The basic principles of a Homesteading Lifestyle are based in self-sufficiency and self-reliance. They include growing and producing one’s own food, and other necessities of life. Homesteaders often strive to live simply and sustainably, using natural and renewable resources and minimizing their impact on the environment.
Where can you Homestead?
Homesteading can be practiced in various settings, from urban apartments to rural farms. Food can be grown in containers on a porch or balcony, small animals like rabbits could be raised in a backyard. The skills that homesteaders use daily can certainly be practiced just about anywhere.
In the photo above, you can see our “in town” homestead. This was a rented place with a lot of shade and severe slope so we opted for two raised beds and small compost spinner behind the garage. The bed next to garage held rhubarb, some herbs, potatoes and squash in summer and fall and garlic in the winter and spring. A small coop held two hens and a rooster and our rabbit lived in the hutch. We line dried our clothes to save money, much cheaper than the dryer.
For some great ideas on what is possible homesteading in smaller spaces take a look at The Urban Homestead. This farm was started in 1985 by Jules Devraes Jr and is now continued by his children. Not only does this small suburban backyard in Pasadena, CA provide for them, but they also started a Co-op with others and offer On-line Farmer’s Boxes for order and pick up!
What and how can you Homestead?
Some homesteaders grow their own vegetables and fruits in row farming or raise chickens for eggs and meat, and keep bees for honey. Others may focus on a set system like permaculture which is a sustainable form of agriculture that seeks to mimic the relationships found in natural ecosystems.
Homesteaders like us, blend a whole bunch of things together in a way that we find sustainable, for our resources (physical, emotional, and financial) and the environment (conserves water, organic methods, less tilling, using animals, and so on). We have used raised beds to grow vegetables and herbs, row farming for beans, corn, tomatoes, and potatoes, and a food forest for many perennials like fruit trees.
Homesteading is not just about growing food and raising animals, however. It also involves learning new skills and becoming more self-sufficient in other areas of life. This might include learning to cook from scratch, sew and mend clothes, or build and repair structures. Homesteaders may also learn how to generate their own electricity through solar panels or wind turbines, or how to purify their own water. Most of these skills are a great way to start a beginner homesteading journey as they are very portable.
The Main Goal
For many homesteaders their core motivation is the desire to live independently, even off the grid, relying on one’s own resources rather than those provided by society. They often seek to reduce their dependence on the traditional economic system too, so you find barter and trade are common.
Homesteading can be a rewarding and fulfilling way of life, allowing individuals and families to live in harmony with the natural world and take control of their own lives. It requires a willingness to learn new skills, a desire for self-sufficiency, and for many of us, a commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.
Some of our favorite free Homesteading/Farming/Simple Living resources:
Justin Rhodes Youtube; inspiration and ideas. He visited many farms and homesteads doing interviews so you get great ideas, and lots of information.
Homesteading Family – this is their blog but they also have a Youtube Channel, Great for Canning and general home stuff
YouTube generally for lots of great How to’s but to be honest, first we read magazines, then books, and then YouTube. You have to figure out what the questions are first and then YouTube is great once you can filter out the fluff.
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Although I have posted some of these as affiliate links where we receive a small commission if you purchase (which we appreciate soooo much), please remember that you can find most of these books or magazines at the library. This list is not exhaustive, we have many books and have read hundreds of other books and magazines but these listed are either great all-in-one general reference or just really good, especially for beginners.
You Can Farm or basically anything by Joel Salatin related to animal raising.
The Backyard Homesteading Book – easy and simple for beginners
The Frugal Homesteader – great cheap projects
Storey’s Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance – good all-rounder. Storey’s books are great in general.