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Good Xmas Books

December 16, 2014

Phillip Vannini and Jonathan Taggart have just released a book, Off The Grid: Re-Assembling Domestic Life, and a documentary film, Life Off-Grid, about how Canadians are doing just this. In two years of work and travel, Vannini, a Royal Roads professor and Gabriola resident, and Taggart, a Vancouver photojournalist, interviewed nearly 200 off-the-grid people and visited homes in every province and territory in Canada.

"To live off-grid means to radically re-invent daily life in a dramatically innovative but also quite traditional way," says Vannini. "This is a film on disconnection as much as it is on everything we all take for granted about the modern condition and its comforts, conveniences, and connectivity."

The two Royal Roads alumnus shadowed off-gridders as they hunted, fished, collected firewood, and built off-grid homes. At times, the researchers lived in off-grid cabins themselves.

"Off-gridders are often the subject of stereotypes," says Taggart, director of the film. "Hippies, hermits, outlaws, rebels, misfits—these are just some of the labels applied to them. But our filmic portraits reveal a different picture, one that is less sensational, less radical, and more nuanced and subtle. Our intimate encounters show off-gridders to be individuals who care about their family and their environment, about their homes, communities, and their place in the world."

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