This is especially true when you’ve grown up in a place where everything you need is sold at a store 10 minutes away.
Here’s an incomplete list of skills you can start learning NOW that will benefit you on your homesteading journey:
-Grow as much of your own food as you can. You’ll get better nutrition from food that hasn’t had to travel many miles (and sometimes weeks) to get to the grocery store.
-No yard? No problem! Try regrowing your grocery store scraps in patio pots.
-Grow even more than you think you’ll need. Things like tomatoes and peppers can be preserved by canning or pickling. Extra greens, potatoes, and beets can be chopped up and frozen for later.
-In the process of gardening, you’ll learn what works for your area. Natural pest solutions like neem, soap spray, compost tea, bird netting, and mulching are all things you’ll need to know how to utilize once you’re homesteading full-time.
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-Learn how to preserve food the old-fashioned way (Here’s how). Canning, root cellaring, and fermenting are all quickly becoming lost arts, but they’re important skills for the off-grid lifestyle.
-Rethink your dependence on Wi-Fi and cellular services. While I love the internet as much as anyone, it’s a great idea to consider what it’d be like to not have consistent access to it. Land lines and satellite phones might be options to look into, if your dream property is far from the city. You can also test your inner sense of direction by turning off your GPS when you’re driving in a semi-familiar area. Imagine how lost most people are without Google Maps, even in their own towns! Don’t be like those folks.
-Buy a deep freeze to store food in bulk. You can order directly from local farmers (your future neighbors!) and get much better meat and veggies for a fraction of the cost. Small businesses like Boxcar Farm & Garden near San Marcos, Texas, can sell you the happiest and best-tasting pork ever, in half- or quarter-hog sizes.
-CSAs and garden co-ops let you enjoy lots of whatever’s in season–and you can always freeze the five extra pounds of raspberries–or else, make jam.
-Still renting? Ask your electric provider about renewable energy options. In Texas, you can opt for 100% wind power and your electric bill may be just a few dollars more each month. That’s money well-spent, in my opinion!
-Learn another language. This is an invaluable skill that many Americans sadly overlook. Learning a second language stimulates your mind, and can help you communicate with others both locally and around the globe. There’s loads of videos on YouTube about Terra Preta in German and food forests in Portuguese–put on the closed captions and immerse yourself!
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-Take a Permaculture Design Course. These 72-hour certificate courses are the globally-recognized gold standard for learning about regenerative agriculture. They’re useful whether you’re working with 1/4 an acre or 400 acres. You’ll learn about water harvesting, soil rebuilding, eco-conscious housing solutions–and refreshingly new ways to think about survival on this planet. You can take the PDC online, but I’d really recommend taking one by a certified designer in your local area, because they’re likely to be perfectly tailored to your region as well as the big picture.
-Learn basic survival skills. Most of us are pretty far removed from what our ancestors of even 200 years ago needed to know and do to survive in the wild. True, off-grid living can be pretty cushy nowadays, but it’s always important to keep the old ways alive. Knowing how to start a fire, build a proper shelter for the night, and find out which way is north are all extremely important skills to have.
-While you’re at it, get comfortable with the outdoors in non-survival situations as well. Check out your state’s Master Naturalist program, or sign up for Wilderness Awareness School.
-Learn about natural wellness using herbs and diet. Your body’s health and vitality will improve as you “get back to the land”. Why not use the abundance of your garden and herb bed to keep your health on track? Check out Rosemary Gladstar or Susun Weed’s books on herbalism–or find a master herbalist course.
-Also, quit going to the doctor for every little thing. Obviously, modern medical care is a massive boon to humanity, but antibiotics are not a magic bullet. If you’ve got the sniffles or a sore throat, maybe try some raw honey and garlic before you rush off to get a prescription. In off-grid thinking, health care starts with self-care.
What else have you learned that helps with living an off-grid lifestyle? Tell us in the comments!
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