Recently, I traveled to California for a business seminar. As is customary at these events, people will ask, “What do you do?” This is never an easy answer for me anyway, especially to put into 30 seconds or less, yet in my “elevator speech” of course I talked a bit about “Homesteading”. I was surprised when the general response was, “What is ‘homesteading’?” For many of us who are living the concept, it seems like that would be obvious. But, when forced to describe the term, I found that the answer is a bit more complex. Reason being, homesteading is a bit of a different definition depending on who you talk to or who you ask. For some, images of big sprawling ranches come to mind…with grazing cattle, sheep, or other livestock. For others, it might be the image of an old farmhouse with a garden, laundry flapping in the breeze on a clothesline, kids running barefoot outside, chickens pecking around a barnyard with a red barn, and livestock out in a pasture with rolling hills. When I say “homestead,” what images come to YOUR mind?
I’m here to say, though that homesteading is more than the cliche image. Homesteading is a way of life. It’s a mindset, a state of being, a connection with the world around us and God’s amazing creatures. I often tell people that you can homestead even if you live in a small apartment. It does not rely on how much land you own, how many animals you raise, how much money you make, or even what skills you currently possess. The official definition of homestead says something to the effect of “a dwelling where a family makes its home.” ( You can look up the exact wording on dictionary.com)
My personal definition of homesteading is simple. Homesteading is making choices to create a home that is peaceful, healthy, and supportive to those who live there and those who visit. Sure, sometimes that will involve animals. Sometimes it may include a garden. Sometimes it may just be a single room. So, regardless of where you live, you can enjoy homesteading to some extent.
Here are a few components that I choose to include in my personal homesteading efforts. Feel free to incorporate any or all into yours.
- Chemical Free Environment We are constantly faced with toxins and chemicals everywhere we turn. So much so, that it is actually impossible in this day and age to have a completely chemical FREE environment, however I choose to incorporate as many chemical free practices into our homestead as possible to decrease our exposure to toxins. Some steps we take include chemical free cleaners like vinegar or Anolyte, homemade dish soap, homemade laundry soap, and steam. We also use as few plastics as possible and if needed, ensure those plastics are BPA free. We use stainless steel pots and pans. We use essential oils and natural remedies for insect control whenever possible.
- Free Radical Reduction We live in a technological world and all these electronics wreak havoc on our systems. On our homestead, we incorporate Himalayan Salt Lamps around the house and use Earthmats for grounding.
- Real Food One of the main staples of most homesteads (and why many get started in homesteading) is to better understand and control where our food comes from and the quality of our food. With the epidemic of GMO foods, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and chemical additives, commercial food can be a bit scary…and not as fresh as homegrown or local. For our homestead, raising our food includes beehives, goats for milk and cheese, poultry for meat and eggs, an orchard, a garden, and a greenhouse. In the kitchen, we incorporate traditional cooking, lacto-fermentation, growing microgreens, and sprouting grains. What we can’t grow ourselves, we support local farmers as much as possible. It’s a great family outing to go to the local berry farms, coops, and farmers markets where you can talk to the growers, learn their practices, and have peace of mind that you are eating something that was raised right.
So, as you can see, anyone can homestead. It just takes a little ingenuity, a bit of desire, and a whole lot of experimentation. Have fun and happy homesteading…and don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Pinterest!