Learn more about homesteading as a beginner in becoming more self sufficient and homemade. This guide will help you begin your journey in the homesteading lifestyle.
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The Beginners Guide to Homesteading
Homesteading is one of the best ways to move from being purely a consumer to a producer. Many people, starting almost immediately after the industrial revolution, have tried different ways to return to the land and be more self sufficient. The reasons for homesteading vary. One reason is control. Control over the food, waste and products that enter our family’s lives and bodies.
Another common refrain is the increased self sufficiency and independence. From food allergies and behavioral issues to cancer and healthy diet, many people are opting to grow and produce their own food. Definitely check out why I became a homesteader (for health reasons) if you want to know more about our journey.
We have been working on building our urban homestead in northwest Louisiana for 4 years. It all started when we moved to the area for my job. My eldest son was very young and I realized I wanted to give him the best food and life without compromising too much on our extremely limited budget. After that first year of amazing tomatoes and sewing so many different things I realized, we could do this.
In fact, it was the next year that I began to understand the reality of leaning away from processed foods and paying a premium for new items could both save money and have beneficial impact on our health as a family. Slowly, we’ve been building this urban homesteading, including moving to own a home, planting fruit trees (in the front yard!) and officially checking items off the grocery list.
What is homesteading?
Boiled down to its essence, homesteading is a lifestyle aimed at self sufficiency and simple living. This can include everything from being off grid to growing some of your food on your balcony. The range is quite large but there are two main tenants of homesteading.
- Become more of a producer, than a consumer
- Skill building and self sufficiency are key
Definitely almost all homesteaders are striving to make their own food, textiles, or cleaning materials from scratch. This includes, but is not limited to, growing food, cooking from scratch and preserving what you do grow. It means you opt out of restaurants and processed foods from the store as often as you can.
Skill building, teaching and being more self reliant is the other major component. Learning to lay your own floor, sewing your own clothes, making your own soap, etc. are all part of opting out of the process companies are doing for (and charging) you. In this same vein, you can also be teaching your children or family or friends new skills that keep you sharp, capable and engaged in the food you eat and the world you live in.
How to get started with homesteading
Getting started homesteading is pretty simple actually. For more on this, check out my 30 day homesteader challenge. It starts out with an easy meal replacement. If you always buy your coffee, just get a french press and some grounds and make your own. The challenge builds from there but it allows you pick and choose different skills you might like to pursue.
Others have tried a different strategy. For example, pick one thing you know you want to change and follow it to its logical conclusion. If you want to have the freshest fruits and vegetables available to you. Start small and build up from there with a clear end goal in mind.
If your ultimate goal is to grow all of your vegetables, start training yourself to eat seasonally and build some raised beds. Even in an urban environment you can produce a lot of food. For more tips on goal setting and time management, sign up for my newsletter and get a FREE time management PDF to help you on your journey.
My top tips for being a successful homesteader
- Goal and time management, we all have the same 24 hours, use it wisely
- Challenge yourself, be willing to think outside the box and try new things
- Start small, but aim big. Don’t think that you need lots of land or all of the skills to get started on becoming more self sufficient
- Expect regular failure. Pests, diseases, weather, money, emergencies, etc. are all going to play a role in becoming a homesteader.
- Celebrate success! Remember to enjoy what you are doing, it helps keep you motivated.
Common Questions/FAQ About homesteading
Who can homestead?
Anyone! Seriously, a good and inspiring book by Novella Carpenter called Farm City is just wonderful on explaining how one can you abandoned lots and small spaces to grow plenty of food. If you live in an apartment or have a 100 acres, there is a way to homestead. Often when restricted by space, you can build other skills such as soap making and cooking from scratch.
Why do people homestead?
There are SO many reasons people homestead. You can read about why I homestead as part of personal health care. However, there are other reasons such as a distrust of the government and regulatory bodies that monitor our food system and push for unsustainable industrial agriculture production.
Other reasons include, being raised on or near a homestead, to abandon the competitive rat race of earning a high income, returning to the land and living in a way that aligns with eco-friendly values. There is also a love of animals, the love of gardening and the strong desire to provide fresh, local food to others.
Is homesteading the same as being self-sufficient?
Yes and no. It is one of the main components of homesteading that you strive to rely less on the industrial agricultural system and more on things you make and produce yourself in your own home. Or support from a local where the economy feeds into itself propping up those around you more directly. However, you do no need to be 100% self sufficient to be a homesteader. It is not a requirement.
Do you have to be off grid or without modern conveniences to be a homesteader?
Absolutely not! Many homesteaders are spreading their message and helping out others just starting out with the availability of electricity, internet and technological advances. One of the clearest examples I’ve found in my journey is soap making. If you want to make soap, you can do it my hand. However, this takes hours to mix and not be lumpy. With the invention and spread of immersion blenders this process went from hours to a few minutes. Making this more accessible to more people. Win-win!
The last thing you need to know about homesteading
A key take away from this post should be that anyone can start homesteading today, you do not need a lot of land or time to begin honing self sufficient skills. You need only to pick something and get started. You can do this!
Are you considering becoming a homesteader? Leave a comment below and let me know how your journey is going!
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