Homesteading is hard work! I’m writing this right now at night, and I’m tired and am quite often tired at the end of the day. So why do it? Is it even worth it? These are the questions I often ponder and constantly make me consider why I’m doing this.
Back in March of 2018, I recorded episode 78 of the Modern Homesteading Podcast, where I shared some recordings from a few homesteaders explaining why they started homesteading. What was fascinating about this for me was the diversity of reasons folks gave for getting into homesteading. Here are some examples of the reasons from three of the guests on that episode.
“Do What You Can, With What You Have, Where You Are”
– Teddy Roosevelt
Everyone Has Their Own Reasons
Troy, a homesteader on 100 acres, gave three great reasons.
• He and his family wanted to know about where their food was coming from.
• He wanted to make the most out of the land he had purchased.
• He wanted to learn the self-sufficient skills from the past and pass those down to his children.
Christopher, a newbie homesteader in a more urban environment, had some great reasons as well.
• He and his wife wanted to escape the rat-race of the city.
• To develop resilience against the possible unknowns that could happen, which for him started with a garden.
• To grow healthier, homegrown food.
Tom went down this path after the market crash of 2008 and seen firsthand how self-sufficiency and sustainability was a much more reliable way to live. He got into gardening after a neighbor turned him onto it and has been expanding his homesteading skill sets ever since.
These were just a few of the testimonies from that episode that I and others found inspiring and motivating. Every homesteader has their own reasons for heading down this path, and if you have not yet started homesteading, then you will want to find your reasons as well.
Here are 10 reasons I homestead and believe it’s worth it.
1. Better Health
This is the main reason I started homesteading, and the main reason I keep doing it. Much of the food in restaurants and grocery stores are not very healthy in too much quantity, and buying organic gets expensive.
Growing and raising my own food ensures I get the highest quality, free from pesticides, herbicides, hormone induction, steroids, and God only knows whatever else gets pumped onto and into food, at the best prices. Sure, my time and labor are worth money, but that leads me to the next reason.
2. Love Of The Lifestyle
I really do enjoy gardening and raising livestock; I enjoy preserving and cooking. I enjoy repairing and repurposing; I love being tired at the end of the day and seeing everything that was accomplished. In general, I love most everything about homesteading.
This is the way I was raised, and when I was a kid, I never had any doubt, it was the way I would always live even though I departed from it for several years.
3. Self Sufficiency
This term is a little deceptive, as I believe no one is doing it alone. What I mostly mean by this reason is the development of skills that enable me to provide for myself and my family. I am constantly trying to learn new things that allow me to do more and provide more without depending on someone else to do it for me.
I feel like this is important in a time when most skills of the past are forgotten by the majority of people, and we collectively have become more and more dependent on others to do things for us.
4. To Connect The Past With The Future
This means I want to teach my children and grandchildren what was handed down from my parents and grandparents. We are the link between the past and the future, and if that link doesn’t hold tight and connect the two, then they become separated from one another, and the legacy does not carry on.
My grandfather was a homesteader with serious carpentry skills; my dad grew up learning all that he taught him and then passed it down to me. I want to continue that legacy for many generations.
My dad, growing up homesteading in the 1950s.
My grandson, Maverick, planting seeds.
A while back, I was reading the classic novel, “Fahrenheit 451,” and came across this paragraph that seemed, quite frankly, a little out of place but also made me think about the legacy we leave behind by the things we do that last beyond us.
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built, or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way, so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
What did the generations before you leave for a legacy? What will YOU leave?
5. To Help The Environment
That’s right; I’m a bit of a tree hugger. I love nature and the beauty of the planet, and I want to preserve it for future generations. I believe homesteading is one of the most generous things we can do for our planet. Most homesteaders use organic practices that are good for the soil and nature in general.
Read this quote from one of my favorite authors:
“Odd as I am sure it will appear to some, I can think of no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening. A person who is growing a garden, if he is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world. He is producing something to eat, which makes him somewhat independent of the grocery business, but he is also enlarging, for himself, the meaning of food and the pleasure of eating.”
― Wendell Berry, “The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry”
Can growing an organic garden really have an impact on the “cure of the environment”?
When you first read this statement from Wendell Berry, you may have doubts that a person growing a garden can really do what Berry claims it can do, but let’s take a look at the difference it actually makes.
5 Ways The Homestead Garden Makes An Environmental Difference
– Reduces Harmful Chemicals
When you grow an organic garden, it becomes one less piece of the world that is not getting harmful chemicals sprayed on it. This not only has an impact on the land you are growing on but the air that moves off your property into other parts of the world and the water runoff that eventually makes its way to the creeks and rivers.
– Reduces The Need For Conventional Farming
When you grow your own food organically, it is that much less food that is being purchased that has been grown in a conventional way. This eventually has an impact on just how much is grown in that way, ultimately over time, reducing the amount and hence reducing the number of chemicals being sprayed.
– Lowers The Carbon Footprint
Fewer purchases at the grocery store mean less transportation impact. Because food is being consumed locally, a truck didn’t have to bring it across the Country and burn fuel.
– Increases Pollination
When you grow organically, it has a positive impact on pollinators, which, in return, have a greater impact on nature as a whole, eventually having a positive impact on the environment as a whole. The more pollination going on means more plants, more trees, more food for creatures, including us.
– Homesteading Begets Homesteading
Gardening is contagious! When you grow an organic garden, you can’t help but develop a passion for it, and with passion comes a proclamation, a declaration, a sermon if you will of spreading the good news of organic gardening. This leads to converts who, in return, grow their organic gardens and preach the same good news. One garden can lead to many gardens, leading to a greater impact on the world.
Okay, so I’m a prepper, no, not the crazy kind! Not all preppers are homesteaders, the truth is buying food and cramming it under your bed and in your closet doesn’t make you a homesteader, but I think every good homesteader is a prepper. It is just what we do; we grow and raise our food and preserve it and put it up for when we can’t grow it. We prepare for winter and weather events and anything unforeseen that comes our way. That is basic preparedness, and it’s not crazy, it’s responsible.
There is really no downside to preparedness, and the fact is things will happen that preparedness will make it easier to go through. Being prepared reduces worry and stress when bad things happen; it creates freedom from making bad last-minute decisions and could quite possibly save your’s or a family member’s life.
7. For Freedom
Yep Freedom! I mean this in a few different ways.
Firstly, food freedom, the freedom to put into my body what I choose to put in there, not what food manufacturers want me to put in there.
I also mean freedom from the system, the system that says “this is how we want you to live” work a 40 hour a week job, pay your taxes, buy your food like everyone else and have the same dreams as everyone else.
Financial freedom is another worthy pursuit. As I mentioned before, I believe this is a much cheaper way to eat healthily and live more frugally. When living the homesteading lifestyle over a long period, it can result in putting more money in the bank or just simply require less money to live the life you want to live.
8. To Be A Better Neighbor
Because I’m growing an abundance of food, I get to share with my friends and neighbors. A while back some neighbor kids were walking down my fence line eating blackberries, this makes me happy, I want to share, and they know they are allowed to do it. I love handing the neighbors a bag of food occasionally (and not just the zucchini). I love seeing the face of a friend biting into a fresh vine-ripened tomato out of my backyard and telling me, “you can’t buy anything like that in the store.”
9. The Homesteading Community
This is a reason I knew nothing about when I started down this journey, but it is a big reason I do it now. The homesteading community, both online and local, are some of the friendliest, most caring, and difference-making people on the planet, and I’m proud to be part of the community.
10. To Inspire Change
I do think this is a way of life that is better for people and the planet and because I believe that, I want to constantly encourage others to get started right now, right where they are if they have a desire to go down this path. To put it humbly, I homestead because I want to change the world. So, is it worth it? You bet it is!
Start Homesteading Today!
This list of reasons are my reasons and common reasons to start homesteading. So if these reasons are compelling to you then you can start right now, right where you are. It doesn’t matter if you are on several acres in the country, a city lot with a small yard, or an apartment, there are things you can do today.
- Shoemaker Hoard
- Berry, Wendell (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 352 Pages - 08/05/2003 (Publication Date) - Counterpoint (Publisher)
Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API