Considering Tradeoffs In Homestead Evaluation and Design With Guest Ryan Steva

On this episode of the Modern Homesteading Podcast, Harold has a conversation with Ryan Steva, a homesteading consultant, about considering tradeoffs in homestead evaluation and design.

The Modern Homesteading Podcast, Episode 187 – February 1, 2023

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About Ryan

Ryan grew up in rural Wisconsin and figured out from a young age that he really enjoyed fixing things, building things, and interacting with the physical world. He was homeschooled in a time when very few people were homeschooling which gave him a way to learn in an unconventional manner. He always questioned the status quo, and when he had a major health issue in his 20s and through the process of pursuing healing, he learned that our medical and food systems were very broken. He realized that doctors were not going to give him the answers that he needed to heal he started to dig into how to heal his body which eventually led to the conclusion that he needed to be growing food on healthy land.

After working on building his own homestead and learning about permaculture, he started helping friends and family by designing and building food and water systems. He realized that he really enjoyed it, so he decided to start a business helping people restore their land while building health and resilience in their lives. He believes that we are stewards of this incredible planet that God has put us on and that what we do to and with our land is important to Him.

The Value of Trade-Offs in Modern Homesteading: Insights from Ryan Steva

In the realm of modern homesteading, understanding and embracing trade-offs is essential. Ryan Steva, a homesteading consultant, sheds light on this crucial aspect, highlighting the importance of considering various factors when making homesteading decisions.

Journey to Homesteading

Ryan’s path to homesteading began with a health crisis, leading him to reevaluate his lifestyle and delve into the world of self-sustenance. His experience encompasses both the challenges and triumphs of starting a homestead, from failed attempts to successful strategies.

Embracing Small Scale Homesteading

Despite having access to a modest amount of land, Ryan emphasizes the potential of small homesteads. He discusses strategies like integrating chickens into garden maintenance, utilizing permaculture principles, and focusing on sustainable systems that require minimal daily input.

Collaborative Homesteading

Ryan highlights the power of community and collaboration in homesteading. By partnering with others who have land, homesteaders can expand their capabilities and share resources, exemplifying the benefits of cooperative efforts in food production.

Trade-Offs in Homesteading Decisions

The concept of trade-offs is central to homesteading. Ryan advises considering the long-term impacts of decisions, such as the choice between different gardening methods or animal husbandry practices. He suggests analyzing these choices from various angles, including time, effort, cost, and potential benefits.

Permaculture: A Guiding Principle

Permaculture principles guide Ryan’s consulting approach. He believes that permaculture offers valuable insights into efficient and ethical homesteading practices, encouraging homesteaders to consider their impact on the environment and future generations.

Rational Preparedness

Ryan advocates for what he calls “rational preparedness” in homesteading. This approach balances the need for self-sufficiency with the enjoyment of daily life, ensuring that homesteaders are prepared for uncertainties without being overwhelmed by extreme survivalist mindsets.

Learning from Others

Seeking advice and learning from fellow homesteaders is crucial. Ryan stresses the importance of tapping into local knowledge and experience, as regional specifics can significantly influence the success of homesteading endeavors.

The Bigger Picture: Beyond ROI

In homesteading, the return on investment (ROI) transcends monetary value. Ryan points out that the benefits of homesteading include improved health, environmental sustainability, and a sense of community, making it a lifestyle choice with far-reaching positive impacts.


Ryan Steva’s insights into modern homesteading highlight the importance of thoughtful decision-making, community collaboration, and the integration of permaculture ethics. By understanding and embracing trade-offs, homesteaders can create sustainable, fulfilling lifestyles that benefit themselves, their communities, and the planet.

Topics of Discussion:

  • What is a tradeoff?
  • Why is it so important to understand the concept of tradeoffs?
  • How can understanding tradeoffs help us make decisions?
  • What are some examples of a real world tradeoff?
  • How can people start practicing thinking about tradeoffs?


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    Author, blogger, podcaster, homesteading and permaculture enthusiast. I have a passion for sharing what I learn and helping others on their journey. If you're looking for me, you'll usually find me in the garden.

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