“It’s not a single idea, but many ideas and attitudes, including a reverence for nature and a preference for country life; a desire for maximum personal self-reliance and creative leisure; a concern for family, nature and community cohesion; a certain hostility toward luxury; a belief that the primary reward of work should be well-being rather than money; a certain nostalgia for the supposed simplicities of the past and an anxiety about the technological bureaucratic complexities of the present and the future; and a taste for the plain and functional.” JD Belanger, Countryside Magazine.
I’ve been practicing homesteading principles with my family for years (refer to my kombucha obsession as exhibit A). I’ve always known that I was a bit odd but I always described myself as ‘practical’ ‘pragmatic’, or ‘functional’. Although I’ve been following self-sufficiency pioneers like Kristen Michaelis (Food Renegade) and Hannah Crum (Kombucha Kamp) for years, I didn’t fully identify with the movement until recently. It wasn’t until I started hanging out with other homesteaders in my community did I realize that my lack of livestock and green thumb didn’t exclude me. As a matter of fact, there are plenty folks just like me!
Curious to know if you qualify? Here are a few signs that you might be a budding homesteader:
You have an urge to ‘grow’
A lot of people think that in order to be a homesteader you have to live on a farm, or at least have a garden and a few chickens. I live in a suburban subdivision governed by a HOA that requires approval to change paint colors. But the urge to ‘grow’ is still there. I have a few medicinal plants and herbs growing around my house. How about you? Inside plants count too!
SN: Growing in your mindset also comes with the territory.
You find yourself gradually giving up on aesthetics
I used to wish I had more time fix myself (or my house) up… not so much any more. I have held on to some girlie behaviors (mani/pedis and tamed eyebrows specifically) but most days, I just go with the flow. I will, however, frantically throw things in closets if you say you are coming by. Aside from that, I’ve willfully traded a clutter free home for scoby hotels and routine precise haircuts for weekly coconut oil treatments. Did any of that make sense? Yes? Keep reading. 🙂
You are willing to embrace your own funk
This pairs nicely with letting go of appearances. Once I learned of the connections between the chemicals in most deodorants and disease, I decided I didn’t smell so bad after all. Ha! Seriously, it is about much more than body odor. Are you concerned about what you put on your body as much as what goes in your body? Do you find yourself wanting to find non toxic cleaning products to use in your home? Pretty good chance you are one of us.
You recycle, reuse and up-cycle
Do you shop at (and donate to) thrift stores? Is your recycling bin in competition with your trash? In our household, very few things make it to the dumpster. We compost, drink out of reused jars, and can tell you the name of every resale shop within a 10 mile radius.
You appreciate animals
There are homesteaders who don’t eat meat and those who raise animals for food. Regardless of the perspective, homesteaders value and respect the role animals play in a healthy society.
You value and support local businesses
Homesteading is about building community. At its core is supporting your neighbors. Do you find yourself getting excited when a mom and pop opens up shop? Does a little piece of you die when you see trees being cleared for yet another strip mall?
You don’t believe in throwing food away
Activities like canning and dehydrating are closely connected with homesteading because they are typically practiced by those who grow/process (or purchase) a lot of food at one time. However,even if you find yourself taking a leftover chicken and making salad and then using the carcass to make broth, you have homesteading tendencies.
It is important that you know your neighbors
While sustainable living involves self-sufficiency, it is best achieved in a community. Are you that neighbor that always has a few eggs to give in a cooking emergency? Do you lend tools or your abilities to those around you?
You enjoy giving and/or receiving homemade gifts
Every year we make homemade sweets during the holidays. My kids also make jewelry, bath soaps, and furniture
throughout the year as gifts. My best friend hand sews clothing and blankets for me and my kiddos and those are amongst our most prized possessions. Do you marvel at true craftsmanship? Do you spend more money and time then makes sense to give someone something you’ve made? It’s okay. We all do it. 🙂
If I lived 1,000 years I would probably not catch up to the Kristens and Hannahs of the world. It’s a good thing I am not trying! That is actually part the beauty of homesteading. It isn’t a competition. It is about supporting each other toward the common goal of self sufficiency. We each have to define what that looks like to us. For me, it looks like providing the best I can for my family and sharing all that I am with those around me… learning and growing every single day. Oh and an occasional chai latte with a bit of dark chocolate with sea salt. Hey… it’s all about balance. 😉
Did you make it through the entire blog post? I’m not an authority or anything, but I think you are in!