A look into the past
Lets redefine the modern homestead. First, we have to look into the past. Throughout history, families and homes look different from what we have today. There were multi-generational families, where the kids would learn and consistently be around older members of the family. The homes produced for the family. It was hard work to keep the homestead functioning. The homes of the past produced gardens, meat, eggs and close knit family units. Families worked together to make sure they had what they needed for the coming winter. This kind of home required people to be renaissance men or a jack of many trades and a master of some. It required people to build skills along with a strong sense of community to support each other.
Today, we have homes that take instead of give. We generally hire other people to fix our problems. We buy our food from a store. The focus of how we survive hinges on systems outside of our control. How do we change that? How do we build a productive homestead? What comes to mind when we hear about a modern homestead? A farm? A house with a garden and some livestock? The modern homestead needs a fresh look. We should be thinking how can we have our homes produce instead of take.
Is modern agriculture the answer?
No. Modern agriculture is devastating. Things changed between the 1930’s and the late 1960’s as modern technologies were introduced to make farming easier. As a result, the small farmer was out competed by the large corporate farms. All of this progress does not come without faults. The heavy use of synthetic fertilizers were produced to sustain monoculture crops like soy, corn and wheat which caused soil depletion. What modern agriculture really is, is the cultivation of fields. Fields that become barren land. If modern agriculture is not the answer, then what is?
You can solve all the world’s problems in a garden.Geoff Lawton
What is the solution?
There is probably more than one solution to these issues. But I can tell you where it begins. It begins, with you. Take steps into turning your home into a homestead. Over time, transform your home into a place that produces instead of takes. One purpose of Among the Homestead is to chronicle the journey as I build my own homestead. As I build content, I will explore different ways to design the life I want to live. Begin by learning about food production and plant propagation. Grow some plants! Horticulture is the cultivation of plants. The focus needs to shift form agriculture to horticulture.
The quote by Geoff Lawton says, “You can solve all the world’s problems in a garden.” Many people mistake the message that he was trying to convey. It doesn’t say that we can fix all the problems with a garden, but in a garden. What does it take to build a garden? It requires us to be resourceful, learn new skills and problem solve. All of those skills, if used elsewhere can help remedy a lot of different problems.
Do we need the right to food?
We all have the right to food. Sounds good, but is it? Currently, we have the right to food from the system. However, since the right of food is given it means that we are not in control of our food. We saw some food shortages already happen due to disruptions in the supply chain in 2020. Instead of the right to food it should be the right to grow food. Then the power shifts to the homesteader that is designing a system that produces. The goal is to reduce your reliance on systems that support your life or homestead. Think in percentages, not totality. When you get chickens, design it so that you grow some of their food instead of relying on the store to buy feed. Reduce your reliance.
I am not sure if this is an exact figure but I heard this in a podcast earlier this week. Marjory Wildcraft said, “If 1/3 of people had chickens, the need for eggs from the store would go away.” Again I am not sure if this is the exact quote or figure but the point remains the same. Reduce your reliance by growing some of your own food. It begins with you.
When you have created The Shire, give me a call, I’ll be there barefoot and all!
I have included some extra resources to get you motivated to transform your home to homestead.
You can spend your whole life traveling around the world searching for the Garden of Eden, or you can create it in your backyard.Khang Kijarro Nguyen
Sitting at our back doorsteps, all we need to live a good life lies about us. Sun, wind, people, buildings, stones, sea, birds and plants surround us. Cooperation with all these things brings harmony, opposition to them brings disaster and chaos.Bill Mollison