Are you thinking about leaving the modern lifestyle and making your life for your family a bit more simple? If so, you’re not alone!
Younger generations have had a calling to go back to the basics and start their homesteading journey. Modern life and technology have taken over society. Urban areas continue to grow, and the hustle and bustle of daily life can make anyone worn out.
Maybe you’ve been inspired by homesteading friends or even a social media account dedicated to the homestead lifestyle. If you’ve felt a recent urge to go back to basics, there’s no better time than now to start. It can feel overwhelming, and it will take time to get into the groove of your new life, but it’s all worth it in the end to accomplish your dreams of a more simple, sustainable and healthy lifestyle for you and your family.
Here’s what you need to know about starting a homestead.
What Is a Homestead?
You might think of a homestead as a farm way out in the middle of nowhere. While that’s undoubtedly the picture modern society paints, there are varying levels of homesteading. A homestead may mean one thing to you but something entirely different for someone else, and that’s okay!
In a broader sense, though, homesteading is all about living a sustainable lifestyle. This usually means owning your own land and being responsible for small-scale farming operations so you can be self-sufficient and limit your reliance on the grid. You can be an urban homesteader by practicing sustainable living, or you can purchase land in a rural area and live off the grid.
Consider How Self-Sustaining You Want to Be
The first thing you should know about homesteading is how self-sufficient you want to be. Consider the daily activities that accompany homesteading, like taking care of livestock, crops, sourcing water and checking your renewable energy supply. Do you want to be 100% reliant on yourself, or will you still seek the grid for some resources? Start gathering tools
Set Your Homesteading Goals
Next, you should set homesteading goals for your family. How much food do you want to raise? Do you want to reduce the emissions of your family? Are you going to raise livestock and grow produce? Are you planning on living elsewhere? How will you earn an income? What tools do you need to acquire? These goals can be big-picture at first, and then you can break them down into smaller goals.
Begin by Simplifying Your Life and Starting Small
Once you’ve set your goals, you can begin simplifying your life. If you already have a property for your homestead, then great! If you’re making this lifestyle a full-time job, you need room for your family and all of your survival needs. Start paying off debts, selling materialistic items and being more sustainable. You can do this by reducing, reusing and recycling, primarily through practices like composting and mending your clothes.
Understand Your Food Needs
How much food do you need for your family for a year? Homesteading almost always involves producing your own food. The first year of homesteading will take some trial and error with starting your own garden. Research the produce that grows best in your region, and be sure only to grow things your family will consume. Otherwise, what you produce will go to waste. There are many types of gardening, too, but you have the freedom to choose what works best for you.
Decide If You Want to Raise Animals
Some homesteaders will raise animals in addition to growing produce. Many homesteaders start with a flock of chickens, rabbits and maybe a goat or two. These animals need less room to roam and are easier to care for than larger livestock. As you get into your homesteading journey, though, you might consider adding cows for milk. Again, start small with a few chickens, which can act as pest control and give you manure for your garden!
Learn How to Preserve Food
Once you grow your food, you’ll need to preserve it so it lasts in the months where you cannot grow food, like in the winter if you live in a colder climate. Being able to grow food is one thing, but being able to preserve it ensures your independence. You might consider canning your fruits and vegetables, which allows you to stockpile them. You could also invest in a freezer that is run on renewable resources to store your meat.
Journal Your Process
As you go through the process of starting your homestead, be sure to journal every detail. Write down gardening methods, what you planted, how much food you produced, how many eggs you collected and so on. This will help you reach your goals, and you can look back on how far you have come. Homesteading isn’t always easy, and it will take time to learn what works best for your family.
Connect with Other Homesteaders
Finally, connect with other homesteaders. Many homesteaders have begun sharing their journeys using social media. Become part of an online community or find people in your neighborhood who homestead as well. You can learn a lot from each other, and they’ll be there to support you. If you ever have any questions, they’ve likely been there and can support and help you along the way.
Goodbye to Modernity, and Hello to Homesteading
These are some of the basic things you need to know about homesteading. It’s best to do your research to understand everything, but this is a great place to start!
Photo by Eugene Golovesov from Pexels