What is homesteading?
It’s a question many people have. What is this whole homestead movement I’ve heard so much about?
In this video, I’ll answer the question what is homesteading and tell you how to get started.
Note that the video still has old branding on it, but is indeed an Our Inspired Roots Video :)
(Be sure to scroll down for what homesteading means to some of my bloggers and vloggers friends too!)
When you hear the word homesteading you may picture Laura Ingalls and her family in their wagon trekking out west.
During the western expansion, homesteader was the term given to those folks who journeyed westward in search of a piece of land to survive and thrive on.
Many of the people who moved west were poor and saw the opportunity to have their own piece of land to farm as a chance for freedom.
(Of, course there were many terrible things that happened to native people during this time too, so westward expansion was definitely not all roses).
What Made Them Homesteaders?
Quite simply, those people who moved westward had to provide for themselves.
From food and firewood to shelter and clothing, homesteaders lived a subsistence lifestyle where they had no choice but to provide for themselves in order to survive.
Today it Means Something a Little Different
In fact, it means many things. Firstly, not many of us have to provide for ourselves or risk death. Modern homesteaders choose the homesteading life because it speaks to them in some way.
Homesteading is more a mindset than anything else. A homesteader can live in the city or the country, rent or own, garden or not. It doesn’t just mean one thing.
What Homesteaders Do Have in Common is the Notion of Freedom
Providing for yourself is incredibly freeing. Hole in my clothes? That’s ok I can mend it. Power’s out? No problem, I have solar energy. Food prices are soaring? So what? I grow most of my own food.
For most of human history, we lived hand to mouth, providing our own food, clothing, shelter, etc. And modern day homesteaders are trying to recapture the simplicity of providing for themselves.
There really are as many definitions as there are homesteaders. I asked a few homestead blogger/vlogger friends the question, What is homesteading? and here are their answers:
Jill – The Prairie Homestead
“For us, homesteading is 100% about quality of life. It’s about good food, a wholesome lifestyle for our kids, and that soul-fulfilling work that leaves us exhausted, yet still so energized at the end of the day. In a society of easy and convenience, I think homesteading appeals to people because it begins this process of them returning to their roots, of becoming a producer instead of just a consumer, and of being connected to their food and the cycle of life. Homesteading is hard, dirty work that is strangely addicting all at the same time. I wouldn’t trade this lifestyle of ours for anything.”
Teri – Homestead Honey
“My homesteading journey began with a quest to provide nutritious, healthy, clean food for my family. I got hooked on organic gardening, and from there, it was a natural leap to chickens, ducks, goats, pigs, bees, cows, sheep… Beyond food, I consider homesteading a mindset that says, “we can produce what we need,” and my family has embraced that mindset by producing our own energy (with solar panels), heating with wood from our land, building our own home, and educating our kids here on the homestead. Being a homesteader is a lifelong adventure full of learning and doing, and the best part is that there is ALWAYS more to learn and do!
Laurie – Common Sense Homestead
“Some people choose to raise their own food or use home remedies to avoid questionable commercial products. Other focus on taking steps to stock up on food or prepare for everyday emergencies for peace of mind. Some enjoy the challenge of learning new skills and getting more exercise and time outside. For us it’s a mix of all of the above.”
Justin – Abundant Permaculture
“Homesteading is freedom from the grocery store, financial freedom, and freedom to live a healthy lifestyle.”
Danelle – Weed ‘Em And Reap
“Homesteading for us is the joy of being able to walk outside our back door and gather eggs, milk, and fresh fruits & veggies from the garden. Each year, as our bounty gets larger and our mistakes become fewer, we find that this journey has been worth it. No matter how difficult, homesteading is everything to us.”
What is Homesteading to Me?
Homesteading is, when I boil it down, just the most authentic way I could live.
There’s joy everyday in the things we do to provide for ourselves and there’s joy in watching our children learn these skills and grow up with homesteading as normal life. Feeding chickens, collecting eggs, harvesting carrots.
There’s even joy in having to run outside at dusk to cover the seedlings, or having to go out in a snow storm to feed the chickens. It’s not all easy, or even fun. But at the end of the day, it’s satisfying.
We don’t own land or a home. We don’t have the things that many others do. What we do have is the skills to provide for at least some of what we need and that creates a lot of freedom and security for our family.
Another thing about homesteading that I often forget about (because it’s just normal to me) is that we have the opportunity to eat healthy food and stay healthy naturally because of what we do for ourselves. That’s huge! We would not be able to afford it if we had to buy our food.
Why is Homesteading Important Today?
Of course, those of us who do it love it but how does it affect the rest of the world?
Well, homesteading is a way of living that reduces waste and works with nature instead of against it. Homesteaders look for solutions that will help us to live in harmony with mother earth. On the other side of the coin is the high consumption, low production of our society.
Everywhere you look you see messages to go out and buy, buy, buy. Things will make you happy! (Um, no, they won’t.) The more self sufficient people become, the less they have to rely on a system that is designed to keep them enslaved, in debt, and reliant on someone else.
Just breaking our reliance on oil could potentially change the world.
Helps the Environment
Of course, reducing waste and consumption can improve our environment, but getting rid of toxic pesticides and fertilizers can make a huge difference too.
This point should probably be “helps the human race survive” though, because in all seriousness the earth will probably be just fine, it’s the human species that may not fair well if we don’t take care of the environment.
Luckily there are lots of ways to work with nature to repel pests, keep weeds in line and grow food for the entire population.
Makes Healthy Living Attainable to Anyone
Healthy food and herbal remedies are expensive. If we all had to buy them, only the rich would be able to afford it. But if we grow our own, we are all able to improve our families’ health.
Being healthy shouldn’t just be only available to the rich.
The universe gave us this abundant planet for our survival and it’s pretty good at providing what we need if we treat it right.
Now, I may be biased, but I think homesteading is the answer to many of today’s problems. If homesteading can reduce consumption and waste, can improve the health of the environment and can improve our health too, why couldn’t it solve some of our problems, like increasing disease, famine, poverty, and pollution? I think it can.
What Can You Do to Start Homesteading?
I’ve answered the question what is homesteading but have I convinced you to join the homesteading movement yet? Yes? Great! Here are some ways to get started:
Do What You Can Where You Are
Even if you are living in a rental but dream of acreage. What can you do right now? Start cooking or preserving. Grow some balcony tomatoes. Get some compost worms. There are a million things you can do right now, right where you are.
Become a Life Long Learner
I know not a single homesteader who will tell you they know it all. We are all always learning. You learn and you learn until one day you realize you know enough about a subject to start teaching it!
Take it One Step at a Time
Don’t just quit your job, buy a farm and load up on animals. That’s a recipe for disaster and burnout. Start small and get a handle on what you’re doing. Then add something new when you can.
Write Down Your Goals; Plan and Execute
Some of us are planners and some of us are doers. But if we can marry the two, create a great plan AND execute it, we can’t fail.
What Do You Think? What is Homesteading to You?
I love this post so much! I agree that homesteading is the solution and I’ve said that more than once! We started homesteading for a variety of reasons. We wanted to provide our 6 children with the slow-paced, self-sufficient lifestyle we had grown up with. Some of my fondest memories as a child were helping my Nana knead dough for homemade bread, snap fresh beans for dinner, and help her home-can enough food to feed all of her children and grandchildren. I wanted to just give a little of that to my own children.
That sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing :)
Amanda van Niekerk says
I live in Johannesburg South Africa and I practice homesteading of sorts! Love my veggie garden and make most of my own cleaning and grooming products. What a lovely post..Thank you. Encouraging and informative.
Hi, must i own the land for homesteading? can we just do it, in any vacant land and ask the govt later? or what office of the local govt i could best ask for a available vacant land? thanks.
You can’t just homestead on land you don’t have permission to use but you can rent/lease land. I’d go to your town or city government and as them.