I came in to my research for today’s episode with Rebecca Sullivan, founder of the Granny Skills Movement, expecting to spend a significant amount of our chat focusing on the topic of her beautiful, most recent book ‘The Art of the Natural Home’. We’d talk about the importance of bicarb soda and the utter delight that is making your own ferments, why we’re seeing a return to the traditions of our grandparents and how it’s been co-opted in to hipster life. And we do discuss all of those things in this poggie.
But what became apparent real quick is that Rebecca is also a woman whose passion for tradition, heritage and intergenerational connection goes way deeper than any riff on green cleaning or sauerkraut could begin to touch. So we dive head-long in to a discussion about her recent pilot program that placed grandparents in local high schools, who then taught students home economics, wood working and other traditional skills. I loved hearing about the impact of this program on not only the kids, but also the grannies who were doing the teaching. It speaks to a significant issue in our society currently, where older people are often marginalised, lonely or left to spend their later years in nursing homes, their wealth of knowledge disappearing as they do.
Granted, that seems heavier listening than a discussion on vinegar and bicarb, but it’s an important one, and something I want to continue exploring over the coming months.
We also talk about the importance of failure, and the liberation that comes once we accept and even embrace our own screw-ups. As a keen balcony gardener, Rebecca shares her best hits for container growing, including some of the native edibles that are most likely to survive some light-to-moderate neglect.
Rebecca and I talk about the point of view that says ‘chores’ are something we need to dread, and the mindset shift we’ve both made (usually) that sees tasks such as making, mending, growing, cooking, cleaning, preparing and experimenting as something more purposeful and fulfilling rather than a drudgery to be suffered through. We both freely admit that Netflix and convenience play a regular role in our lives too, so it’s not all bad news, but this mindset shift is actually an important one to think on.
This is a genuinely delightful conversation with a genuinely delightful woman who I have decided is my newest firm friend, whether she knows it or not. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!