Gabor grows a lot of his own food, doesn’t own a car, heats his house and dries food with wood, warms water with the sun, and even cultivates bamboo. I wrote about his one-acre homestead, only a half mile from the center of Amherst, earlier this week. Here’s the post for those who missed it.
In this post, I’m focusing not on what Gabor does, but why he does it, and what his goals are.
Gabor lost a lot of his sense of community when he left his native Hungary, and so building one here is important to him. He enjoys showing people how he makes sauerkraut with a tool designed for cutting cabbage, and how the average person can maintain his or her bicycle. He’s shown at below left helping a neighbor take down tree limbs.
This community feeling, and his goal of self-reliance, promote emotional stability, he says. It’s a good feeling to know that you can cope with whatever life throws at you because you’ve developed the skills to acquire the basics of life. Gabor will be speaking about this emotional side of his lifestyle on Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. at the All Things Local store in downtown Amherst.
Gabor also wants to learn to enjoy life, empower himself and others, and explore his limitations. He’s willing to accept a certain messiness in his life in return for the satisfaction of taking on creative projects and being able to accomplish them.
Treading lightly on the earth is also an important goal. In addition to the wood heat and bicycling, Gabor has solar panels on his roof that produce some of his household’s electricity.
Some people tell him his lifestyle must be hard, but he doesn’t see it that way. It does involve a lot of work, and physical labor, but doing what you enjoy is a great way to avoid depression, he said. He doesn’t have to worry about feeling that he doesn’t have enough, and a lot of his activities enable him to interact with people and with nature. Here is a photo of the bamboo he grows, harvests and even sells at All Things Local in Amherst.
Gabor spoke about his urban homestead last Saturday in the first of a series of talks at the Winter Farmers Market at the Regional Middle School on Chestnut Street in Amherst. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the talks are at noon. Here’s the schedule:
Dec. 27, Backyard composting with David Lovler
Jan. 3, Grass-fed dairy cheese producing with Will Miller
Jan. 10, The complexity of trees with Henry Lappen
Jan. 24, Bees in the Pioneer Valley with Dan Conlon
Jan. 31, School gardening and community education with Sarah Berquist
Feb. 7, Winter vegetable gardening with Jeremy Barker-Plotkin
Feb. 14, Nature skin care with Tunzala Eynola
Feb. 21, Food is the best medicine with Becky Reed
Feb. 28, Your carbon footprint with David Ahlfeld
March 7, Mushrooms in the garden with Willie Crosby
March 14, Replacing fossil fuels one house at a time with Claire Chang
March 21, Growing tomatoes with Ryan Voiland
March 28, Herbs for everyday use with Isabel Masteika