In a segment on KCRW’s Good Food, host Evan Kleiman interviewed Celia Sack, the owner of Omnivore Books on Food in San Francisco. Sack noted a trend this year: fewer books on baking, bread and beer, which she linked to a rising economy. As she put it, people don’t have to make their own jam anymore, they can just buy it at the store. She is correct that interest in DIY homesteading books wane during good economic times. But I was curious to see whether Google search trends for DIY topics would back up Sack’s hunch. Above is the result for “bread recipe” searches and you can definitely see a slight decline over the last two years.
“Jam recipe” shows a similar decline as well as seasonal spikes that coincide with canning at the end of summer. Unsurprisingly, most homesteading topics revolve around seasons. Seasonality, by the way, is one of things I really like about this movement. A digression here–the flatness of time (see Charles Taylor)–is one of the things I don’t like about modernity.
“Home canning” searches show a more dramatic decline.
People research backyard chickens in the spring and the search trend also shows a decline.
Searches for “vegetable gardening” seem to have declined sharply, perhaps because of all the homestead projects, gardening is the most difficult.
And another digression–it looks like we may have reached peak “gluten free.”
I’ve often joked that when the economy picked up Kelly and I would have to write a book called How to Shop Your Way to Happiness, but that’s pretty much the story the culture at large is always telling, particularly at this time of year. Root Simple is going to, defiantly, keep covering these topics because we believe that the DIY ethos is important in both good and bad economic times. We value the ability to do things with our hands, hearts and minds. We’re not preparing for some end time, we’re realizing the good times in the here and now.
What do you think? Have you seen a decline in interest in homesteading topics?