As an aspiring homesteader, you may be looking at property online right now with the hope of developing a completely self-sufficient lifestyle.
And you may be asking yourself, “is it really possible to live off the land in the 21st century?”
Well, it’s not easy, but it is still possible to live a simple, sufficient lifestyle in this day and age.
But there is a lot that you will need to know in order to do so.
To help you get started, below are 7 things to think about before living off the land.
1. Find the Right Parcel of Land
You can’t start a productive homestead on a barren parcel of land.
First, you will need to decide how much land you need.
This will depend on your location, what you want to do with the land, how many crops and what type you will be looking to grow, whether you want to have animals, etc.
You will then need to make sure you buy land with high-quality soil, especially if you are growing crops.
On top of this, there are a number of other things to look out for when purchasing vacant land, such as whether there are easements, wetlands, flooding, access issues, etc.
Take some time to research proper land buying due diligence before putting any money down.
2. Learn to Grow Your Own Food
Unless you already know how to grow crops, this is another step that comes with a steep learning curve.
The first thing you can do to help ensure success is make sure you are purchasing property in the right climate for the food you want to grow.
You may also want to know your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone so you can make a plan for year-round growing.
Finally, it could be worthwhile to find a mentor to help guide you through your first couple of crop cycles.
Otherwise, it’s going to be a lot of trial and error.
3. Make Sure You Have Water
If you are fortunate, you will find a parcel of land that already has access to water, either via a public water main or a well.
However, many rural parcels will come without utilities installed.
So you will need to think about drilling a well and whether you can afford the cost.
If you are raising crops, you will also need to think about a water supply for irrigation.
Depending on the well you drill and the amount and type of crops you are growing, the well may not be large enough to supply all of your water needs.
Be sure to understand your projected water usage as well as the available supply before jumping into homesteading.
4. Learn to Repurpose Items
Becoming self-sufficient for many folks means being able to supply your own household goods.
The first step to doing this is learning how to repurpose what you already have so you don’t need to go out and buy more supplies.
This may require learning some basic skills, such as sewing, leather working, welding, carpentry, etc.
The more real-world knowledge you have, the easier it will be to become self-sufficient.
5. Develop Basic Medical Skills
If you are looking to become completely self-sufficient, you will likely want to know how to patch yourself up.
You may also be far from the nearest hospital, so knowing at least the basics could save your life!
At the very least, you should be proficient in CPR, how to stop heavy bleeding, the Heimlich maneuver, treating shock and hypothermia, and knowing the signs of a stroke or heart attack.
6. Have a Business Plan
It is unlikely that you will be able to completely negate the need for money.
So, if you are going to move off grid and quit your job, it is a good idea to think of a few ways you can generate income.
Selling excess produce and animal products is a good start, but there are a number of other creative ways to support yourself.
These may include starting a blog or freelancing if you still have access to the internet, teaching classes or hosting events, or opening up your house as a Bed and Breakfast.
You could also consider becoming a land investor.
7. Understand Your Options for Waste Disposal
Most rural lots will not have access to a public sewer system.
Often, the best option in this situation is a septic system, but some homesteaders are looking for a more natural alternative (such as composting or incinerator toilets).
Just keep in mind that many counties will not allow these kinds of waste disposal methods.
So, be sure to check all rules and regulations around waste disposal.
Also, be sure that your property will pass a perc test if you do go with a septic system.
This Is Just the Start
Homesteading is a big step, especially if you have never done anything like it before.
There is a lot to learn, but, fortunately, there are many resources out there.
The most important thing to know is that it is possible to live off the land.
Just take your time and get all the information you need before setting out.