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“All the things we love, all in one place,” Owner Davis Miller’s philosophy on how to stock the homestead store. “That is essentially the litmus test for our inventory. Many products inside the store are items at least one family loves and uses regularly,” stated an e-mail from the owners. Above Heath Fenn in the baking and canning section.

With Marble Hill’s newest retail store, old is new again 

See more articles in the Progress’ Fall Festival Guide, which features information about local and regional festivals this season.

When you walk into North Georgia Homestead Supply, 11197 Hwy. 53 East,Marble Hill, you are immediately struck by the variety of merchandise – everything from garden seeds, to crossbows, knives, baking and caning supplies, some footwear, radios and even a selection of loose-leaf teas. Plus feeds and garden tillers.
            When you hear how it started earlier this year, it makes sense. Three local families (Davis & Bess Miller, Dillon & Ali Nelson, Heath & McKenzi Fenn) jointly started the feed store/general store and they stock what they like and have found useful. And it changes as they discover new things on their own homesteads or with the change of season. 
            McKenzi defined a homesteader as someone who “adopts a philosophy of self-sufficiency and taking charge of their own food supply. You don’t have to own land or raise animals to be considered a modern homesteader. If you care about making your house into a home — you can homestead.”
            Dillon defined it as simply making use of “what you have – plants, animals, skills.” The last couple of years have really made people think about where stuff comes from and how they can secure their own supplies and what they can offer a community.
            Heath entered the homestead path through diet, which lead to asking more questions about exactly where the food came from and moving away from processed foods.
            The goal at the new store is to feature classes and advice along with items specifically chosen for the area. 
            “Our mission is much greater than offering feed, seed, and homestead supplies. We want to create space for true community, connection, and collaboration,” stated an e-mail from the owners.
            Dillon several times referenced “community” as part of their mission, a hub of like-minded homesteaders connected by the store and its classes.
            The owners hope to attract the growing number of people seeking to learn these self-sufficiency skills, or at least grow a decent raised-bed crop of kale.
            Most people trying to learn, start with YouTube videos as that is the only option; some are good but some aren’t. However, there is no substitute for a live, local teacher.
            Dillon, who grew up in Dawson County, explained often the people who have plucked chickens or slaughtered their own hogs all their life are shy about discussing it as that lifestyle may carry a stigma of Appalachian poverty. 
            “People who still know how to slaughter a hog may be embarrassed to admit they do it and people who don’t know are embarrassed to admit they don’t know how to,” he said.
            Heath, who raises meat chickens with his wife, said well-to-do people will pay to watch someone pluck a chicken to learn. With more and more people coming from cities, the store will serve as a welcome center for those seeking to learn about a rural lifestyle. Even if it’s someone in a subdivision or gated community — they have raised bed kits that should work under the tightest covenants and POAs.
            Regular classes are slated to start this winter. Potential topics include raising and processing meat chickens, making elderberry syrup, horticulture, gardening and so much more. You can find them on social media or check their website (see ad on this page).
            In their e-mail they stated, “This store is truly a family affair. There are 15 children playing together when all three couples are working. Our kids love the store and are happy to help.”

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