U.S. Homesteading Versus U.K. Smallholding

| 2/5/2013 1:47:44 PM

picking applesSince joining MOTHER EARTH NEWS blogging community as one of the ‘Happy Homesteaders’ I have been musing about the term Homesteader as it is not one that is in use here in the UK.

I love the term hugely as it feels so accurate in describing the lifestyle we have decided upon which strives to make home the heart of everything we do and therefore is a place we long to spend time and energy in rather than wanting to escape from it when we have spare time.

Here in the UK I think the closest term to describe a similar way of life to that of a homesteader is ‘smallholder’ but to me this has quite different connotations.

A smallholder is officially a farmer with a small agricultural holding in order to raise animals and/or vegetables and fruit but for me, the word doesn’t evoke the associations of home spun crafts, cottage industries, food preservation, thriftiness that ‘homesteading’ does.

For some reason also in my mind the two terms have different gender associations. A smallholder is a quite a masculine term being one of pure animal husbandry and land management whereas a homesteader seems to be a more feminine label encompassing pursuits which in the past were traditionally the domain of the matriarch in a family.outdoor coking 

In the UK when we refer to a smallholding or smallholder it will almost always mean a rural setting with enough space for at least a few diverse livestock (possibly pigs, sheep or cattle and usually always poultry) whereas I am beginning to understand that the modern homesteading movement in the US includes many people, like ourselves, who are creating more self-reliant havens in urban settings. 

J.Russell Bailey
2/14/2013 3:14:19 AM

I also wanted to say that your Short Person looks like a big time Sweet Pea and was more than happy to help mama with writing her article......and I noted she is NOT camera shy!!!! Kudos on the kiddo!

J.Russell Bailey
2/14/2013 3:11:48 AM

I liked the article, but after the Wiki link, it seemed to just go dry for me. I'd like to have seen quite a bit more specific info on breeds of poultry, goats, and of course, insights into how Smallholders are viewed by the urban population. I have visited both England and Scotland, urban and rural (Western Highlands, Oban, Benderloch, Ft. William, etc.) and Edinburgh as well as Glasgow. I loved the countryside in England on the way to York (and thence to Edinburgh via rail), and while in London on all my visits (4 in total), found that the more difficult it was to understand someone, the more friendly they were!.......I'd also like to read more of your blog, but didn't see the hyperlink.......I'll look again. Thanks for your article and I hope to read more!

Cathie Ackroyd
2/9/2013 8:41:32 PM

Hi A, We're all big big fans of 'War Time Farm but even better than that was the same group of archaeologists living on a 'Vidtorian Farm' and also before that they made a beautiful series called 'Tales of The Green Valley' which we have on DVD and watch over and over - it is set in the 16th century and has many low-tech farming wisdoms to enjoy.

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