The cost of everything is going up! That doesn’t come as news to anyone and it is a reality that we all deal with daily. How do you make ends meet when your income doesn’t go up as fast as your cost of living? Many people are returning to a trend that became popular decades ago, they are going ‘back to the land’ even if they don’t have any.
Homesteading was very popular when I was a teenager. The recession of the 70s drove many people to attempt to gain self sufficiency by growing and raising their own food, finding renewable energy sources and sometimes even building their own homes. In today’s world, homesteading has become both more complex and more simple.
Homesteading In The City
With the rising cost of fuel, it may no longer be feasible to buy that small farm and still maintain your current job. Urban and suburban homesteading is becoming popular instead and rather than raising livestock and planting acres of gardens, modern homesteading has become a lifestyle of square foot and container gardens, small home businesses, canning and freezing organic foods as well as just stocking up when things are on sale or in season.
For the Dervaes Family in Pasadena, CA featured in the NY Times magazine, homesteading is more than a way of life, it is also their livelihood. They grow more than 6000 lbs of food on their tiny lot in the city. They live pretty much off the grid and sell their produce to local restaurants.
Homesteading, however, is not just about growing it yourself. You can find a pick your own farm and pick your fruits and vegetables right off the farm or buy from a local farmer’s market or even just buy in season and freeze or can them yourself. Homesteading can mean cooking your meals from scratch or cooking them ahead and freezing them.
For some, homesteading whether it be urban, suburban or rural is a political statement. It is a shedding of the global economy, the contaminated food, and the commercialization of everything. It is about localizing our food sources and saving our environment.
Harriet Fasenfest asks at in her article on Urban Homesteading at Culinate:
“My question is, aren’t there others out there nearly choking on the smut of corporate logic? Aren’t there others who are raising chickens or making cheese or wine or soap in response to the breakdown of a system of food production and distribution that has gone to the dogs?
Aren’t there others who see this effort as a distinctly political and social movement and who want to define it as such? Aren’t there others with their panties in a bunch over cloned foods making their way into the marketplace without consumer notification? About lead in toys, mercury in food, E. coli in spinach, prions in beef, slavery in factories?
Aren’t there others mad as hell and not wanting to take it anymore and so, in a hopeful gentle effort, canning their own tomatoes instead?”
As you can see from the quote above for some homesteading is a passion and where you live or how much ground you have has little to do with it.
Homesteading = Frugality
Homesteading is also about frugality. It is about making it yourself rather than running out to buy it in the store. It is about not spending money on convenience but rather spending time for quality. It is a simpler yet richer lifestyle for those who find it appealing.
Modern day homesteading has had an influence on the Personal Finance world as the popularity of articles on square foot gardening has shown. My article on vegetables that can be grown in a pot is already one of my most popular. Baking homemade bread is one of the more popular articles on The Simple Dollar as is Making Homemade Cleaning Products at Being Frugal are also good examples of the influence of homesteading on our finances.
If you are interested in learning more about homesteading, I will be featuring some articles and projects over the next few weeks that you can do whether you live in the country or the city. These are fun and useful projects which your children may enjoy as well.
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