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Welcome to Modern Homesteader, I'm happy to have you here and would love to invite you on this little journey of mine. I choose this word 'journey' carefully because well, thats pretty much what this is. An exploration of sorts on multiple levels, and I'm not totally sure where it will take us. All I do know is... I have stuff to say, and I am deeply passionate about homesteading and the homesteading community, self-sufficiency, subsistence agriculture, food, and most importantly, family and all the little things that come with trying to provide a better life and a legacy for my kids.
What This Is...
The format I am choosing to use for this project is primarily newsletter focused, though it will all be available in this site as well. I envision this as a weekly or twice-monthly publication that will mostly be original content... part editorial, part storytelling, part memoir, with some curated content sprinkled in for good measure.
Who Am I...
You'll have the opportunity to learn more about me over time, but let me give you some of the basics of how I got here. I grew up in the somewhat-rural suburbs of Chicago, in a small town right on the Wisconsin border. I left about a week after my 18th birthday to Los Angeles to pursue my big city dreams. Several years later, after a series of events such as Napster and the death of my mother, I decided to leave my life in the LA music industry and go to culinary school. Thats when my eyes started to open about our food systems in America. I spent my time after culinary school working in Thomas Keller's kitchens (the French Laundry, Bouchon). Later, I opened a locally driven farm to table restaurant in Sonoma County, where I got all of my fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and dairy from within a 50 mile radius and even kept 3 goats at a customers nearby farm so I could make fresh cheese for the restaurant.
Then it all came crashing down (a story for another day). I left the restaurant business, and went into the produce business, then I quit that at the height of the housing collapse and moved to a 7 acre organic farm in Costa Rica. To support my travels, I started getting into web design and marketing and ended up moving to and working in Thailand on an 8 year detour from anything directly food or farm related.
In 2015, burnt out from 14 hour days in front of a computer, I launched BlackPig Artisan Salumi, and partnered with a local farmer to grow quality naturally raised Kurobuta pigs. This drew me back to the land and the kitchen again. While it was successful and growing fast, it was a one-man operation and a near-fatal car accident put this business on ice, and I ended up back in front of my computer to make my living.
This story is filled with so many twists and turns that it can be an entire post, or three all in itself. But in mid-2019, I decided I was ready to return to the US with my kids and get my homesteading dream going sooner than later. While trying to save money and clear my debts, I was constantly looking for land. I was set on the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, and with the onslaught of Covid-19 and the subsequent interruptions in the food supply, while everyone was panic-buying toilet paper, I panic-bought 7.2 acres of raw wooded land that met my criteria and budget.
Currently, my kids and I are still posted up in the rural mountains of Northern Thailand awaiting travel restrictions to lift and some other things to line up before we make the journey to North Carolina, hopefully within the next 6 weeks or so.
Hope you stick around and become part of our family.
❤️ Ian Borders