Pursuit of the Homesteading Dream
If you’re dreaming of homesteading but feel like that dream is too far away for you, take heart.
There’s more than one way to achieve your dreams.
There are lots of people with more land than they can use. Some folks are older and can’t keep up their farm or acreage; others just have more than they can put to use due to time, money, interest or ability.
In the GardensAll Facebook community, one lady had ten acres and she only needed two. She was looking for someone who might want to pay her to farm any of the extra eight acres. But how do you find the right match? Well, granted, it may not be easy, but it might be easier than you realize.
If you’re looking for land to farm, start paying attention to vacant land near you. Most county registrar of deeds have land maps you can access for free that show you who the owners are. So as you’re driving your usual routes, start to take notes of vacant lots and land. Right down the addresses, then once you get a handful, start looking the up online, beginning with your local registrar’s office.
In our area of Forsyth County North Carolina, it’s called Geodata. While this won’t help you if you’re not in this specific county of NC, it should give you an idea and you can try to find something similar in your area. It may go by another name if you county, so if Google can’t help you find it then just contact your local registrar of deeds and ask them if they have the local property and tax maps available to search online. If you’re in very rural areas, they may not have it, in which case it may be a bit harder, but you can likely ask at local feed and seed type stores.
Other ideas for getting started homesteading, even when you don’t have the land or money:
- Ask at your local feed and seed or hardware store if they know of anyone with land to lease for gardening.
- You might be able to work a barter where you garden the land for free in exchange for shared produce. (IMPORTANT: be sure to create a contract so that everyone is clear and there’s less likelihood of misunderstanding).
- Look for community gardens near you. Some cities have city land where you can apply for a plot to garden for cheap or even free in exchange for volunteering
- Look for an existing farm/farmer who is aging out, like in this article, where the McCullars help Ellard plant his onions and other produce. They buy it from him at wholesale, they and 88-year-old Ellard, get all they can eat, they the McCullars sell it at retail at the local farmer’s markets and also roadside from their yard.
These are just some ideas to get your wheels turning. There is any number of possibilities, so keep your eyes open and your creative juices flowing, and pursue your dream. If it’s important to you, it’s worth working for and doing whatever it takes to get it going.
Another good thing about creative homesteading on someone else’s land is that it can help you decide if homesteading is for you. If you decide it isn’t, you haven’t committed your life savings or credit into a loan on something that you don’t want to do anymore.
We love this quote by Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."