How to Start a Homestead
Many think homesteading is the same as being a full-time farmer: it requires a good amount of land and has to be rural. But these aren’t necessarily the requirements. Self-sufficiency is at the core of what it means to be a homesteader!
What is a Homestead
The most common homestead type is a piece of land and a building owned by its inhabitants, with a small-scale farming operation. Typically, homesteading exists in farmland and forests away from the city, but urban homesteading exists too. What truly defines homesteading is the lifestyle, not the location.
So what does this lifestyle look like exactly?
Seeing that the pretense is self-sufficiency, there are many things a true homesteader will participate in. Self-reliance isn’t necessarily living off the grid completely, but it is akin to that.
Homesteading isn’t typically done alone. Either a family or a group embarks on this journey together. They will be well-versed in things like horticulture, keeping livestock, and fermentation and preservation methods.
Not only do these practices often provide for the homesteaders themselves, but they can be used to sell goods or trade with others living a self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle.
Where the term originates from…
Benefits of homesteading
Homesteading versus a hobby farm?
A hobby farm is little bit lower commitment. Your lifestyle doesn't depend on its success. This can be a good endeavor to explore the potential benefits and viability of a future as a homesteader.
How to start:
It would be somewhat extreme to just up and go to the country like the Beverly Hillbillies with all your possessions, though some do. Take small steps first and ensure the life of a farmer and a do-it-yourself-er is suitable for you and your family.
Here are a couple of ways to do that:
Start with a backyard garden
Raise some easy-to-handle livestock
Always check zoning restrictions regarding owning any livestock.
Start taking on some projects around the house.
Start embracing a minimalist mindset: using only what you need to avoid purchasing items and reusing the things you must is the core of a homesteader's lifestyle and is the only practical way to live self-sufficiency.
Start with some fermentation and pickling processes.
Once the idea becomes a little more comfortable, look into the reality of life a little more off the grid.
Here are some topics of interest:
- Become familiar with the water system and water harvesting during wet months
- Solar power and the complications that come with that
- Battery banks
- Reliance on generators
- Dehydrating and smoking
Immersion before the event. Taking time to study, watch Youtube homestead videos, and fully understand what the lifestyle entails is crucial to making an excellent honest start. Also, if you’re working towards something with a partner, make sure you have similar visions of what the process looks like and the eventual outcome. There will be plenty of unforeseen challenges presented in the process, but doing some preventative damage control is never a bad idea.
Now that you’re familiar with some of the responsibilities associated with homesteading, here are some steps to get started:
Choose a place
Set some goals. If purchasing a property with room to grow and raise livestock is far from reach, start with some of the homestead practices where you are now.
Set a budget: you may have discovered that the transition to a homestead life isn’t something you can go ahead and do because of finances. Knowing approximately how much you’ll need to start and sustain your homestead is vital to its success.
Any cost for building usually takes longer and costs more than anticipated, even if you’re doing the work yourself. Make sure to plan for things being a little more challenging than expected.
Start getting rid of the extras now
If you’ve got a garage and closet full of things that don’t necessarily fit into your simplified and more modest existence, then set shorter goals to begin the minimization process.
This doesn’t just go for stuff, too; half of the minimization process is a simplification. Fewer trips to the store and other errands is a life you might need to get used to in your busier, potentially more rural lifestyle.
Befriend other homesteaders
Like all new endeavors, having a community can help tremendously. New friends who are doing what you want to be doing can motivate you and give you invaluable insight.