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Homesteading in the United Kingdom

| 12/14/2015 11:06:00 AM


My name is Alan Beat, and with my wife Rosie, I’ve run a 16-acre smallholding in Devon, England, for the last 28 years. “Smallholding” is a UK term that’s broadly equivalent to the term “homestead” in the United States, meaning farming on a small scale with a strong element of self-sufficiency in food. I’m delighted to have the chance of connecting with other like-minded people by means of this blog.

It’s been prompted by the publication of my new book Smallholding: A Practical Guide to Self-sufficient Living (find it here in the U.S., and here in the UK), which has started to sell a few copies in the U.S. without any marketing on my part and a portion of which is excerpted below.

Despite the geographical differences, there must be a great deal of common ground between the American homestead and the British smallholding — so let’s find out!

Smallholding: A Practical Guide

Statistics show an increasing drift of population away from areas of urban sprawl towards more rural parts of the UK. Among the many factors that are driving this trend, the search for a better quality of life is foremost. People are seeking to regain control over their lives, to grow their own wholesome food, to spend less time driving on congested roads, and to raise their families in a higher quality environment. That’s why more and more of us want to start smallholding!

Rosie and I made that change of lifestyle with our two young children back in 1987, after four years of planning. We now keep sheep, pigs, poultry and waterfowl to produce most of our own organic food; make our own bread, beer and country wines; harvest our own firewood; and generally have become as self-sufficient as makes sense to us. In the process, we have discovered new resources within ourselves. This is the essence of smallholding.

2/13/2016 7:15:58 AM

I am so pleased to hear that you have written a second book, Alan. I look forward to its wisdom as much as I value your first book. I have said it to you before and I will say it again on this blog; you and Rosie are an inspiration! I am writing from Maine where there is a groundswell with the number of small farms increasing...maybe the stony ground couldn't compete with the huge farms on the prairies in the midwest, so, ironically, we have a lot of organic practice that small farms can devote their efforts to. And I agree... there is always something more to learn. So here's to this blog helping us all along the way! Valerie in Maine PS now in possession of said book..... already learning new things : )

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