke with Mr. Loeb. They are indeed looking for groups that are already living the homesteading lifestyle. Sadly, they neglected to send an update to Patrice.

  35. Anonymous,
    That's not true. We're looking for the best people with the best stories. People that are in process of making the choice to switch to this type of lifestyle or those who have just done it. As of now, our show is no more than a concept, and we are willing to alter it depending on who we can find.

    Adam Loeb

  36. RawTV is a joke, coming from Alaska as an actual miner, I'm here to tell you that it's all drama. They are trying to make reality tv folks, half real half fake. They'll ask you to say certain things for the camera, put words in your mouth, the whole nine yards. They're trying to make money, guys. Hell, I love tv, but not when it's as fake as fools gold.