Homesteading Between Prepping and Self-Reliance


There’s a lot of overlap in the communities of homesteading, prepping/self-reliance, and survival. Each genre has similar end goals: self reliance and ‘making it through.’ I have long said that Homesteading Leads to Preparedness, but I’ve heard people say preparedness leads to homesteading, too. The truth is, there is a way to have it all keep things balanced.

Many would argue that they are completely different lifestyles and mindsets. Those I have spoken to who actually live the lifestyle say that one does tend to naturally lead to another. In truth, both have either similar or outright common goals. Hollywood has made preppers out to be gun-toting, bunker-building extremists. On the other side, homesteading is portrayed as a romantic story of struggle and overcoming nature and the odds to “make it.” Those who seek to be “self-reliant” are often shown to be isolationists or extremists who shun modern society and want to live so rural that they have to go out of their way to see another human.

Homesteading, as the term is used today, is a good balance of all these mindsets and end goals of being prepared for the unknown and trying to be more self-reliant. Self reliance is at the base of homesteading in that you are using the land you own to provide most of your needs instead of relying solely on imported goods. You trade your time for food and other needs instead of using your time to work for someone else and then buy the food.

Problem solving and flexibility are the most important skills.

Homesteading also fits in perfectly with the preparedness lifestyle. You are constantly thinking ahead to the next season, the next harvest, the next canning session, the next year’s goals. You gain the skills you need such as animal husbandry, gardening, and food preservation to be prepared for the upcoming winter. All of these skills build upon each other and are highly valued by those in the preparedness community. In the end though, problem solving and flexibility are the most important skills no matter which lifestyle you prefer! Part of being “prepared for the unknown” is being flexible enough adapt to situations as they arise!

Prepared, self-reliant, homesteading….it really is all one in the same and most people who head down one of these paths learn pretty quickly that they are not able to do it all alone – even the historic homesteaders had to go to the store for cloth and salt! Of course there are those who tend toward the extreme.

If you’re too rigid, you’ll break instead of bend when the unforeseen happens! Embrace the parts of all the genres that make sense and fit with what you are trying to build. To blindly disregard something because it’s labeled “prepper” is just silly and rather goes against what you’re trying to accomplish.

Homesteading, as it is defined today, is truly the happy medium. You learn skills, provide more of your needs for yourself, and gain back control over your own life. No matter which way you tend to prefer, everyone can agree that there is real value in it all!


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