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Who Are the Homesteaders?

girl eating garden plantSo you might be wondering what kind of person decides to get back to the land and shoulder their own food responsibilities.

In a historical sense, the term was originally used for those tough pioneers who first came to settle the western United States. They were taking advantage of the government’s Homestead Act of 1862 where 160 acres of land would be freely given to anyone who applied for a parcel, built a home on it, improved the land, and farmed there for 5 years. These were the first homesteaders, and they knew how to grow and produce nearly everything they needed.

Today, the term has been revived to mean anyone who takes up the same lifestyle, though many modern homesteaders aren’t forced to start out on a huge and empty tract of land.

In some ways, modern-day homesteaders have a lot in common with the “hippie” movement of the 1970s. People who have gotten tired of a mainstream lifestyle filled with unhealthy processed foods and poorly made manufactured goods. These are people who want to be more responsible for their lives, and in control of their surroundings. They put higher value on sustainability and quality, as opposed to quantity (and convenience).

Another facet of homesteading is the desire for more space and privacy. Modern subdivisions are usually constructed of closely spaced houses that all look the same and there is very little freedom to use your house and property as you wish. The thought of driving by multiple strip shopping centers whenever they go anywhere is enough to convince some people that they would prefer a more rural setting.farm with solar panels

Sometimes it’€™s just the whole idea of bucking the system and forging your own path even when everyone around you is heading another direction. The sense of rebellion is a bit appealing all on its own, not to mention that as a homesteader you can provide nearly everything you need. Knowing that you can provide for yourself and your family, even in times of economic downturns and upheaval, is reassuring.

Many homesteaders have fond memories of some point in their life when they spent time on a farm, or even just enjoyed the stories told by an older family member that lived in another era. These nostalgic feelings can gently nudge someone to want the same things for themselves and their families. Some folks have no past connection to farm-living whatsoever. And yet, they still feel the drawn to this lifestyle.

People who homestead are often concerned about the environment, and are trying to reduce their personal impact on the Earth by using more sustainable and natural methods to produce food and other products for their home. Many people do it as a way to save money by growing and canning their own food for personal use, and even to sell at farmer’€™s markets as an extra income stream. Some homesteaders are just creative people who get a lot of enjoyment working with their hands and prefer to make things on their own instead of buying.

And yet others have a rather different viewpoint on why they homestead. These are the “preppers” and they are concerned with being prepared for any potential situation. By having their own supplies of food, water, and fuel, they can be ready for anything on their homestead just in case these things are no longer available from the outside. Not all preppers and survivalists choose to homestead but this is one way to create a self-sustaining life for yourself that would stand against disaster, and not rely on the government or outside sources for food, water, and energy.

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Homesteading 101

Table of Contents Who Are the Homesteaders?  Perception vs Truth of Homesteading Why Homestead? Forming an Action Plan  Choosing Your Homestead Land  Sources of Water on the Homestead  Types of Energy Sources Types of Alternative Energy Food on the Homestead  How to Preserve Food Communications on a Homestead What is
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Who Are the Homesteaders?

So you might be wondering what kind of person decides to get back to the land and shoulder their own food responsibilities. In a historical sense, the term was originally used for those tough pioneers who first came to settle the western United States. They were taking advantage of the
Read More

Perception vs.Truth of Homesteading

Because many people today live a "city" life before starting to homestead, they really don't have too much personal experience with it before they begin. That means they are making choices based on a lot of preconceived notions that may not be too accurate in reality. Hearing stories from older
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Why Homestead? Considerations for Homesteading

Making the Decision This should be your first consideration. Why are you even thinking about getting into homesteading to begin with? Be honest with yourself when figuring this out. Are you looking for a slower-paced lifestyle, a way to be more environmentally-friendly, or perhaps a way to take more control
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How to Form an Action Plan

How to Form an Action Plan So you've been doing your research and have been looking into all the areas that you think you need to know about before getting out onto your own homestead. But have you forgotten anything? Here is a summarized list of all the areas you
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Choosing Your Homestead Land

Choosing Your Land There is nothing as important to a homestead as its land. If you are shopping for that perfect homestead parcel, make sure you take the time to do your research and think about all the variables before you buy. Other than pulling up stakes and moving, you
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Sources of Water on the Homestead

Water on the Homestead Land is very important for a new homestead, but so is water. You are going to need sources of water for your own family (drinking, bathing, etc.) and also to keep your garden growing and for any livestock animals. This is definitely not a minor detail
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Food on the Homestead

Food on the Homestead A huge part of homesteading is the production of your own food. There is a real primal sense of accomplishment to produce the food you eat, not to mention the fact that it is going to be healthier and tastier than anything you'll get at the
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How to Preserve Food

Preserving Your Harvest So once you've embarked on your homestead garden, you need to have some sort of plan to handle the bushels of produce you're going to have come harvest time. That's assuming your garden is large enough to produce more than your family will use up right away.
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Types of Energy Sources on a Homestead

Have Energy on Hand You're going to need energy to run your homestead, but that can come from a number of different sources. Though alternative energy sources are big with homesteaders (especially the more remote ones), this article is going to cover the more conventional types of energy sources. Most
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Types of Alternative Energy on a Homestead

Alternative Energy Sources One of the great things about launching a homestead is that you can strike out in new directions. Turning to various types of alternative energy is one area that has greatly increased in popularity. A big reason for the appeal is that these renewable energy sources fit
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Communications on a Homestead

Homestead Communications It's not talked about as often as gardening or water supplies, but managing your communications on a homestead can be a vital issue. Communications infrastructure can be poor in some rural areas so be prepared to down-grade your expectations a bit. Standard phone lines aren't usually a problem,
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