The Beginner Homesteader: Tips for Green Living No Matter the Geography
There are a hundred reasons why people turn to homesteading. Sometimes it’s a desire for more hands-on influence over the food process or the goal of living closer to the land. With increasing prices in gas and food and the growing concern for our environment, many families want to slow down the rat race to live a more self-sufficient life.
For most of us, however, it’s not feasible to sell everything for several acres in the country with a herd of cattle or goats. Luckily those that have successfully made the transition to homesteading are willing to give some advice about how the rest of us can give greater quality and do-it-yourself spirit to our urban/suburban lives.
Perhaps you want a backyard chicken coop and have free range chickens roam your property. Chickens do make for some tasty fresh eggs that are undeniably locally sourced and hopefully from happy chickens.
Produce more than you consume is an anthem for many homesteaders. This simple yet profound philosophy can be applied to many areas of your life. Think of the implications it has for the diet of a typical family. How many times a week do you eat out? And do you know where that food is coming from? The cost of gasoline to drive to the restaurant, not to mention the energy consumed by the restaurant to make your food, and the sometimes questionable quality of that food would be negated if you cooked at home.
Or perhaps you feel passionate about eating the perfect tomato. This may lead you to an heirloom seed catalog. Raising tomatoes can be done in any setting with a simple container garden, and it’s easy to take the bounty of those plants and use a pressure canner to create your own supply of canned tomatoes. In fact, some farmers markets loan out canning equipment for free. Growing vegetables, even if it’s only a few plants, teaches children about the seasons and growth cycles, bringing the natural world into daily family life.
There are books and free online instructions that outline specifically how to construct both of these popular homesteading options. In fact, off grid solar systems aren’t just for farms any more. A smaller DIY version can be made by the average homeowner for a fraction of the cost. Compost tumblers can be made from recycled drums discarded by manufacturers while square bins can be made for the back yard using several 2x4s and some chicken wire.
Regardless of the size of your property, there are steps you can take to become more mindful about the consumption and waste generated by your family. While we all can’t move out to the country to live off the land, we can take small actions every day to live more self-sufficiently and more gently upon mother earth. We’re just one do-it-yourself project away from living a greener life.
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