Although the Homesteading Act was repealed by Congress in 1973, homesteading still conceptually exists today. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Congress passed new homesteading legislation and returned “government owned land” back to the people? We have the power to make that happen. Time to contact your legislators!
Like many Americans, you have come to homesteading to be able to provide for your family, friends and community in the way that you see fit. The last time so many Americans felt the way you feel now was during World War II. During the Second World War, many of us had a victory garden, raised poultry and a hog because foods were either being rationed or were not available. The systems which are now the backbone of the United States’ economy seem to be growing quite weary and failing in some respects. So much instability creates a great unease. Homesteading creates security for you, your family, friends and community.
One word sums up the reason most people homestead today and it is “Freedom”. Freedom to decide how best to protect, defend and care for your family, how best to feed them and decide what is and is not in their water and how best to keep them healthy.
Homesteaders are changing all that. We are pushing back from the table of ease and frankly our desire to grab at convenience food, water, shelter, protection, communication and healthcare in favor of a sustainable, self-reliant food and water supply, our own shelter and security, health and well being. Homesteaders have decided that ease and convenience doesn’t make it the best option for them. Ease and convenience removes the decision-making process and the work. But, is that a good thing for you? You will have to decide.
Freedom is an immense amount of work. We have to take on much responsibility to ensure that freedom; responsibility for our water, food, security, shelter and our health and energy. Just because it is a lot of work doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun and highly rewarding. Collecting rain water, generating electricity and fuel, having a large garden, raising grains and crops, cattle, goats and sheep for milk, hides, fiber and meat, pigs for lard, bacon and hams, and poultry gives us work, responsibility, enjoyment, security and freedom.
So, where should you begin homesteading? Where you currently are living, that’s where. Whether you live in an apartment in downtown or you are on 240 acres in the mountains, you too can homestead. When considering how to begin this process, start your plan with these categories:
- Health & Well Being
- Special Skill Sets
Next, start asking yourself a lot of questions and then answer those questions. We know that this exercise will make you feel vulnerable. Push through that feeling, at the end of it you will have a plan.
Determine how you are fulfilling these categories currently.
WATER: Where do you get your water? How is it filtered? What is its source? How is it delivered to you?
FOOD: How do you get your protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals? How are they produced then delivered to you and how do you prepare them or are they already prepared?
SECURITY: What currently keeps you safe; military, police, societal structure or order, and social norms? What equipment, protocols, skills or techniques do they use to keep you save?
SHELTER: Where do you get your clothing or shoes? What about the roof over your head? What keeps you warm, dry or cool? What is seasonal weather like where you live? If you didn’t have all of the conveniences of today, what type of weather would you experience?
HEALTH & WELL BEING: What about your health and well being? Are you currently on medication? How is your nutrition, level of exercise and level of physical fitness? Is there anything that is currently impeding you or a family member from being at their best?
COMMUNICATION: How are you currently communicating with your family, friends, community and the outside world? What type of technology are you using?
TRANSPORTATION: How are you getting around? Do you use a vehicle or public transportation? Do you know how to repair this equipment? What fuel do you need to run it? Can you produce this fuel?
SPECIAL SKILL SETS: Can you farm, shoot a gun, weld a knife, protect yourself – your family, negotiate, trade, forage, hunt, cook, bake, dress a wound, perform CPR, garden, fish, sew, knit, butcher a chicken or a goat, hide, build, construct, save seeds, start a fire, raise livestock, navigate, assess people, treat illness with herbs, grind flour, render fat, build a fence, work with electricity, mechanic, tan a hide, sharpen knives or tools, okay – this list is seemingly endless.
Now imagine that all the conveniences that are supporting you are gone. No grocery stores, no municipal water supply, no electricity from the energy company, no military or police to call, no hospital or doctors for medical treatment, no safe home, roof over your head, furnace to keep you warm or air conditioner to keep you cool, no car or public transportation, no phone or internet…. For a moment, let that sink in…
Either you can wait for these things to happen then react to your circumstances or you can change. Change your reliance on the conveniences of a broken system. Become a homesteader. Develop three plans. Plan number one solves for all categories where you are currently living, your current circumstances. There will be weaknesses with your first plan. That’s okay; a plan with weaknesses is better than reacting to crazy circumstances. Plan number two plans for a secure future; well as secure as possible. Plan number three is an escape plan. It is your alternate plan.
If you have searching for a cut-and-paste plan for homesteading; there isn’t one. Homesteading is about self-reliance. What works for some may not work for you. Homesteading takes from you thought, concern, active participation, planning, responsibility, risks, blood, sweat, tears and work – lots of hard work. That is the reality of homesteading. Whenever you trade ease for freedom you have to take over for all the work and decisions others have been making on your behalf. Just remember why you decided to embark on this endeavor and why you didn’t just go with the flow.