Off-grid isn’t a state of mind. It isn’t about someone being out of touch, about a place that is hard to get to, or about a weekend spent offline. “Off-grid” refers to homes that are disconnected from the electricity and the natural gas grid—homes that are therefore self-sufficient for light, power, and heat. The people living in these homes tend to be independent for procuring other vital resources, such as water and food, and for disposing of their own waste. Life off grid, therefore, is a life that is radically different from the one we know: it’s a life that is re-invented and dramatically innovative, but also quite old.
Off-grid homes are experimental labs for our collective future. The lessons they are learning today about living with renewable energy are the lessons we will all need to learn tomorrow in order to make our lives more sustainable, more respectful toward the environment, and less dependent on non-renewable resources. Life Off Grid is an intimate look into unusual contemporary domestic lives, but it is also a call to the rest of us leading ordinary lives to examine what we take for granted about our homes, our needs, and our wants.
Photographer and filmmaker Jonathan Taggart spent two years travelling Canada with researcher Dr. Phillip Vannini, studying the lives of people living off the grid in every province and territory. Life Off Grid presents photographs from these travels and encounters. A feature-length documentary film of the same name will be released in 2015.