When we think about homesteading our minds tend to see a 10-acre piece of land with all the animals God created and gardens as far as the eye can see. And for some, this is a reality. For others, however, a 10-acre farm would simply be too overwhelming, expensive, or completely out of the question for other reasons. So, then, can you “homestead” if you don’t have a large piece of land?
Absolutely…And it is easier than you think! Homesteading, after all, is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, not space. You may hear it called backyard homesteading, urban homesteading, or even micro-farming, but it is just using your small yard to move towards a self-sufficient lifestyle.
When I was young, my family had backyard gardens each summer, I watched my grandparents grow flowers and food at their homes and even visited my grandfather’s farm from time to time. As I got older and started my own family, I realized my love for flowers was strong. Not the kind you buy…the kind you grow for yourself!
But it wasn’t until my kids were little (2007) that we built our first raised beds and used them to teach our kids the science of growing food. We had a third of an acre in an HOA subdivision in a small town in Indiana and we were homesteading. Or at least we were starting the process. I decided on that third of an acre that I wanted to grow food, lots of food, and I never wanted to stop.
I spent the next 7 years on that third of an acre growing gardens of all kinds. I had raised beds, in-ground gardens, and pots that grew food. In 2014 we moved from Indiana to Florida. If you know anything about Florida houses, you know that the majority of them have very tiny yards. And ours fit that stereotype…TINY! But, the growing had to continue and so I bought a book!
The Backyard Homestead changed my whole perspective of what a homestead looked like, and what could be accomplished on just a quarter acre. Fruit trees, veggie gardens, chickens, pigs, flowers, herbs…it is all possible and this book taught me to think differently about what homesteading really meant and what my goals actually were.
Over time, I realized that there were dozens of books, blogs and content creators that were homesteading on properties all under an acre. Being self-sufficient didn’t take the space that I thought and I knew no matter where life took my family, I could grow our food.
Through some interesting circumstances, a lot of prayer, and a giant gift from God, we found ourselves in Georgia two years ago. What started in a single raised bed and a few pots 14 years ago, has turned into a 5.5 acre homestead north of Atlanta. And, while I have all this space, I still find that I prefer to have my gardens small in size. I just have more of them to enjoy now.
Today, my three kids are grown, married and two have kids of their own. And I am still growing food.