Dear City-Dwelling Homesteader,
First off, did you notice that I didn’t call you a “wanna-be” homesteader? That was on purpose.
I firmly believe that someone can be a honest-to-goodness homesteader, even if they live in town–but more on that in a minute.
I’ve read your emails. And your comments. And your Facebook messages.
I’ve heard about your longings for a homestead with land. And how badly you want to experience those frothy buckets of raw milk from your very own goats. And pantries full of mason jars brimming with colorful produce. And kids playing barefoot outside chasing chickens.
And I smile and nod as I read every paragraph.
Because I can relate. For real.
I’ve I always had a strong
obsession desire for the rural way of life, but I wasn’t born into it.
I know what it feels like to want something so bad, but to not be at that place in life. It’s tough sometimes, huh? You want it so desperately, it almost hurts.
This letter is for you.
Because I want you to realize that, even though you might not have that perfect 40-acre Little-House-on-the-Prairie homestead fantasy, you still have the opportunity to do something big. And important.
You have the opportunity to make an impact. Right where you are, right now.
By embracing where you are at in life at this very moment in time–whether that be an apartment, or a suburb, or a teeny 1/2-acre lot on the outskirts of town–and making THAT your homestead.
Because I am of the opinion that a suburban-dwelling soccer-mom of three can be just as much of a homesteader as I am–if she puts her mind to it.
You don’t have to have a bazillion acres to learn how to bake bread. Or make cheese. Or create soap. Or stock your pantry. Or use natural remedies. Or keep a couple chickens. Or grow organic vegetables. Or use creative re-purposing to keep stuff out of the landfill.
All of those are admirable skills that any homesteader would be proud to have in their repertoire, and there’s no reason you have to be a landowner to master them.
Now–don’t get me wrong.
I’m a HUGE advocate of chasing dreams–and chasing them hard. God has personally led me on some wild adventures and has fulfilled dreams and longings that I didn’t even know I had–and it’s the best feeling in the world to see your deepest desires come to fruition.
So if you’ve been scraping, wishing, and saving for a homestead with land, don’t think for one second that I’m telling you that you should just give up on your dreams of living rurally–cause I’m not.
If living in the country is a heart’s desire for you–then you should absolutely chase it down. Chase it like crazy, in fact. Now, don’t sacrifice your family, or go into crazy debt to do it, but set your sights on it and don’t give up. And don’t feel like you have to wait until the kids are all grown up and moved away either.
I’ve had some pretty amazing stories grace my email inbox since starting this blog–and they came from folks just like you. Folks that tell me how they ate rice and beans for a year so they could buy that 5-acres, and how they drove an old-beater car when all of their friends had shiny new ones–just so they could move to the country faster.
That’s the stuff that dreams are made of, folks.
If finances, or health, or age, or family situations have made it impossible for you to move to the country, don’t ever feel like you are less of a homesteader.
Do you live in a:
Apartment Homestead? You can grow veggies on your balcony and make all sorts of awesome stuff like soap or candles or from-scratch recipes that would make even Ma Ingalls jealous. Become buddies with the growers at your local farmer’s market and look into joining a CSA.
Suburban Homestead? You can dig up a patch of your yard to grow a garden (or if you are really brave, get rid of the lawn altogether and grow food everywhere!) and hang your laundry on the line to dry. Have local farmers in your area? Haul your kids to the farm when you pick up your eggs or milk or meat and start teaching them where their food comes from.
Kinda-Sorta Rural Homestead? If covenants allow, you can keep chickens, or maybe even a couple of goats. Or, what if you experimented with solar or wind power to make your home as off-grid as possible? The possibilities are endless.
And the cool thing about city-homesteading? You have the opportunity to impact a lot of people quickly. I guarantee that planting squash in your front yard instead of flowers will get the attention of the neighbors. (And if the squash doesn’t work–getting chickens will…) And what if they think it’s so cool, that they start doing it too? What if you start a neighborhood revolution?
Having a connection to your food… Becoming less of a consumer, and more of a producer… Re-purposing and recycling instead of sending stuff straight to the landfill…
Isn’t that what homesteading is all about?
And last time I checked, you sure didn’t have to have a hundred acres to do any of those things.
So here’s to homesteading. Right now. No matter where we live. And no matter who says it can’t be done.
Because it can. And we will.
More Homesteading Encouragement:
- How to Cultivate Community While Homesteading
- Modern Homesteading Manifesto
- If I Lived in Town, This is How I Would Homestead
- How to Find Nourishing Food WITHOUT a Farm