No doubt you have noticed homesteading has had a rise in popularity in recent years. Homesteading is really about being more self-reliant, relying more on one’s own work and effort and less on outside forces. This rise in self-reliance (or homesteading as we call it) is much due to the unsteady job market, the unhealthy food flooding the market, and the decline of the dollar among other reasons. So whatever the reasons most people come to this for a sense of security.
We started as urban homesteaders (or rather small town homesteaders). Wanting to build a lifestyle that wasn’t so influenced by the job or housing markets. A way where we can stay healthy regardless of the chemically tainted food that floods our grocery stores. What we soon realized we found a way we could take our future more into our own hands with hard work. Being a self-reliant homesteader is hard work, but the good kind, you know the kind where you are tired at the end of the day but super happy about it.
As urban homesteaders turned country homesteaders, we have learned there is so much one can do to be more self-reliant no matter where you live!
1. Grow more of your own food
This one is very possible for almost all people, even if you have little to no space. Many cities and towns have community gardens and even roof-top gardens! If you have a small yard have a small garden, grow vertically. A patio or balcony is perfect for a container garden. An apartment can still house a tower garden or a small aquaponic garden. If you can’t start with any of that, start with sprouts on the kitchen counter! Look for ways to get your food from other than grocery store places. Many bigger cities have CSA’s and farmer’s markets and knowing the person growing your food is better than trusting a label.
2. Make more of your own stuff
In the pioneer days, people often had to make it, fix it or go without it. So keep that in mind, and I know it’s impossible to make everything (trust me I have tried). However, there are many things one can make or reuse or upcycle, instead of buying new. We like to make all our toothpaste, and everyone’s teeth are better for it (fluoride, chemical, artificial flavors, and colors are things your body would be more than happy to go without!) making your own cloth diapers and wipes is a great way to both save money and help the environment. Making food from scratch. Make food in bulk and freeze or can for easy convenient meals. Making household cleaners is a great way to have a greener healthier home and save on cleaning supplies. The point is to make something, do some DIY, just try it out even if you aren’t great at it at first!
3. Raise chickens
Most people consider eggs a staple grocery item. Which is great for the self-reliant person. We learned, pretty early on, that keeping chickens for eggs is the easiest thing to learn! In the beginning, we had 5 chickens and two ducks in our backyard in town. That’s was actually breaking the city law as 6 birds was the limit! However, no one ever came to count. That was more than enough to keep us in eggs, and we always let our birds free-range in the yard during the day and lock them up in the coop at night for safety.
Chickens are so much fun, kids love them and they truly are part of a family! Chickens can be fed greenhouse and garden scraps as well as kitchen scraps (in fact that will help them to be healthier than chicken feed alone. Most cities now days will allow people to have 6-10 chickens or birds.
4. Manage your own health
In recent years the majority of people who file for bankruptcy, citing that medical bills are a huge factor in their financial woes. I’m sure this is not news to you if you live in the U.S. and a have a heart that is currently beating you are likely scared of needing any medical assistance at all. This is some of the primary reasons that home-births, midwifery, and natural or alternative medicines are on the rise. Learning simple steps to take to reduce the need for much medical assistance and therefore medical bills. We always were self-proclaimed health nuts, but when hypothyroidism reared its ugly little head, I knew that if I really wanted to get healthy I had to start taking aspects of health into my own hands.
That’s where I started learning herbalism (which was the first medicine and is far superior to pharmaceutical concoctions of today that cause many side effects that are often worse than the original problem). How easy is drinking healthy herbal tea when feeling blue instead of getting an anti-depressant! Or taking a few drops of a home-grown homemade herbal tincture when feeling under the weather.
- Try replacing much of your medicine cabinet with essential oils. Little miracles in bottles! Ear infection, sore throats, a tooth infection, and even seizures in our pets have all been handled using essential oils.
- Learn about natural probiotics and fermented foods and how much they can aid your health and boost your immune system.
One great step toward being more self-reliant is learning how easy taking your health into your own hands can be. The little added bonus is you will also save yourself a small fortune over the years!
5. Filter your own water
Public water treatment systems are often overloaded with pharmaceutical drugs and dangerous chemicals. With water being one of the most important things we as humans put into our bodies. We owe it to ourselves and our health to make sure that water is clean. We have well water, which is often less contaminated with city type chemicals like excessive fluoride, however, are often higher in toxic chemicals like glyphosate which is sprayed on nearly every crop in our area. So we filter our water.
We use reverse osmosis like this one here, however, if you don’t have space for something like that or you live in a rental where changing pipes might not be an option check a countertop filter (in many cases that may be better in power outages or emergencies they can still filter water!)
iSpring RCC7 High Capacity Under Sink 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System and Ultimate Water Softener- WQA Gold Seal Certified
Compost is an easy way to turn scraps into real healthy fertilizer. Create healthy compost for your garden, save money on fertilizer or bagged compost and be better to the environment! That’s a win, win, win my friends. Even if you live in an apartment compost isn’t out of reach, look into Bokashi composting!
Bokashi Composting: Scraps to Soil in Weeks
Do more for yourself
that’s what much of this self-reliant/homesteader movement is all about. Getting back to the basics. If you were raised not growing your own food (like I was not) or knowing how to do much of your own stuff (also like I didn’t). Learning to be self-reliant is not only useful and empowering but it’s fun and exciting as well.
If there are items you just simply can not do but would like to, search for locally, ethically and sustainably produced items. For example eggs, in this day in age there is absolutely no reason eggs need to come on a truck from across the country somewhere, people everywhere are raising small flocks and would love to sell eggs! Check your local sources. Farmers’ markets are everywhere!
And heck maybe you are not the only one thinking this way, maybe others in your community are thinking the exact same way! Check for groups around you. There are even amazing stories coming out of urban areas in inner cities where people, neighborhoods, and communities are coming together to do some of this! I applaud that! This country and this world need more of that. More work together, more health, less waste, more sustainable, more living!
Here is a quote I recently found and I think it is so fitting
teaching kids how to feed themselves and how to live in a community responsibly is the center of an education. -Alice Waters
So no matter what the reason, whether for security or if you just want to get your hands dirty (getting your hands dirty is healing to the soul) go look for one small way to be more of a homesteader, learn it, teach it and spread it. Then add something else to it, get better and better. Becoming more self-reliant isn’t just a destination it’s a journey. Learning some gardening and chicken keeping is a great place to start. You will be so proud of what you have learned, and what you can do with your new-found skills ♡♡♡
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From our family to yours, thanks for stopping by
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Beth is a mother of 6 living on a handful of acres in an old farmhouse in central Kansas. Beth has a background in the military and health and fitness however her passions come from her homestead life. Beth is an enthusiastic homeschooling mom, avid organic gardener, chicken & goat wrangler, who is obsessed with herbs and natural remedies and maintaining an all-around Do-It-Yourself lifestyle. Beth loves to share all she has learned about and sustainable living. While striving for a healthy, natural life, family-centered life.