10 Myths and Misconceptions about Homesteading
Some of you who are thinking about homesteading, but haven’t quite taken the plunge yet, might be stuck on some very common myths and misconceptions that float around. Well, I am here today to debunk them for you and I hope to make you even more inspired to homestead.
Myth #1 ~ You need a lot of land.
Absolutely not true! First off, I believe homesteading is mostly a mindset.
If you are living in a suburb and have a little garden and some fruit trees and herbs, that’s a homestead. If you live in a city and you grow some veggies in pots on your balcony and shop at a farmers market and make your own food and maybe some soap, you are homesteading. If you live on one acre, have a big garden, make your own food (most of the time) you are a homesteader.
Myth #2 ~ You can only “truly” homestead with free land.
This one is a matter of opinion. Sure there might be real sticklers out there who will say you aren’t a homesteader unless you do it on free land, but free land is nearly impossible to come by. If you want to be a homesteader but you can’t find free land, or you just want to start where you are in the middle of suburbia, then go for it! As I said, homesteading is a mindset, with no set in stone “rules”.
Myth #3 ~ You have to “prep for the zombie Apocolypse” to homestead.
Let me first say this, Not all homesteaders are “preppers” and not all “preppers” are homesteaders.
I mean, I love watching The Walking Dead as much as the next person (and does anyone else think Negan is simultaneously horrible and awesome?!) but do I really think there is an impending zombie apocalypse? Not really.
While I do think being prepared for emergencies is a smart thing for homesteaders (and everyone really) to do, I don’t believe all homesteaders are preparing for some huge unseen disaster, we just naturally like to “nest” and learn new skills and do things for ourselves instead of relying on the current system.
Myth #4 ~ You have to live off-grid.
Not necessarily. Again, this is a matter of opinion.
If you don’t feel like you are a homesteader until you are off-grid, then by all means, go for it! But, if it just isn’t in the cards for you right now or if it is just something that doesn’t appeal to you, that doesn’t mean you aren’t a homesteader.
We aren’t completely off-grid on our homestead (we have a woodstove to heat our house and we have a well and a septic system, but we are hooked up to the electrical grid, for now) Thankfully our local electricity source is fairly eco-friendly as we run off of a hydro-electric dam, but that is a discussion for another day.
Myth #5 ~ You need to have skills before you homestead or you need to come from a farming background.
Absolutely not true. Even way back when the original homesteaders were claiming their land here in North America. They weren’t all farmers nor did they all inherently know the skills. They obtained their skills by doing and reading and living and learning!
One of my favorite movies is Far and Away and (Spoiler alert!) my favorite part of the whole movie is when the potential homesteaders are all lined up and ready to race to claim their land. They weren’t all farmers or ranchers. They were bankers and lawyers, rich and poor, riding horses with just the clothes on their backs, riding bicycles, or riding carriages full of belongings ready to settle down. They were all “homesteaders”.
Myth #6 ~ Homesteading is hard and you can’t have a full-time job outside your home.
Let me first say this, homesteading IS hard sometimes. Especially when you are trying to juggle a “modern life” or learn new skills or when you lose an animal. There is such a broad spectrum of what constitutes as a homesteader as I mentioned above. But the reality is that homesteading costs money, whether you are starting from scratch and have no mortgage or already have some property.
My husband works full-time as a logger and he volunteers for our local fire department. I work full-time currently as a homeshare provider for an adult with developmental disabilities (which is partly in our home and partly outside the home). I’m also going to school part-time (online Medical Transcription) and I do this blog as well as volunteer for a couple organizations in our community, we also have three kids and we are STILL homesteaders.
Myth #7 ~ Homesteading is easy and doesn’t take much time.
Hahaha! Sorry, I just had to laugh at that one. Homesteading definitely takes time and it certainly isn’t easy all the time. Given that and what I said above, homesteading can be integrated into your life in many different ways.
Homesteading definitely takes time and it certainly isn’t easy all the time. Given that and what I said above, homesteading can be integrated into your life in many different ways.
Myth #8 ~ You have to be 100% self-sufficient.
Not at all. Homesteaders certainly have an independent mind-set, but they also have a community mind-set as well. Whether it is sharing knowledge or tools or trading goods or sharing labor I think most homesteaders thrive in a community of like-minded people willing to share and help each other out.
Myth #9 ~ You can’t make a living as a homesteader.
From growing and selling at Farmer’s Markets and craft fairs (vegetables,fruits, eggs, meat, honey, maple syrup, personal care items, soaps, candles, knitting/crocheting etc) to marketing your building or designing skills as a tradesperson (carpenter, plumber, permaculture designer, etc) there are many many ways to make a living as a homesteader.
Are you going to be a millionaire from homesteading? Probably not, but if your standard of living is fairly low you can certainly make a living.
Myth #10 ~ You have to be a hippie, homeschooler, vegetarian or whatever label misconception you can come up with.
Again, as I said above, homesteading is for anyone and can be anything you want it to be. Why do we need to put labels on everyone anyways?
Homesteading is simply ” a home, town, village with a bit of land adequate for the maintenance of a family” as defined by the Homestead Act of 1862.
Do you agree with these myths about homesteading? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!