An introduction to homesteading
Homesteading dates back thousands of years is a characterized by the desire to become self-sufficient. Homesteaders are usually found in the company of their own agriculture, preservation of foodstuffs, and self-produced clothing and textiles. Homesteading is often used by those who foresee imminent disasters approaching on the horizon and with to be prepared when they come.
The Homestead Act of 1862
The term homesteading likely originated with the start of the Homestead Act in the mid-1800s. This form of homesteading was much different from what it is today. The Homestead Act decreed that as of 1862, a person who paid a small registration fee and lived on the land continuously for over five years, was allotted 160 acres of land. At the end of the five years the person would be given ownership of the land and a deed to go with it.
This program was officially ended in 1976 under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. The Homesteading Act, however, was unofficially ended in 1935 when President Franklin Roosevelt took away the lands of the public domain in order to implement a country-wide land conservation program. From 1862 to 1976 over 783,000 people lived out their five years on their 160 acres were given the deeds and ownership to their land under the Homestead Act.
Urban Homestead – Living the Real Simple Life (ABC Nightline)
Homestead in today’s terms — as a simple, self-reliant way of living
The word “homestead” eventually evolved from implying the Homestead Act to a certain lifestyle where a large multitude of young adults among many other adventurous people threw off what was the “fashionable way of living” and decided to move out of urban and suburban areas back to rural areas of the country. The back to the land movement completely changed the meaning of the word homesteading as it evolved from a land act to people having self-sufficient lives in both urban, suburban, and rural communities.
The word homesteading has evolved even further from the 1970s to the present day. This word describes a way of living that is all about self-sufficiency no matter where you live, be it in the central city of New York, or out on the farm in West Texas.
This style of homesteading focuses on the usage of less energy, eating whole, local food, plugging your family into the life of the neighborhood, and overall, just making better decisions that ultimately improve the quality of life for your family, your community, and the nature that is around you.
Now, some people might think this lifestyle means going without electricity, or comforts such as that. This cannot be farther from the truth, homesteading means not depending on the grid for electricity, or importing for food, it means knowing how to produce your own power, whether by air or water, and eating wholesome local food instead of processed food. In addition, it is ideal to be able to work from home. Now, working a job from home does not mean craft sales, or lemonade stands, but real work designed to get you real money.
Homesteading has been around for almost 150 years. The meaning has changed however in the past 75 years from meaning a government act, to a whole way of life. Homesteading has been founded by people who desire a self-sufficient life, and who do not depend on others to get what they need, be it power, food, or work. The essence of homesteading is to always life self-sufficiently.
The Urban Homestead – Living Green (Crown City News Pasadena 2007)