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The Rise of Homesteading: Self Reliance and Sustainability

  • 7 min read

Many people are attracted to the idea of taking food production and sourcing into their own hands with gardening, finding ways to live more sustainably, and focusing on reconnecting with the earth around them. Homesteading, a lifestyle that is skyrocketing in popularity, emphasizes these same pillars and provides a “back to basics” way of life.

Understanding Homesteading’s Rise in Popularity

America was once a country built on farming, agriculture, and local living, but through years of industrialization and a massive focus on achieving and obtaining material items as part of the American Dream, people lost sight of what once was. Today, many Americans are suffering from crippling stress, can’t afford their lifestyles, and are seeing the dangers of behavior-driven climate change.

With the national debt hovering above $20 trillion, the global temperature rising faster than any other 50-year period in the last 2,000 years, and 35% of Americans facing debt collection, people are starting to re-examine their lifestyles. It’s clear the push for more things, more money, and more convenience hasn’t served us as a nation. Homesteading is a surrender, an agreement to get back to basics in an effort to recover.

Homesteading is a personal journey, serving everyone who tries it in different ways, though homesteading households seem to reconnect with the earth, find fulfillment in life’s simplicity, and make an effort to live more intentionally. Some of the most recognized benefits of homesteading are the unique sense of community, a focus on holistic health, and an emphasis on sustainability.

Sense of Community

While some modern-day homesteads consist of multiple families living and working together, homesteads with just a singular family can also be a great way to build a sense of community within that family. Working together, learning together, and reconnecting with yourselves can have a major impact on how your family connects and coexists with one another.

Homesteading is a great way to raise kids because of the focus on sustainability and health, teaching them important values that are often skipped in the capitalistic society we live in. Even if you decide to start incorporating homesteading practices little by little, you’ll be shocked at learning how to garden, cook, save rainwater, and sew can bring you closer to your family in ways you never even considered. It’s the practice of learning a new skill together but amplified. Instead of thinking of homesteading as an overwhelming endeavor, think of it as an adventure that you get to embark on with the people you love most.

Centered Around Health

Taking your food supply into your own hands will greatly increase the level of nutrients you’re ingesting, decrease the amount of chemicals and toxins that make it into your meals, and change the way you envision “health.” Homesteading helps develop a connection between how food makes it to the table and all the labor and love that goes into it when done yourself. Not only can this be transformative for your physical health, but homesteading has tons of benefits for your mental health as well.

With more time in the sunshine, your body can get Vitamin D, which is a common source of vitamin deficiency for people all over the world. It is also proven that more time in nature can increase the levels of serotonin in your brain, lowering the levels of stress hormones in your body, and ultimately leading to a healthier heart.

Sustainable Practices

It’s up to each homesteader what types of sustainability they plan on incorporating. For instance, some may try to go zero waste, others may focus on composting, while a different homestead may choose to install solar panels and reduce their energy consumption. Doing small things and big things that contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle has an impact on this planet. It seems that because homesteaders learn to have a symbiotic relationship with Earth, they begin to respect it for what it provides and aim to preserve it as much as possible.

Sustainability is great for the earth and can be great for your family. Switching from toxic cleaning products to natural approaches will lessen the toxins that make it into your body, begin to rid your life of pesky microplastics, and keep your animals safer. If humans take just one moment to stop and see the impact our actions have on the planet and our own wellbeing, we’d all be inspired to incorporate sustainable practices into our lives.

Starting a Homestead

When people first hear about homesteading, they’ll often have reactions such as, “Oh, I could never do that!” or “Where do you even start?” but in reality, it’s not that complex. Homesteading doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor, you can do it little by little, adopting new ways of operating your home that are more aligned with your values. Here are a few tips to get started:

1) Give Yourself Ample Outdoor Space to Work With

This is flexible, but if you’re looking for a new area of land to start homesteading, you’ll probably want to find as much acreage as you can manage. Remember, your homesteading might take up more land as you develop it over the years. If you don’t want to uproot your family, dedicate an area of your backyard to a garden, planting produce that you’re excited about.

2) Involve the Whole Family

If you have little kids or a partner, one of the best ways to ensure your homestead adventure is a success is to get everyone excited about it. Sure, your kids might not be excited about weeding or feeding animals, but you can get them excited about watching plants grow, bonding with animals, and learning about how they’re helping the earth!

3) Invest in Your Project

It might take a bit of time and money to get things up and running, even if you do start slowly. One of the best additions to a homestead is a geodesic dome from Ekodome. With different sizes and price points, you can get a small dome that is perfect to use as a greenhouse, or get a bigger dome to convert into your family home! Don’t be afraid to spend a bit of money when you start out in order to make homesteading work better for your situation.

Try it Out!

Homesteading is a popular way of life; with social media making it easy to access tips, tricks, and other homesteaders who are further along on their journey, homesteading is more accessible than ever. Once you get started, you’ll realize it’s the simplification of life that makes it so powerful. More time in nature, more memories with the ones you love, more bites of food that you feel proud of, and practices that will stay with you forever.