If you’re not familiar with the world of homesteading you may be picturing a ‘Little House on the Prairie’ scenario. Let me clarify what I’m talking about. Homesteading is a lifestyle focused on self-sufficiency. For some people, that means having a few backyard chickens, a vegetable garden, and making homemade bread twice a week. Other people live in off-grid bunkers surrounded by a plethora of food storage and survival gear. It’s one of those subjects that has a pretty vast scale where people can fall. Anyone who is interested in preparing for the apocalypse or avoiding government detection will probably be doing that without my behest, so we’ll be focusing on the less extreme side of the scale.
So why do it yourself when you can pay someone else to do it? Just like there are different degrees of self-sufficiency, there are also different motivations. Perhaps you’re just looking to spend less money? Longing to be more connected to the food you eat, the clothes you wear, and the home you live in? Or maybe you live a very stressful life and want to find a way to simplify things. Homesteading can do those things for you.
If this is something that interests you, the best advice I can give you is to just start. I’m a beginner myself and every small accomplishment propels me further and further into this life. There’s always something you can do. Maybe you live in a small apartment. Maybe you have a gray thumb that kills every plant you’ve ever tried to grow. It doesn’t matter. Start small. If you tend to buy a lot of pre-made food, cut back and start making more food from scratch. Learn how to sew on a button or fix something that’s broken. Focus on learning and less on a lavish end result.
For many self-identifying homesteaders, owning animals is a huge part of the lifestyle, whether it’s for milk, eggs, or meat. Is veganism at odds with this lifestyle then? I’m sure some think so, but I must humbly disagree. At the heart of homesteading is depending less on others and more on yourself. Having livestock animals would serve me no purpose, but without that added concern I’m able to invest even more wholeheartedly into the things that do benefit me. Either way I’m working towards a future where I’m producing as much of my own food as I can. I just have different definition of food than some people.
With the way things are in this day and age, there is something seemingly old-fashioned about being self-sufficient. Back in the day most people had no choice but to do everything themselves, but I’ve often admired people who still retain those skills. An elderly woman’s car once broke down in front of my house. There was nothing I could do for her, but my neighbor possessed the knowledge to be able to jump in and change the flat tire. My lack of know-how has often led me to feel helpless. Being aware that I was capable of doing something, but having no choice but to outsource it because of a lack of knowledge or experience was and continues to be frustrating. So, instead of continuing down this path, I’m treading a new one. The only thing that will empower you to be more capable is making the decision to try, occasionally fail, and learn. If you ask me, those are lessons that are needed today just as much as they ever were.