Homesteaders pride themselves on being self reliant or they are trying to get that way.
So when an article came out this summer in Forbes that questioned the self-reliance of homesteaders, some feathers got ruffled. You can read the article here: Dear Homesteaders, Self-Reliance is a Delusion.
Melissa K. Norris discussed this article on her podcast: Pioneering Today Podcast. I think she totally nailed it on her rebuttal. You should definitely take a listen.
But this podcast made me think, “should homesteaders really be totally self-reliant?”
After considering this idea for a few weeks, I’ve come to the conclusion that no, they shouldn’t.
Homesteaders do many things to become more self-reliant. Some homesteaders even live off grid totally so that they don’t have to rely on the government for their power or water.
One of the core ideals of homesteading is learning to do things for yourself so that you don’t need to rely on others to do it for you.
What can we do to be more self-reliant?
- Grow your own food-by growing your own food in a large garden or small farm, you rely on yourself to know what is used to grow your food. You don’t have to worry about GMOs or pesticides in your food.
- Raise animals for food, manure and labor-by raising your own chickens, rabbits, bees, goats, cattle, etc you ensure that they have a quality life and humane death. You can also use their byproducts, such as eggs, fur, bones, milk and manure to benefit your family.
- Make your own clothing, blankets, cleaning and beauty products-making your own products helps you know every detail of what is used to make the product. You can also customize these products to your family’s needs (allergies, size, etc.)
- Preserve the food you raised to last for the winter-by saving and preserving you food, you won’t have to go to the grocery store for these things which makes your homestead more self sustaining.
- Use less electricity by heating with wood and drying your clothes on the line-by learning how to work without power, you are one step ahead in case there is a power outage or shortage in your area.
- Live debt free-when you live without debt, you have more freedom to do what you want with your time and energy. You can live more frugally and live on less.
- Cook your own meals from scratch-when you cook from scratch, you rely on your own skills instead of packaged foods from the grocery store or paying to eat at a restaurant.
- Use old fashioned means of entertainment-who needs tv or video games when you can watch your chickens, read a book or sing songs together for entertainment?
- Use herbs and essential oils to stay healthy-using alternative means of staying healthy will keep you from needing the medical community for every little ailment.
- Reuse and repurpose items so that you don’t have to buy as much-waste not, want not. By reusing and repurposing things you already have, you can save money on buying new things you don’t need.
Can homesteaders live alone and only rely on themselves and no one else for their sustenance and livelihood?
Yes, but that isn’t the best way to live.
No one really needs to be totally self-reliant. If the SHTF, we want to use our local economy to continue life as we know it. We want to buy or barter things from our neighbors, trade labor and entertainment and share our knowledge and abundance with those around us. If we hide out in our own little world now, we won’t know who has certain skills that we don’t have. We won’t have fostered those relationships that we may need later. The saying “no man is an island” goes for homesteaders too.
Can you live like a hermit with no contact or help from the outside world? Yes, but why would you want to?Should Homesteaders Really Be Totally Self-Reliant? No, and here's why! #homesteading Click To Tweet
Homesteading is about community and using your local resources to help each other.
Self-reliance is a goal to work towards, but I don’t think you would want to be totally self reliant. Community and family are very important parts of homesteading that you might miss out on if you were totally self-reliant or self-sufficient.
As a modern homesteader, I continue to strive to do as much as I can for myself and my family while also realizing what resources I can use in my local community to increase quality of life. This should be the reason we as homesteaders do what we do each day: Community and Family.
Do you strive to be totally self-reliant? Please let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!