7 Reasons Homesteading is Great for the Modern Family

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Defining the modern family is often difficult and complicated.  Schedules, sizes, passions and the like, all vary greatly.  While our differences can be great, our goals are often similar in purpose.  We seek a nurturing atmosphere and loving company;  strong and devoted marriages alongside well rounded and developed kiddos.  For me and my husband, having a homesteading mindset is bringing us so much happiness as we build our life together. We believe there are certain lessons to be learned from this lifestyle and we’ve rounded up 7 reasons homesteading is great for the modern family.A little background to what got us to this point. My husband and I both grew up in small mountain towns near Yosemite.  With the harsh winters and warm summers, we both grew up with homesteading mind sets.  Dave’s family had chickens and goats. They grew vegetables and fruit, preserving their bounty for year round delight.  My family also had a vegetable garden and we often exchanged goods and labor for venison or canned goods from neighbors and friends.  Homesteading of some sort was a must in an area where you can’t always get fresh produce year round or even get out of your driveway in a snowstorm! (We’ve gone over a week without electricity, hello camping in the house!)

So here they are, 7 reasons homesteading is great for the modern family:

1.Homesteading builds a sense of community.  As you meet your farmers at the farmers’ market, exchange recipes with your neighbor, or trade your eggs for the fruit your friend grows; you’re building a community.  You are seeing first hand that life is so much more joyful when we share it with others.  In the age of social media, people are yearning for a “squad.”  We long to know and be known by people we can trust and support.  We learn and love and live life with this community and it brings a whole lot of fulfillment.  Homesteading and the skills associated with it are great ways to build your community and develop new and lasting friendships.

“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” ~Gertrude Jekyll

2.Your kids will learn some pretty hard core life skills. Your toddler will learn how to help collect eggs from your backyard coup while figuring out how to care for another living thing and your teen will thrive in adulthood having already learned how to grow, prep and cook their own food.  Kids and teens are really great at adapting and learning new things.  Homesteading offers a flexible environment for them to learn skills that they can use throughout their lives, whatever their learning style is. A successful homestead requires budgeting, planning, execution of said plan, partnering, education, innovation, and completion of projects.  These are all skills that will set them up to be pretty fantastic human beings and we all know we could use more of those in the world.

A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.    ~Liberty Hyde Bailey

3.It’s a time saver when it comes to dinner time. This is probably my husband’s favorite reason to homestead.  Instead of me having to send a last minute grocery list to him on his way home from work, I can usually come up with all those little ingredients that often get forgotten at the store.  Does your soup need some parsley? Go pick some.  Did you forget to grab the scallions?  I’ll go pick some.  Craving some fresh carrots to go with your steak and mashed potatoes?  Those are out back too.  After working for 8-12 hours a day; as the average working family does, the last thing anyone wants to do is fight traffic to the store, hope for a parking spot, stand in line at the register and then fight traffic back home.  Growing your own food, raising your own livestock and preserving your own harvest will save time. Or at the very least, it will be better spent time; time with family instead of time with your steering wheel.

4. It doesn’t require a whole lot of land.  While many family farms are many acres in size, homesteading, at its heart, doesn’t require you to purchase rural land to support your family. Homesteading is the plan to grow what you can, trade what you need to and just live as locally as possible.  For some families this means having potted plants on their apartment balcony.  For others it looks more like learning how to preserve the fruits and veggies that a friend has room to grow and sharing in the final product.  Remember point number 1…homesteading is all about community and doing what you can with what you have.

5. You’ll have a better view of what you’re actually eating.  Part of the reason we love homesteading is actually knowing what we’re eating.  Whether we grow it ourselves, exchange from a neighbor, or purchase from a local grower; we are building a better relationship with our food and how it’s produced.  More and more modern families are wanting to know what is on their table and what is going into their mouths. It’s a great way to learn what is in season and what is not.  Our grandparents knew exactly what an in-season tomato tasted like because they were only available in season.  While there are definite benefits to modern commerce and technology, we benefit from knowing food and what it is supposed to look and taste like.

6. There is a TON of information out there to help you get started… it’s convenient and often free for the taking. The desire for information is growing every day because it is so easy to attain.  Skills used to be passed down from one generation to the next within a family.  We were also limited by what our local area offered.  Then enters the internet, eBooks, newsletters, social media and so much more.  If you want to learn how to preserve your cucumbers and have more than one recipe to rely on, you have only to open your browser and search.  Need inspiration for how to use your freshly grown lettuce, beets and onions?  Instagram has more than one account to follow that will have your taste buds watering. Not to mention the vast library of books that are now available at your local branch.  With inter library systems, you don’t even have to travel to another city to borrow The Backyard Homestead (one of our favorites on the subject!) You can often go online and have it sent to your local branch.

7. It offers a slowed down activity for your fast paced and sometimes exhausting life. Most importantly to us and many families who start their homestead approach, it gives us the opportunity to slow down and see the details around us.  You get the chance to get dirty together and reap the fruits of hard work.  So many modern researchers have established that our bodies are meant for cycles of hard work and rest.  Sometimes we lose the cycle in our day-to-day schedules.  Having to tend a garden, raise chickens, feed goats or pigs, preserve foods etc. gives us the need to be patient and wait.  It also lends time to building relationships within your family.  You will have a chance to learn the likes and dislikes of each member in your unit.

Homesteading is a grand adventure!  It is one that brings satisfaction and joy, struggle and accomplishment. We hope you’ve enjoyed these tidbits.  Leave us a comment below about how you homestead.  We’d love to hear your ideas!

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