More and more people are dreaming about their own homestead but not everyone can make the move right now. The good news is that you don’t need hundreds of acres to start cultivating a homestead mentality. Whether you live in an apartment, townhome or suburban neighborhood, we’ve got a few tips for homesteading in small spaces so you can start embracing that pioneering spirit today.
Do your research
You may be enamored with the idea of having your own land to cultivate, but how much do you know about the day-to-day reality of homesteading?
Think about the things that inspire you to want this lifestyle and start doing your research. Read books and blogs from homesteaders on topics that interest you – like gardening, raising animals or preserving food. You can even download podcasts to listen and learn as you drive, do chores or exercise.
Grow your own food
Have you ever tried to grow something from seed? Even apartment dwellers can try their hand at growing some of their own food. Herbs are simple enough to grow in a kitchen windowsill and sprouts are hardy little greens that you can grow in a jar. If you have room for flower boxes or vertical planters on a balcony, you can experiment with everything from radishes and strawberries to spinach and green onions.
If you have enough room for containers or raised beds, pick one or two vegetables, fruits or greens that you enjoy and commit to growing them at home. Tomatoes and peppers often do well in large containers with adequate soil and drainage, and the sky is the limit if you have room for raised beds or a dedicated garden patch.
Make staples from scratch
Even if you can’t buy the land of your dreams right now, you can learn some of the skills that would prove beneficial when the time comes. Learn how to make things like bread, pizza dough, or granola, and try drying your own spices for cooking later.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you may even want to learn how to make a few varieties of cheese or try your hand at making yogurt. You can find an abundance of resources online or at the local bookstore, and some retailers even offer beginner cheesemaking kits to help you.
See more: How to Make Chicken Broth From Scratch
Raise backyard chickens or honeybees
Backyard chickens and honeybees are a whole lot of fun, but they are also a serious time commitment. But if you’re interested and your local ordinances allow it, you can try your hand at animal husbandry on a small scale with a few chickens or single hive.
In addition to providing you and your family with fresh eggs and honey, raising a few animals in the backyard will give you the opportunity to decide if you want to eventually take on more responsibility or if you would rather stick to the vegetable patch and purchase animal products from local producers.
Note: It’s important to do your research prior to bringing home any new animals.
Support local producers
One of the best things you can do for the agriculture industry is support your local producers with your dollars. You may not be able to grow or raise all the food you need on your small homestead, but you can sign up for a CSA or supplement your grocery shopping with produce, eggs, meat and honey from local farmers markets.
Purchasing from local farmers and ranchers in your area also gives you the chance to learn what it’s like to live off the land. Many producers are more than willing to talk to their customers and answer any questions they might have about homesteading.