Modern homesteading is a lifestyle of self sufficiency that focuses on living off the land you have available to you. Learn more about homestead living here.
The history of homesteading in the US starts with the pioneers who ventured Westwards between 1850 to 1900 to settle on land that had not yet been populated by white European colonists. The concept of homesteading in the US dates back to The Homestead Act of 1862, which accelerated the settlement of western territory by granting 160 acres of federal land for free to any citizen who would move to the frontier for at least five consecutive years. From the Civil War era up until 1935, when President Roosevelt withdrew the Act, the government granted over 270 million ares of land to over one million Americans who moved out onto the Western frontier. The Homestead Act symbolises the American dream, that every able-bodied citizen has the chance and potential to pursue happiness in his own terms.
The Importance of Homesteading
Homesteading is still an important practice today, due to the fact that it is such a sustainable way of living. Modern homesteading means a wide variety of things including:
- A deeper connection to the natural world.
- Self reliance and self sufficiency.
- Having a holistic viewpoint.
Homesteading is built upon core principles including working with the land, taking care of your own needs, and minimizing interactions with government, all while remaining where you live and making use of the land that you have. Homesteading is important today because growing your own food is more sustainable than buying it from the grocery store, and it reduces reduces the amount of plastic that you consume. Practicing homesteading rejects todays capitalist, consumerist culture, as it prioritises sustainability and self sufficiency.
Is Modern Homesteading Different?
Modern homesteading differs from the past because today, practicing homesteading is a lifestyle choice, whereas in the nineteenth century, it was out of necessity. In the nineteenth century, homesteaders had to be self sufficient, as they did not have stores to rely on to buy food and other products. Homesteaders produced the majority of their own food for themselves out of necessity, and they would have to know how to garden, forage, hunt, and raise animals for sustenance. In our modern day, we have the safety net of grocery stores and farmers markets to rely on for our food produce. Being self reliant in our modern society is more complex than it was in the nineteenth century, in particular with regards to water and energy, which requires specialised knowledge.
Running your own zero waste kitchen is a step towards becoming less reliant on grocery stores and more self reliant and sustainable in terms of how you cook at home.
Easy Ways to Get Started
Even if you don’t live in the countryside, you can still practice some aspects of homestead living. Modern homesteading includes growing and producing your own food, as well as producing your own handmade goods. You can start by:
- Making handmade soap or foaming hand soap
- Fermeting vegetables
- Drying your laundry naturally
- Making homemade toothpaste or DIY mouthwash
- Growing your own vegetables or herbs
- Making homemade all purpose cleaner
- Cooking your own dinners
Making your own handmade products means that you cut down on the amount of purchased goods that you consume and this helps to reduce your carbon footprint. If you have some space outside, you can compost, keep chickens, or even practice urban gardening. These different activities make great hobbies, and are a start towards homestead living. Here are 10 green tips that will make your life more sustainable.
- Can Dematerialization Help Build a More Sustainable World?
- The Top 5 Human Activities That Contribute to Air Pollution
- 8 Best Plants for Ground Cover
Do you like this post?