Are you wondering how to become a homesteader? Learn how you can embrace a homesteading lifestyle no matter where you live.
What is Homesteading?
There is a movement spreading across the nation. It’s growing in popularity as well as in urgency. It speaks to the souls of those who value self-sufficiency and simple living. Those souls who have an idyllic vision of their children running barefoot in green pastures, drinking fresh milk from their dairy cow, eating wholesome meals at the farmhouse table, and hanging white sheets on the clothesline to dry in the sunshine and sweet, grass-scented breeze. Does this ring true with you too? If so, you may be wondering how to become a homesteader. What exactly is homesteading, and what qualifies someone as a homesteader? Do you need to have acreage, a barn, livestock, chickens, a large garden, make your own cheese, preserve all your own food and live off the grid?
The answer is NO! Pure and simple, homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. And that, my friends, is something anyone can aspire to. It’s not an END GOAL. It’s just a WAY OF LIVING. And you get to decide how deeply you want to delve into that lifestyle.
Tips on How to Become a Homesteader
- Delving into the homesteader lifestyle can seem very overwhelming. There is so much to do and learn. But that’s also really exciting! You get to grow, evolve, and continually improve yourself and your self-reliance. You will be better able to care for yourself and your family, friends and neighbors.
- Don’t jump in all at once! Start by getting your feet wet. Choose one area you want to concentrate on and then choose one skill from that area.
- Remember, you can have a homesteading mindset no matter where you live.
- The way to learn a new skill is by finding good resources. Check the Internet and the library for information specific to the skill you are focusing on, then research all you can to set yourself up for success.
- Practice, practice, practice! You won’t learn to do something well the first time you try, so you’ve got to keep developing your skills through using and refining them.
Where do you even start? I’ve broken down homesteading into several areas. Within those areas, I’ve listed various skills that you can focus on developing. This isn’t an all-encompassing list. It’s more of a starting place. You will naturally branch out to other skills and areas of expertise as you figure out what sparks joy and excitement in you.
Areas of Homesteading
Cooking from Scratch
- Make a sourdough starter, then use it to bake bread
- Store, mill, and bake with whole grains
- Eliminating processed foods from your home
- Organize your pantry & stay stocked on essentials
- Source local foods such as grass fed meat, free-range eggs, and organic fruits & veggies
- Learn how to meal plan with food from your pantry, freezer, and garden or farmers market
- Use old-fashioned tools and methods of cooking such as cast iron cookware, Dutch ovens, wooden spoons, rolling pins, and fermentation crocks
- Make homemade yogurt and cheese
- Make your own bone broth for use in soups, stews and more
- Learn to cook grass-fed beef, pork and poultry
Growing Your Own Food
- Grow something right now. Buy a live basil plant at the grocery store and put it on your windowsill. If it’s warm enough outside, buy a pot and soil and start container gardening. Clear a plot of land in your backyard. Join a community garden in your area if you don’t have a yard for gardening.
- Learn to grow microgreens. These are grown indoors and will be ready for eating within 7-30 days depending on the variety. They are nutrient dense, so adding even small amounts to salads, soups, and sandwiches is beneficial to your health.
- Make a garden plan. If you’ve dabbled in gardening but don’t feel confident yet, make a plan of what you will grow this year. What plants grew well for you in the past? Add those to your plan first. Now, choose a few new plants to experiment with. The key is to start small so you don’t overwhelm yourself trying to learn about each plant’s needs and keep up on weeding and harvesting. If you’re brand new to gardening, start with no-fail crops like zucchini and tomatoes.
- Start composting either small scale or large scale, depending on your situation. You’ll be able to turn your kitchen scraps into nutrient-dense compost to enrich your soil.
- Once you’ve gotten the hang of summer gardening, try planting fall and spring gardens as well.
- Start your own seeds indoors with grow lights. This saves money and can give you a head start on your growing season as well.
- Plant fruit trees. Do a little research to figure out what varieties do best in your area and which ones to avoid. Fruit can be used for canning (hello applesauce and sliced peaches!), dehydrating (fruit leathers are my favorite), juice making (apple cider!), and of course to eat fresh and bake into all sorts of delicious treats.
- Grow your favorite berries. Berries are relatively easy to grow and will supply you with fruit year after year. They’re easy to freeze for smoothies and desserts, as well as to make into jams and jellies.
- Get backyard chickens. Once your chickens are mature, they can supply you with approximately one egg per day, depending on their breed and the time of year. That’s a good amount of eggs!
- If you’re able to have larger animals where you live, consider getting a goat or a milk cow. Can you imagine not having to go to the store to purchase milk, yogurt, butter and even cheese?
- For those who are super adventurous, grow some meat! You can raise meat rabbits, chickens, beef cattle, pigs, lamb, etc.
Saving (Preserving) Food
- Freezing/Vacuum Sealing – When you have more veggies than you can possibly eat before they go bad, chop them up and freeze them for use in soups or side dishes.
- Dehydrating – You don’t need a fancy dehydrator. Did you know you can dehydrate herbs using your microwave or hanging them out to dry? You can also dehydrate fruits and veggies in the oven.
- Water bath Canning – In my opinion, this is the simplest way to can. My favorite things to can in the water bath are Garden Salsa, Low-Sugar Jam, and Low-Sugar peaches.
- Pressure Canning
- Practice the old adage “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
- Make a budget and stick to it, even when you’re tempted to overspend
- Make a plan to get (or stay) out of debt so you can be self-sufficient
- Barter with your friends and neighbors for goods and services
- Split the cost of tools and equipment with a friend/family/neighbor and take turns using it
- Buy large ticket items second hand (Ex: furniture or homestead equipment)
- Save up for well-made items that will last much longer than something cheap
- Before you buy something, see if you can make it yourself from what you already have or borrow it from someone instead
- Save money and electricity by hanging your clothes to dry on a clothesline
- Increase your food security by building at least a 3 month supply of nonperishable food that you eat on a regular basis
- Learn how to patch and mend your clothing
- If you can’t produce your own food in your current situation, look for local farmers to buy from instead of relying solely on the grocery store.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas to jump start your adventure into homesteading! If you have any questions or there’s anything I can help you with, please reach out and message me on Instagram or Facebook.