Homesteading is a popular term that originated in the 19th century. People who were encouraged to move west and cultivate undeveloped land were called homesteaders.
Yet, the concepts underlying this term have been prevalent since ancient times. These ideas are prevalent in western and eastern art, as homesteading is nothing more than a lifestyle of self-sufficiency.
Of course, what constitutes self-sufficiency has changed over time.
In this article, four aspects of modern homesteading are examined in greater depth. Towards the end of the article, some final thoughts about this lifestyle are discussed.
4 Things to Know About Homesteading
In this section, four important things about this lifestyle are discussed.
1. Homesteading Can Take Many Forms
This lifestyle doesn’t have strict limits. It’s not exclusive or hard to adopt. Homesteading can take many forms, from small actions practiced on a daily basis to decade-long pursuits.
Many people experience fear when they first learn about a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. They conceive of it in binary terms, as if you either follow one or you don’t. This is an illusion. This lifestyle exists on a spectrum. All people practice it on some level, as to exist is to be self-sufficient in some sense.
Even babies are homesteaders in a sense, as they explore the world around them with an unrivaled curiosity. They feel their environment, crawl on the dirt, smell the earth. They probe and wonder. They are seeking information in order to eventually create a lifestyle of self-reliance, freedom, and fulfillment.
These are the core tenets of homesteading. As you mature, society encourages you to develop into a particular kind of homesteader. You are pushed into various roles that provide you with something valuable in exchange. You use this value in order to create a sustainable life. When your life becomes unsustainable, unmanageable, and out of control, you are given a stigmatized label.
Society tries to control the kind of homesteaders that its civilians become. One of the biggest aspects of modern homesteading is to resist this influence, to make your lifestyle a function of your own creativity and ideals.
This often entails disconnecting yourself from many of the goods and services offered by the consumer economy. It also means becoming self-sufficient with regards to your food supply.
This is something you can work towards over the course of a life. Yet, it can also be accomplished overnight by a simple shift in thinking.
2. Homesteading Should Focus On Food
The main focus of this lifestyle should be food production. Without a stable, sustainably-sourced, ethically-sourced food supply, all forms of homesteading will ultimately fail.
Your body needs fuel to even practice the ideals of this lifestyle. Yet, relying on modern grocery stores and supermarkets can negatively impact your health and lead to over-dependence on something external. The key to this lifestyle is to become as independent as possible, in control of as many of your needs and desires as possible.
Many visionary homesteaders think true self-sufficiency is only possible when humans shift to a plant-based diet. Growing plants is much more sustainable than raising animals for slaughter, not to mention more ethical.
Many modern homesteaders are realizing the importance of the mind when it comes to practicing a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. If you are not in control of your thoughts, then you can only peripherally adopt a lifestyle of independence.
This applies to food because you must also digest the ideas associated with your food. If you consume an excessive amount of animal products, then the associated ideas might be difficult to stomach. This depends on each person, of course. Some people are better able to handle notions of violence and cruelty than others. Others need a greater amount of peace and gentle compassion for balance.
At the end of the day, many homesteaders work to control everything they put in their body, as they realize they are exactly what they eat. This leads many of them to buy property and initiate their own food production systems. Many modern homesteaders are adept farmers able to connect with the land and manifest an abundance of healing, nutritious food.
Some modern homesteaders eat animal products, though many prefer to raise or kill the animal on their own. Yet, this isn’t necessary to identify with the lifestyle. Simply making an effort to be more sustainable is what matters. This could be as simple as buying wild-caught fish from the market or as extreme as fishing for your own food each day and then cooking it in a solar-powered oven.
Many experts agree that the future of this lifestyle lies in more efficient and nonviolent forms of agriculture. This means fruit production because fruit is easy to produce and doesn't result to inflicting cruelty on animals or killing them. It’s also calorically dense, nutritious, and delicious, making it sustainable to eat as your primary food source.
3. Homesteading Should Focus On Art
Many homesteaders forget that this lifestyle should focus on art and creativity.
At its core, agriculture is an art that requires considerable talent. Yet, everyone is naturally endowed with this skill due to evolution. This is hard to see in modern society. You are often inundated with so many possible food sources that planting your food doesn't even enter into the picture. Everything seems to be right at your fingertips. To experience this, just walk down several aisles of a grocery store.
But, if you remove this abundance, your inner primitive will emerge. Stripped of fuel, you will feel more creative than ever, as your life will literally depend on it.
In this sense, many modern homesteaders focus on creativity connected with agriculture and food. This entails everything from creating bowls, plates, and silverware to creating culinary works of art to be consumed. Many homesteaders are budding chefs exploring new realms of taste and texture using only raw foods. Their creativity not only stems from the appearance and experience of the meal but also how the food was grown.
As technology has advanced in recent years, some homesteaders are embracing new forms of art. This includes filmmaking, photography, animation, and computer programming.
These arts are practiced with the theme of self-sufficiency in mind. Some homesteaders might try to make their own artistic equipment such as brushes or paint. Others might create art that addresses homesteading topics like leave no trace or permaculture.
Many homesteaders are adamant that self-sufficiency stems from a place of self-satisfaction and self-love. This can only be accomplished when your creativity is flowing outwards rather than collapsing inwards. When unexpressed, creativity can lead to all kinds of problems that impact your health.
In this sense, homesteaders are focused on creativity as an element of health. Without proper health, you are not living a self-sufficient lifestyle. The basic need for health must first be met. However, many homesteaders are passionate that it should come from a place of independence rather than relying on something external like a hospital, product, or organization.
4. Homesteading Should Emphasize Natural Resources
Many homesteaders realize that humans rely on nonrenewable resources like oil and coal. This is not a sustainable attachment, as excessive use of nonrenewable resources contributes greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. This could lead to global warming and the eventual extinction of the human species.
In this sense, many homesteaders are focused on using renewable resources like solar energy and wind energy. These are much more sustainable and help preserve the beauty of the planet.
Many homesteaders install solar panels on their housing structures. Many homesteaders purchase environmentally conscious products like electric cars and avoid products that are packaged in non-recyclable materials.
Final Thoughts on Homesteading
This lifestyle offers an alternative to many modern forms of living.
Instead of relying on others to fulfill your needs and desires, this lifestyle is about controlling this fulfillment on your own terms as much as possible.
This might be difficult to adopt on a large scale at first. For some people, slowly embracing these ideals is adequate. This might entail eating more of a certain type of food or spending less money on a particular good.
Eventually, you might want to focus on purity, which could entail owning your own land, growing your own food, and producing all of your means of entertainment.
While society might have taught you otherwise, it’s perfectly possible to be happy, free, and fulfilled all on your own terms. You don’t have to rely on something or someone external to yourself.