Homesteading

Grow Food

Whether you're on a tiny urban lot or in a multi-acre rural setting, homesteading is being self-sufficient on your plot of land. If that sounds like a dream come true, read on for ways to begin your self-sufficient life.

Food

A basic part of homesteading is providing for your own nutritional needs. This often takes the form of home grown fruits and vegetables. Many gardeners grow enough organic vegetables in the summer to last an entire year when preserved properly. Fresh fruits are frozen, canned and turned into jams. Fresh vegetables are frozen, canned and pickled.

Utilities

Setting up or converting a home to a homestead includes finding alternative energy sources. Sending a payment to a utility provider each month is not self-sufficient, so relying on renewable energy sources for power is mandatory. The sources may include solar power, wind power and hydro (or water) power. For example, the off grid home may have a well pumped by a windmill and use solar panels to convert the sun's energy into electricity.

Bartering

Working for the end product (food, clothing, shelter, etc.) rather than working for the money to buy the end product reduces or eliminates expenses such as grocery and utility bills. A great way to further reduce income needed is to barter. If an off-grid farmer cans more tomatoes than the family will use in a year, those extra tomatoes can be bartered for goods such as fabric (to make clothing) or soap-making ingredients, or can be traded for other fruits or vegetables that there wasn't enough room or time to grow. Bartering works best with other local growers, such as independent dairy farms.

Unless the operation is very advanced, there will probably be some necessities which cannot be produced due to space or time limitations. Those necessities which cannot be made or bartered for must be purchased, which leads us to how to make an income from or on your own land.

Income

There are several ways to make an income without working a typical 9-to-5 and the most successful homesteaders will utilize more than one. It's as simple as the old adage, "Never put all of your eggs in one basket."

  • Sell produce at farmers' markets
  • Sell consumable goods, such as soaps or lotions, at farmers' markets
  • Sell textiles, such as scarves or blankets, at farmers' markets
  • Sell consumable goods, such as natural skin care products or bath salts online (www.etsy.com or www.ebay.com)
  • Sell textiles, such as headbands or knitted wraps, online
  • Build a home based business around your area of expertise, such as massage or physical therapy
  • Build an online business around your area of expertise

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