The Homesteading Trend

Should you start a self-reliant living today?


If you’re like me, then your social media news feeds have been full of suggested posts and ads talking about homesteading. How to raise chickens, how to start a garden, bread recipes that look amazing (that I’ll probably never make, but very much enjoy looking at through my screen). Does it feel like having the skill sets to grow your own food and be more independent is on trend right now? If it's not, it should be.


Being able to be self-reliant is an important ability. We know that there are food supply issues across North America currently, and that’s as good a reason as any to begin pursuing a more independent lifestyle. Taking it upon yourself to be ready in case of a supply crisis has no real downsides. I want to be able to simply bring up my children with a healthy knowledge of outdoorsmanship, gardening, and taking care of animals. They will understand what it means to work and be self-sufficient. But how the heck does one start homesteading from scratch? And what does homesteading even mean?


The term can fluctuate depending on how you’ve been exposed to it, but for my purposes I am talking about the general practice of homesteading by growing food, raising livestock, and being as self-reliant as possible. It’s impossible for my family to live completely off the grid with our current resources, but our goal is to be able to feed ourselves and have the tools and know-how necessary to survive in case of an emergency.


Homesteading, technically speaking, is simply the definition of “the home and adjoining land occupied by a family”. So, basically; your house. In more recent years we have placed an informal meaning to the term; being any household that gardens or raises livestock to take care of and feed their family. A common misconception, though, is that you need a bunch of property and a ton of study time to start your own homestead.



Whether you are in a high-rise condo in the city, a suburban neighborhood, or a sprawling ranch, I believe you can begin the practice and mindset of a homesteading family. If your long-term goal is to raise your own animals and tend to a large outdoor garden, you can start by creating habits that will cultivate the skills needed to achieve this.


Start by learning to grow your own food. You can do this with an apartment herb garden, over-the-rail baskets, or take it to the yard for a larger spread of crops and options. This Low-Maintenance Vegetable Garden article from An Off Grid Life has a wealth of resources that will jumpstart your homesteading objectives no matter how large your plot - or pot- is.


Starting your garden doesn’t have to break the bank, and over time should be a cost saver for your family. According to the National Garden Association, the average American household spends approximately $500 per year on gardening supplies. Once you are up and running, you are saving by spending on only what you need to grow on your own plants, rather than giving your resources to the grocery store.


There are plenty of ways to take control of the goods you grow and food you produce, and our family will be starting with a small garden and a little bit of raising “micro-livestock”. That, paired with my man’s carpentry skill set, gives us a leg-up on some self-reliance basics - but we definitely have a long way to go! Eventually, we will endeavor to practice some other methods of homesteading like canning and preserving goods, hunting and preparing our own meat, and rainwater harvesting. In the meantime, I’m diving into the recommended Women’s Heritage Sourcebook to sharpen my knowledge as we prepare our little homestead for chickens and a garden.


Leave us a comment and tell us what you are doing to live sustainably and independently, and stay tuned for my first blog post detailing how we started our first in-ground garden!



-Britt

2A Daddy