Some people want to move away from the country and get a taste of city life. However, there are number of city folk who would love to do the complete opposite. Not only are they hoping to leave the bustling city where the dollar runs the show, they also want to find ways to provide for themselves though hard work on the land. They are interested in what it takes to provide for themselves without having to depend on a consumer based society, where most food and supplies are imported. Modern homesteading would be the term to use when describing any type of family unit trying to live a self sufficient lifestyle, to live sustainably and go back to the roots of what it really means to be human and live as one with the Earth. Interestingly, this modern homestead concept has taken off in cities too, via the ‘urban farmer’ or the ‘urban homesteader’ where more self-sufficient living is the goal. Know that you don’t have to give up all of modern life to be a modern homesteader.
True self sufficiency means that you can provide for yourself your own food and water and be able to run your home off of renewable energy like wind or solar power. Some people who claim to be modern homesteaders still have paying jobs within society and pay utility bills, however they try to live as sustainably as possible within their means. This is a great start, and should be commended, however true modern homesteading would be living off-the grid, so to speak.
It is really a personal choice how a homesteader chooses to provide for themselves and their family. They can raise crops or livestock or both. They can choose to sell their produce or keep it all for themselves. Some homesteaders will focus only on making jam to sell, some will make butter, while others will sell eggs and milk or make clothes with wool or other craft ideas. The possibilities are literally endless when it comes to what plants and animals will be used on the homestead.
It’s a myth to think that as a homesteader, you have to do everything yourself. Trading, sharing skills and knowledge with others is a great way to form community and provide for yourself, with the help of your community. Even early homesteaders traded within their community to meet all of their needs. Yet, food, water, shelter should be the staples covered by any homesteader.
However when it comes to providing water and electricity there are only a few options available for the homesteader. If you are fortunate enough to buy a historical homestead there may already be water wells and an irrigation system in place. If not you may want to hire some well drillers or learn to catch and use rain water for most of your needs. Having wells also involves using water lines and pumps, so it is a must that you become as informed as possible with this process before even attempting to drill a well.
Solar and wind energy are the two main sources of renewable energy used on a homestead although there are other options to consider. New alternative electrical generators made with magnets are becoming more popular. They literally provide free energy and if made well enough, will last a lifetime. Fuels to power farm equipment can also be with made from natural resources. Biodiesel and ethanol are known as renewable fuels.
So if you want to live off the grid, be more self sufficient, live a sustainable and healthier lifestyle for yourself and the planet, then homesteading may be the right path for you. Check out some of the modern homesteaders in action among your neighborhood or town. Ask questions and build community of people who are regaining valuable skills lost among previous generations.