What Is Homesteading?

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“What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘Homesteading’?” What is Homesteading?!

That’s the question I asked on our Facebook page the other day.

The answers ranged from:

Little House on the Prairie,” 


Self sustainable. Living off the land. Growing and raising and processing your own foods. Little to no waste. Teaching and raising children in it as well. A family ordeal.” 

what is homesteading
Growing our own food in the city on a small scale. 

What Is Homesteading?

Homesteading will mean different things to different people. 

As a girl, it involved growing 80+ acres of crops, raising hogs from farrow to finish, and preserving a cold cellar full of canned vegetables and fruit each year.

It involved a lot of time in the garden, picking weeds, tippin’ and tailin’ beans, and being surrounded by animals. We had goats, pigs, cats, dogs, chickens (later on) – even pet birds and a hermit crab for a time!

For fun, we made forts in the hay loft, spent hours on the swing set, took turns riding in the combine with our Grandpa and Uncles, and drove our bicycles up and down our long lane way. 

I suppose my childhood home is what most people would consider to be the idyllic homestead. 

My childhood farm in the 90’s!

When we got married, I moved from the country to the city.

There was no room for tractors or chicken coops, but there were multiple homesteading practices we could still engage in, just on a smaller scale.

Homesteading doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” affair.  

No matter where we live, there will always be things we can do to:

  • decrease our dependency on others for daily needs 
  • “take dominion” over, and steward the natural resources God has blessed us with
urban garden
Our first raised veggie bed in the city!

Definition of Homesteading 

Those two thoughts helped us shape our own definition of Homesteading. We started to think of it as:

Homesteadinghohm-sted-ing ] noun. A lifestyle that helps families grow together, inside and out. 

That definition of homesteading also helped us cast a bigger vision for Northern Nester.

We’d love to see families:

  • a) build relationships and community in healthy, wholesome ways  
  • b) take dominion over and care for God’s Creation with sustainable, and environmentally friendly practices such as:
    • growing, cooking, and preserving food
    • learning traditional skills such as sewing, carpentry, and other handicrafts
    • finding and creating non-toxic solutions for common household challenges
    • alleviating debt by creating multiple income streams
    • learning alongside the next generation    
Breeding rabbits in the city: one of the few, farm-like business adventures our kids could do legally in town!

Read more about how to get started with Rabbit Breeding, here! 

Homesteading Begins With A Mindset 

We firmly believe Homesteading is something everyone can engage in wherever you are, with whatever you have.  

If everyone must wait until they can afford a pasture and a milk cow before they’re considered Homesteaders, most would feel that the beauty and reward of growing your own food and strengthening family culture is beyond their reach.

It took 12 years of marriage before we could afford a piece of land large enough to keep chickens and grow enough food to preserve, but we didn’t wait until we could jump all in before we started implementing sustainable practices. 

Here’s a post I wrote about the {crazy} ways we saved up to purchase land and build a house! 

Our city garden on Canada Day, July 1
Our little city garden on Canada Day, July 1st

You might not be able to grow all your own food, but you can grow some.

You might not be able to keep chickens, but you can support a local farmer and purchase nutritionally loaded eggs instead commercially produced ones. 

You might not be able to sew your own clothes, but you can purchase them second hand, or buy them ethically made. 

You might not be able to home educate your children, but you can teach them skills and values beyond what they learn in a textbook.

The very first head of lettuce we ever harvested from our city garden!

People over products.

Creation over convenience.

Learning how to think instead of what to think. 

Every day, whether we realize it or not, we make decisions that will either increase our family freedoms or limit them.

Homesteading is a family-friendly, liberty loving lifestyle. It starts with a mindset, not a pasture and a dairy cow. If that’s something that ticks the box for you, we’d love to have you along for the ride.

Let’s do this together!  

{Feel free to follow our Home Build on Instagram (we’re on Month 2!), join our Facebook Page, or subscribe to our email list!} 

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