Provide food for you and your family from the comfort of your suburban home – a microhomestead.
We’ve all seen the beautiful homestead Instagram feeds and thought to ourselves, “Wow. Wouldn’t that be nice?” You know the ones I’m talking about. The chickens curiously looking at you. The bountiful fall harvest with the roots still attached. We all think that a green thumb and farm fresh eggs is synonymous with owning 30 acres and having an extensive agriculture background. And I’m here to tell you something – it isn’t.
What is a Microhomestead?
A microhomestead is typically recognized as someone producing their own food on less than 5 acres. The “food” doesn’t matter – poultry, produce, etc.
Why would you want one?
Thanks to a pandemic and subsequent supply chain issues, new light has been shed on the average American’s access to things like meat, produce, and other creature comforts we thoughtlessly put in our carts.
Some days, shelves would be barren. Some days, they weren’t. The stunted access made us question our current dependence on the international food system. What would we do if this were to disappear from store shelves forever? What if we were forced to grow our own food? Could we make this ourselves?
Our family wasn’t put in between a rock and a hard place. But we were now at a point in our lives where we knew there were going to be supply issues coming down the line. We could either subject our lives to them or take responsibility for what we could control and mitigate coming change. If you feel the same way, you want to start your microhomestead.
Tips for starting your microhomestead
We get it – feeding your family is a big deal. But making decisions fueled by fear will lead you to chase rabbits and maybe even spend money on rabbits. Both of which you may not need to do.
Tip #1 – Craft a plan
Any good homestead is created with two things in mind – sustainability and growth. Our first year on our homestead, we introduced chickens. Our four chickens – Sweet Potato, Doughnut, Green Bean and Cosmo – were more than enough of a learning curve for one year. The second year on our homestead, we hatched chicks from a broody hen and had a container garden. Now in to our third year, we’re attempting a large garden. But with each stage of growth, we aren’t moving forward until we are confident in the skills we’ve developed.
Tip #2 – Invest in what means something to you
Would you grow 100 pounds of green beans for your family if you don’t like green beans? I hope your answer is a resounding NO. So would you consider starting a homestead based around something you can’t spark any interest in? Again, I hope your answer is a resounding NO.
So, where do you start?
Our family has always admired animals from afar. We love watching them interact with each other. We love admiring God’s creation. So naturally, we decided to start our homestead with chickens. After looking in to our city’s animal ordinances and crunching a few numbers in our budget, we confirmed that was where we needed to start.
But if animals aren’t a passion of yours (yet), consider starting a garden. Or looking in to bees. Or starting a cut flower garden. There are several different avenues you can go down before investing in poultry and livestock.
Tip #3 Be prepared to fail
One of the greatest, and toughest, lessons homestead life will teach you is how grueling some parts of life truly are.
It can be something simple like neglecting to weed your garden. Or it can be something devastating, like disease wiping out your flock. Whatever your failure may be, be prepared to fail. There should be an outright expectation that something you’re doing may not work. If you do this, you’re laying an incredible foundation for you and your microhomestead.
But how does failure help?
First, you eliminate a lot of the shock and awe that comes with failure. “But my family – they need to be fed!” “But this gardening method – it was full proof!” Expecting failure prompts us to move to the second best part of your new life foundation – you learn to pivot. (For a few lessons on how we had to pivot, read this post.)
When you realize something may be salvageable, the elbow grease comes out. The odds and ends materials laying around your garage suddenly have purpose. The crazy idea you had a few months ago and held on to is now coming to life. Learning to breathe new life into your homestead will show you how resilient you and your family truly are.
Bonus tip – Embrace the winds of change
Finally, learn to go with the flow. So much of homesteading relies on things like the weather and animal-related diseases. Modern homesteading is impacted by things like feed production, product regulation and sometimes even law. While we love this life and the freedoms it often provides us, there are some nuances we must learn to forge farther toward independence. But sometimes, there’s just too much (or too little) rain.
Read here for tips on how to get your chickens through the winter. Was our first, in-ground garden a success? Read here to find out. If you want to keep up the conversation on social media, find me on Facebook and Instagram!
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