Micro-Steading

You may be very familiar with Micro-Steading already if you are one of the millions of individuals who grow produce and flowers in their own backyard.

It is estimated that there are approximately  18,000 community gardens in the U.S. and Canada alone. And this number is steadily growing.  Why? because folks in the U.S. are simply scared to death of what they are being fed by Big Agriculture and they are taking back the reins so to speak.

Myself? Lead me right to the containers.  Living in New Mexico I am bombarded with hungry wildlife, a lack of moisture and grasshoppers.  After losing many a veg I decided to contain everything. And for now, container gardening works great.

So Micro-Steading is homesteading within limitations.  Maybe you don’t have the time, the money (yes, the bigger the project, the more expensive), the land, the expertise,  or the climate to grow big.  So homesteading in a smaller environment makes sense.

The general homesteading philosophy works very well with Micro-Steading.  Homesteaders are frugal and most every full blown homestead started small and expanded from a base.  Usually that base was a vegetable garden.

Maybe it’s in our genes but there is something very organic and natural about gardening and homesteading.  Watching a seed come out of the ground and turn into something that can make a killer tomato sauce for that delicious eggplant parm recipe is not to be underestimated.

There is also often a real barrier to a large homestead which can make micro-steading more appealing,   and that is in the zoning laws you live in (more about that below).  Simply put, the chickens and the pigs are not welcome neighbors.

Have fun with Micro-Steading.  Small has nothing to do with the large-scale amount of joy you will receive.

You will enjoy Carleen Madigan’s Book “The Backyard Homestead, Produce all the Food You Need On a Quarter Acre.  Her mantra is grow more, on less space, with less work.  Sounds like a plan to me.  She helps you really look at the space around you.  If you don’t have a backyard maybe you have a patio, deck or balcony?  From having vegetables year round, to growing edible flowers, and making homemade cheese. This is a great starter read.  I’m pretty sure I will never be butchering my chickens (omelets only please) but yes, she even goes into that.

I remember when I purchased Brett Markham’s Mini Farming book over ten years ago.  I was scared to death of making a mistake so I started collecting gardening books.  What I realized was I was not going to learn anything until I started making those mistakes that I was too afraid to make.  I had to stop worrying about my entire garden being eaten by the herd of hungry deer that jump my 8 foot chain link fence.  It was all part of the process. Brett Markam takes the Mini Farm concept seriously.  Think about the words “Self-Sufficiency.”  I was hooked when I looked at the title stating you can do it on one-quarter acre.  From intensive agriculture to raising chickens to selling your produce, this book has it all.

The Weekend Homesteader by Anna Hess is really a planner.  If you only have weekends to dedicate to homesteading, she takes you through a one year journey to Weekend Homesteading.  If you have no idea where to start and you follow what ever parts of Anna’s planner that fits you, at the end of the year you have a small sustainable homestead.  Good stuff.

But before you do, a word of caution.

It is hard to believe (or maybe not hard to believe) that the seemingly patriotic right to garden or homestead has recently come under more and more government regulation.  Similar to certain rain catchment laws that have popped up over the last few years.

So before you dig up that nice soil in your front yard or backyard, understand your local zoning bylaws.  Here’s an article by Mother Earth News and one by Sustainable America that will give you a heads up on the subject.   For an in depth look at the subject, dive into Baylen Linneken’s book “Biting The Hand That Feeds You.”  Eye Opening.

I just want you to be informed.  Once you are informed, go for it.    Do not let rules, laws and regulations stop you from growing food in the earth that God gave us.  This is the world we live in.  Just know the laws and then you will understand your rights.  Work within the system.  The joy is far too great when you develop skills that  can feed yourself, your family, your friends and your neighbors!

Resources for you to learn about Homesteading:

Shared Earth Connecting Landowners with Gardeners and Farmers

National Garden Clubs

Planet Natural Research Center

Sustainable America Resources

Mother Earth News

Instructables Courses Under Homestead Section

For other series and books on Homesteading, check out Amazon’s recommendations.

BACK TO THE NEW FACE OF HOMESTEADING

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