The Good Life: Self-Sufficient Living

In our view of the universe, "The Good Life, "Self-sufficient living" and homesteading are interrelated if not near-equivalent concepts.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
April/May 2006
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Close connections with animals are among the many benefits of homesteading.
Photo by Bryan Welch

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Many of us dream of finding the perfect piece of land where we can grow big gardens, raise chickens or goats, build a solar-powered home or otherwise pursue our individual visions of “the good life.” This kind of self-sufficient living and lifestyle is sometimes called homesteading. It’s all about choosing to live in a more meaningful, hands-on sort of way.

Growing healthy, nutritious food is a vital part of the homesteading life. Rather than relying on food from a supermarket, produced by strangers thousands of miles away, we can enjoy the bounty of our own gardens and share it with friends and neighbors. By growing food in a greenhouse and preserving it by canning or freezing, we can eat homegrown food year-round.

Many homesteaders want to build their own homes. Some want to create their own energy from the sun, the trees and the wind. This kind of work can be deeply satisfying because it allows us to learn new skills, and to live more conscientiously — and more consciously.

Although homesteading is often associated with rural living, you don’t need to buy land in the country to enjoy a more self-sufficient life: You can create your own food, shelter and energy wherever you live. Even with a small yard in the city or suburbs, you can plant a garden and learn to preserve food. Fruit trees can be planted almost anywhere, and many towns and cities will even allow you to put up solar panels, try out new building techniques, or raise chickens and rabbits.

This issue includes six articles to help you pursue your homesteading dreams:

Expert Advice on Homestead Living
Build a Pond
Backyard Fish Farming
Our Far-out Free-range eggs
Discover Versatile Compact Tractors
The Best Guard Dogs for Your Homestead

In our interconnected world, no one is completely self-sufficient, but living a more self-reliant lifestyle can be a rich and rewarding experience. Where better to focus your time and energy than on the particular place you call home?

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