Do you feel an inward pull toward homesteading, but believe you can only live vicariously through friends or people you watch online? Are you tired of watching this lifestyle from afar and need a starting point? Maybe you feel ready to take small steps towards being more self-sufficient, but don’t see how there is any way you can start homesteading without land.
I have heard things like this from several people lately. They clearly have a longing for and fascination with all things farm, homestead, self-sufficiency, and simple living. But the problem is, they don’t know what to do or how to start. Either they are living in a small space with absolutely no land, or they feel like they don’t have the time and support they need.
What is homesteading and what’s the appeal?
The modern definition of homesteading is simply living a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. This is something that can only be accomplished in stages–it definitely doesn’t all happen at once. As homesteaders, we should always be in process. What this means is that in order to be a homesteader you simply have to be working towards living a more self-sufficient life. Even if you’re only 5% of the way there, you aren’t any less of a homesteader as long as you’re learning and growing!
The great thing about homesteading is, there are really no rules on exactly how you do it. You can start as small or as big as you like. And despite popular belief, you don’t have to own a lot of land to get started. So, let’s talk through a few ways that you can get started with absolutely no land at all.
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Start container gardening
If you’ve never done much vegetable gardening, you may be under the impression that in order to grow a lot of food you have to have a dedicated garden plot. Meaning, you need at least a little bit of land. But this is simply not true! Container gardening is the perfect way to start homesteading without land.
There are so many varieties of vegetables that grow well in containers. Now, for many crops you will need access to adequate sunlight (at least 6 hours a day). So an uncovered patio is the perfect place to try your hand at growing some veggies!
Vegetables that grow well in containers
Varieties To Try
Tiny Tim, Bushsteak, Gardener’s Delight
Cal Wonder, Jalapeño, Ancho Grande
Any bush variety
Any (these often do well in a regular 5 gallon bucket)
You can also grow just about any type of leafy green, like lettuce, kale, or spinach in containers. There are also many herbs like parsley, basil, and thyme that can be grown indoors in a windowsill year-round.
If you follow me on Instagram or YouTube you know how much of a fan I am of the Greenstalk Vertical Gardening System! Now that they offer a 7 tier option, you could grow up to 42 plants in 2 square feet. Isn’t that amazing?!
Greenstalk has graciously given a special promotional code for my readers, so if you ever decide to purchase be sure to use code GROWINGDAWN for an additional $10 off your order!
Buy and consume locally
If you can’t grow or raise your own food, remember that there are always local farmers around willing to sell to you. Mass food factories are not sustainable and often don’t support healthy growing practices. Unfortunately, even whole foods like meat and dairy products are grown and harvested in ways that are either unethical, unhealthy, or both.
Small, local growers often follow much more sustainable practices, just as you would raise the food yourself if you were doing it on your own land. Here are a few links to check out if you are looking for local meat, dairy, and produce sources:
Learn how to cook
Homesteading can be a very traditional, old-fashioned way of life in the best sense. In the days of old, nearly every family was responsible for growing their own food, and you better believe they didn’t let it go to waste. In order to preserve and use as much as possible, they had to know how to prepare it.
Even if you aren’t growing or raising anything yet, you can learn the art of healthy cooking. There’s really no excuse not to, with so many delicious recipes at our fingertips these days. Take those herbs you bought at the store or grew in your kitchen windowsill and figure out how to use them. Take advantage of sales on organic food or stock up on seasonal produce and make the most of it.
One thing I personally love about cooking is that I can really be creative. I’ve been cooking for my family for years and I am no longer afraid to experiment with different combinations of ingredients. You shouldn’t be either! Really, I’m often surprised at how delicious something I was just testing turns out.
Like I said, cooking is more of an art than a science. Failures do happen, but rarely does something turn out completely inedible. And the more you practice, the better your food will be–I promise. So just start.
If you have a yard but no acreage, you can raise egg-laying hens in movable chicken pens or houses. You can also raise rabbits for meat or simply to breed and sell. Since they primarily stay in cages, they take up hardly any space. I have even seen people raise chickens and rabbits in carports or outbuildings.
You can grow useful and medicinal herbs in a beautiful front flowerbed like we did or you can offer to work in a community garden with a friend that has a little more outdoor space. The key here is to think outside the box as to how you can practice homesteading without land. Don’t be afraid to get creative or try to do something you’ve never seen done before.
Always be learning
Finally, if you aren’t sure how to start homesteading without land, you can always invest time into learning. If you know what your goals are, start diving deeper into the hows and whys of specific aspects of homesteading. That will inspire you to take the next action step, as opposed to just letting vague ideas float around in your head.
I loved the book Modern Homesteading because it is beautiful to look at and has plenty of concepts for beginners without much land to implement right away.
Maybe you know that it will be a few years before you can really dive into homesteading, but you can still start educating yourself now. If you’re already spending time scrolling and consuming social media, you should be able to find time to read and watch videos about family milk cows, the best kind of fencing, or growing more exotic foods.
Give yourself permission to dream every now and then. Go ahead and start taking a few of the simple steps outlined here. And don’t be afraid to begin teaching yourself skills for the future! That way, when it’s time for your all of your homestead dreams to come true, you’ll be ready!