Print This Page

HOMESTEADING DEFINED

"It's not a single idea, but many ideas and attitudes, including a reverence for nature and a preference for country life; a desire for maximum personal self-reliance and creative leisure; a concern for family nurture and community cohesion; a certain hostility toward luxury; a belief that the primary reward of work should be well-being rather than money; a certain nostalgia for the supposed simplicities of the past and an anxiety about the technological and bureaucratic complexities of the present and the future; and a taste for the plain and functional."  --- JD Belanger, Countryside Magazine

"Over the last hundred years or so, the term "homesteading" has evolved to a new meaning, and there are about as many interpretations as there are homesteaders. To us, the modern homesteader is someone who strives for autonomy; to become as self-sufficient and self-confident as possible. We don't mean by this that all folks calling themselves homesteaders are automatically enrolled in some sort of worldwide self-sufficiency contest, either. Each person has to decide just how far he or she wishes to take self-sufficiency...To us, "homesteader" might be the antithesis to "consumer." Even the term "consumer" implies that one only consumes: continually buys, uses up, and buys more. A true consumer gives nothing back to the planet in return. A homesteader, on the other hand, creates, nourishes, and nurtures. A homesteader is a worthy steward to the Earth." --- Skip Thomsen and Cat Freshwater, The Modern Homestead Manual

"Homesteading has more than one meaning. It used to mean qualifying for free government land because you lived on it, built a house on it, and so on. Now it means living on the land and trying for at least some degree of home production of your needs, especially food. When people who were raised in cities try to accomplish that, I believe it can be every bit as much of a challenge for them as crossing the plains was for our pioneer ancestors. People go to all kinds of places to do their homesteading: the suburbs of their city, the mountains of Appalachia or the western United States, the northeastern United States, the Midwest, northern California, Alaska, Canada, Mexico. No matter where you are or go -- if you can grow a garden and raise some animals, you're a homesteader. And a fortunate human being!" --- Carla Emery, The Encyclopedia of Country Living