Outdoorsman and self-sufficiency expert Jay Gruen provides assistance on everything from cooking and conserving water to making a portable chicken coop from an old trampoline, offering tips viewers can apply to their lives at home.Jay-Gruen-Bio-D

“I think many of us daydream about a simpler, downsized lifestyle. Lots of people have weekend getaways, but we were curious about filming families who wanted to make a permanent life change.” says Gena McCarthy, senior vice president of programming and development for the FYI channel and executive producer of the series.

Outdoorsman and self-sufficiency expert Jay Gruen will guide families as they attempt to live off of the grid. (Photo: ‘Unplugged Nation’/FYI)

Step one was putting out a casting call for serious, committed families. “Many of them had a clear idea of what part of the country they wanted, but the criteria included a genuine desire to find or at least sample an unplugged property before making the final purchase.”

The episodes that feature young children are among my favorites as their reactions are unique,” says McCarthy, noting the challenges the families face.

Reality quickly set in for several of the participants. “For those who decided not to buy or decided to wait, sometimes the test drive experience made one person — or the whole family — realize they simply weren’t ready to make a permanent change like this,” says McCarthy, noting that in any case, viewers can not only live vicariously but learn a thing or two. “Viewers can enjoy the wide variety of properties you can purchase, and tons of practical lifestyle tips and tactics.” By: Gerri Miller July 27, 2015, 12:18 p.m.