While some still think that off grid living and homesteading are just “fads” or “trends”, many others know better. If you want to call it a trend, then there is no denying that it is a trend that continues to grow and is drawing interest from more and more people who see homesteading as a way to reduce their impact on the environment, live more independently from an ever increasing government and corporate power structure, or simply as a way to get back in touch with nature and live a simpler life. As more people at least look into the idea of homesteading and off grid living, they have questions as to how to go about it.
Figuring out where to start can be daunting when you are looking into starting an entirely new way of life, which is why some of the best advice is simply to take it slow and to go in steps or phases. Many people either jump into it head first, and then find that the new way of living is harder or more complicated than they thought, or they feel it is simply too much to deal with and adjust to so they give up on the idea of homesteading altogether. If people were to simplify the process and make changes in phases, they can find that the transition to an off grid lifestyle isn’t as overwhelming or cost prohibitive as it first seems. Like any other major decision in life, you should take the time to consider your options, your budget, your goals, and any applicable laws or regulations in the area you intend to settle down.
Instead of attempting to grow all of your own food the first year, start with a smaller vegetable garden to supplement your other food sources, this way you can get used to the work it takes, and a setback won’t be nearly as devastating to your food supply or your confidence. Find others who are also starting on the homesteading way of life in your area and work together to achieve larger goals in order to reduce the workload while increasing productivity. A friend or two taking the journey with you can make the entire process more enjoyable and you can learn from one another as well. As you start to produce your own food, learn different preservation techniques. Canning is something most of our grandparents did just as part of life, and most of us have fond memories of the fruits, jams, preserves and various pickled vegetables (even eggs), and by returning to this time honored method of food preservation, you can help make those same memories for your kids and grandkids.
Over the course of a few years you will not only find that you have progressed in your homesteading efforts, but that you did so with less stress than you would have, had you tried to do too much too soon. Remember that while going off grid is technically about freeing yourself from the power grid and other utilities (though each person/family can decide to what extent and which services to provide on their own), it is also about being more independent and about sustainable living in other areas as well. While growing your own food is likely to be one of the first tasks you undertake, you can also find ways to make your own household cleaners, fertilizers (composting for example), and besides fruits and vegetables, you can also start with small “herds” or “flocks” of livestock as well. Chickens are popular and can even be raised in urban areas as long as the local laws permit.
So, instead of worrying or being intimidated by what may look like an impossible mission, by breaking things down, proper planning, and working with others, you can put yourself on the path to sustainable living. It may not be easy, but you can make it easier, and you’ll enjoy more freedom and more satisfaction with your new found independence in the long run.
by PJ Neeley – offgridworld.com
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