Homesteading: A Journey of Self-Sufficiency

-By Robert W Malone MD, MS


Homesteading (or “Farmsteading”) is a journey of self-sufficiency, and a path that may or may not lead to a life off-the-grid. It’s about building or rebuilding a home and/or farm, and learning to live off the land. It may be about teaching those skills to others, such as family and friends.


Homesteading often involves barter of food, seeds, resources and time. Whether you’re practicing on a small scale- like cultivating a hydroponic garden in your apartment or keeping three hens in the backyard- or on a larger scale, the sense of accomplishment and empowerment is immense. So, embrace this fulfilling and empowering work – you have the power to do it!

During WWII, victory gardens provided Americans and soldiers with much of their food. This movement was led by the government, but was immediately abandoned post-war as soldiers returned to the farm, and as the economy needed a reboot. Modern co-op gardens gained popularity in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, led by a back-to-the-earth movement. Self-sufficiency movements in the 1990s and 2000s began to apply the concept to urban and suburban settings. 

Fast forward to the present and now the off-the-grid movement and regenerative farming techniques are sweeping the nation. Whatever the name, homesteading offers both a respite from “modern” life as well as healthier alternatives for living. One doesn’t need 40 acres, mule and a plow to practice homesteading. An old bucket and some seeds may be all that one needs to start.

As our nation grapples with its flaws, as we seek meaning in our existence, and as our food systems become increasingly industrialized and synthetic, the need for healthier sources of food becomes self-evident.


The truth is that the American diet is largely composed of ultra-processed foods, which by and large are detrimental to health. 


By homesteading. By becoming a part of your own food system which nourishes your body daily, you’re creating a positive feedback loop. This will lead to a healthier life and a healthier body. 


The daily rituals of homesteading will not only nourish your body but also soothe your soul.


Furthermore, the daily routines of homesteading are a source of low-impact exercise, which is extremely healthy. Particularly as we age.


There are many sources for information on homesteading, from building or repairing a house, off-the-grid systems, cooking, growing food, animal husbandry, politics, securing energy sources, and homeschooling – to list a few obvious ones. Homesteading is one way to explore the unexplored -without leaving our domicile.  Of course, the internet has become the “go-to” for such information, but as one develops the skills needed to homestead, the truth is that it takes a lifetime to really establish relationships with local conditions, including the land, soil, water, tools, seeds, plants, animals and weather.  This is a lifetime adventure in learning and doing…

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