Homesteading has taken to the streets! From the rural, gravel road to Main Street, USA, people from all walks of life are discovering the joys and benefits of homesteading.
Getting back to our roots is being pursued by all walks of life. Corporate CEO’s are leaving the grind to be farmers and regain their sanity. Suburbanites (like ourselves) want a slower pace and some room to raise children, as well as livestock. There are urban folks, who love the city life and are finding that their city councils are much more permissive that they ever imagined, as they raise their own food and small livestock.
Regardless of where and how you homestead, I’ve noticed that there are a few common traits among us.
Desire for independence: Many that homestead have the urge for some sort of independence. It could be independence from a 9-5 job, or freedom from a dead-end career. Perhaps they desire independence from the grocery store, or at least want to produce enough to supplement their intake.
If it were possible in one lifetime, I would choose to be independent from the grid, grocery store and workforce. I say ‘possible in one lifetime’ because the longer I research homesteading, I doubt that it can all be done in one generation. However, I plan to set the stage, in terms of training and inspiration, for future generations of my family. My dad got me started, it’s my turn to pass it on.
Distaste for debt: Most homesteaders that I know and read about absolutely hate debt. They may still carry some debt, but they have every intention of paying it off sooner than later. The homesteader mentality is into production, not consumption. Consuming creates debt.
There are times that it is wise to incur short-term debt for equipment and perhaps a mortgage for your dream property. Having a way to pay it off without over-extending yourself, however, is paramount to the survival of your homestead dream.
Creative: Homesteading doesn’t come with a manual that applies to everyone, I’m afraid. The principles can be taught, the modalities can be learned, but how it all applies to your life and homestead is something that you must discover for yourself.
I do not consider myself to be particularly creative, yet I find myself having to think up ways to make things work, often times on the fly. This is creativity. All homesteaders benefit from being creative and are much more creative than they would give themselves credit for.
Frugal: Homesteaders are typically cheap and do not enjoy spending more money than is necessary, myself included. Now that homesteading is catching on, there are many a company that will cater to the needs and wants of this demographic. Yet, before I buy anything, I always ask myself “How did the pioneers do this 100 years ago? What would they have used?”.
Industrious: Homesteading doesn’t allow for much in the way of relaxation and they are usually a hard-working bunch. Frankly, I enjoy working. I go crazy if I have to sit inside for too long. If something is complete, or at least doesn’t need my full attention at the moment, I’m always moving on to the next thing, making the most of the time and season.
Don’t get me wrong, I have my days when I just collapse and need to rest. I just love to learn, grow and learn new things…..always have.
Ability to “Think Outside the Box”: Homesteaders tend to question the way things are done and wonder if they could be done in a better/different way. Why should a city lot sit vacant when it could be used to produce food for the neighborhood? Why not use dormant land between the sidewalk and street to grow corn? Why maintain a lawn that can not only be toxic but feed no one when it could be converted into a produce powerhouse?
Modern homesteaders are going to their city councils and asking these questions, pushing the envelope and making a difference in their communities!
If you are an urban homesteader or a wannabe, check out these books about how to work with small plots of land!
“Little Homestead in the City” is one of my favorite urban homesteading blogs right now. Other favorite homestead blogs right now are “Homestead Revival“, “Backyard Food Production“, “Gnowfglins” and “Progressive Pioneer“. Check them out!