• Gisa Seeholzer

The Independent Suburban Homesteader

The increase in technology and the dependency on grocery markets and farmers markets leaves little control over the health benefits of many families. The amount of trust we put into today's local markets is enormous.

The economy wants you to continue to spend and spend and spend. In fact, consuming more goods according to most corporations is suppose to make you feel a sense of accomplishment. Congratulations you bought a Mercedes so you must be someone special!

Truth is even those with lots of money are miserable and unhappy. While the middle class fights for less taxes and more pay they forget how much knowledge they were bestowed with while growing up. Critical thinking and researching have been lost among the majority of humanity. So what does this have to do with suburban homesteading? A lot.

Homesteading allows a family to thrive with a one income source, allows for more quality family time, and teaches everyone the benefits of what life truly has to offer. Homesteading is not about hitting that seven figure income, it's a sense of self accomplishment and a respect for earth and its inhabitants. Let's look at two benefit of suburban homesteading.

Saving Money

Starting a homestead consists of growing your own food and making your own products. I would recommend starting with an organic garden this is the first step down the rabbit hole of homesteading. There are many different types of organic vegetable gardens to consider depending on your available space. I have always felt that more land and less home is always better than more home and less land. However, we are not all able to afford a large acreage of land. Vertical gardening, container gardening, raised bed gardening, hydroponics, greenhouses, and plot gardening are all different types of organic gardening that will help you achieve an active organic garden for your household.

Grow vegetables and fruits that are in season. Biology does not always follow the rules, but this is where research and critical thinking come into play. Where do you live? What grows best in your area? What are your seasons like? Here in southern California we are fortunate enough to have a year round growing season. In cold areas the benefits of indoor hydroponics and greenhouses can help with growing year round.

Growing your own produce will increase your nutrients and give you control over the produce that you ingest. Growing organically with non-gmo starts and seeds without pesticides can increase your health more than you know. Financially, you will not be purchasing produce at the market anymore as you have all you need at your home.

Growing a garden is only the first step. Next you want to tackle some of the other foods that you purchase regularly. Building and housing chickens is the next step. Chickens have many benefits to the home as well as to the garden. Chicken eggs as well as the chickens can be consumed as protein in your diet. Chicken poop can be utilized in your garden plot to increase nitrogen levels. Chickens will even eat some of the produce scraps from your garden.

You can also raise rabbits, micro pigs, and dwarf goats to achieve the same or similar products. Having goats is beneficial for those of you who need grazing done on their land and who love to consume milk, butter, and cheese. For those who love pollinators and honey look into beekeeping. This rewarding hobby has a ton of benefits to homesteaders. Consuming pollen and honey is great for your health. Also, these little buzzy bees can pollinate your entire orchard and garden.

After you become comfortable with your new organic garden and choice in small beneficial animals you can then move on to making your own products. Making lotions, balms, salves, soaps, shampoos, and makeup can also save you a lot of money at the grocery store and again you can control what ingredients you use. Many of the skincare and makeup products that are cost effective contain cancer causing chemicals or irritants. This can be easily remedied through making your own products. The best news is you can grow flowers , root vegetables, and herbs for these products.

For those of you who are into eco-friendly furniture taking workshops and courses on woodwork can eventually save you money in having an onsite homesteading workshop. A homesteading workshop allows you to save money on purchasing furniture as well as smaller buildings from sheds to greenhouses to animal shelters.

Quality Family Time

Today, many families in suburban areas feel that they need two incomes to be able to "fit it." It is very possible for suburban families to have one income. Of course, that means they need to give up some unnecessary luxuries.

Quality time with your family is important, especially the relationship between parents and their children. Homesteading allows parents to bond, teach, and form strong work ethic with their children. Children learn to trust parents and don't feel abandon during the day. Most suburban children are carted off to school for seven plus hours, five times a week and that does not include the extra-curricular activities they are signed up for.

Hearing parents complain about having their children home during summer or the stress they put on their children to get into the best schools is completely ridiculous. A child wants you to love them and spend time with them. They have a million questions and when you don't know the answer, researching with your children teaches them to gather information and critically think. Planning and planting gardens, building furniture or structures, feeding and caring for animals, harvesting honey, or even making preserves can be done as a family. These activities produce quality family time and will be imprinted memories into each family members minds.

I know everyone has their own way of living, but for a moment think about eating food, drinking water, and breathing in air that won't have harmful effects on your body. If you still want that greasy burger or those chili cheese fries from the nearby fast food restaurant in that overly populated city, fine. However, think about how your life choices will shorten your time spent with family, how it mentally messes with your mind, and how it could also effect those you love who also ingest it. Now think about a time when you made something for yourself, that accomplishment is like nothing else. Not even getting into an Ivy League or winning the Lottery could make you feel that way. Homesteading allows you and your family to feel that accomplishment everyday and it's a continued example to the future that happiness is not what our society feeds to us everyday it's what we make it to be.


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