Saturday, July 04, 2009

My Homesteading Goals

In my first post, I listed some major milestones I want to cross in order to acquire land and feel comfortable starting a homestead. In this post, I want to outline some strategic goals I have for the homestead. These goals may not be realized until 10 or 15 years down the road from when I first start homesteading, which is ok. This post is where I am laying out my vision for the future of the homestead. I will discuss more short term goals in another post.

The overall theme that guides my vision is one of self-sufficiency and sustainability. I think this is what makes a home into a homestead. As I have discussed previously, a homestead should produce for you, and not consume from you. From this guiding idea, I have decided on the following goals:

  1. I want a house on my homestead that is as reliably self-sufficient as possible. I want it to produce its own energy in the form of solar, wind, micro-hydroelectric, or any other sustainable technique. I want it to have the ability to passively heat or cool itself using good design principles tailored to that end. I want it to make the most effective use of its waste, such as recycling greywater, effective removal and treatment of black water, or using heat from cooking to heat the home during the winter. And the house itself should be some sort of producer, perhaps by incorporating an integrated food-producing greenhouse into the design, and definitely by capturing and efficiently using rainwater. To my knowledge so far, the best design for a home that meets all of these goals is an Earthship Biotecture as conceived by Mike Reynolds. Though it may not be the first structure I live in on my homestead, this is my ultimate goal for my house.
  2. I want the overall design of the land of my homestead to live up to the ethics of permaculture. These are 1) Care of the Earth, 2) Care of people, and 3) Contribution of surplus money, time, and energy to further the first two ethics. Not only will my homestead be designed to grow enough food to take care of me and whoever else might be a permanent resident on the homestead, but I want it also to be able to grow enough food for any livestock I might keep on the homestead, wild animals that might find their way onto my land, and visitors and guests that might come to learn from me once I am established. In addition, I would like to be able to donate excess food to a local food bank, and possibly start a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), the proceeds from which I would use to further my goals of caring for the earth and giving back to my community, friends, and family. Finally, I would like the plants and materials that make up my homestead to be as self-contained as possible. I want to grow organically, save seeds, propagate plants, and use renewable, locally available building materials to construct most if not all of what I need for my homestead. I want to minimize as much as possible all materials I must buy from outside of what's available on my land, and things I must buy I will favor use of recycled or reuseable materials that might otherwise end up in landfills.
  3. My next goal is to turn my homestead into an educational center. I would like to offer courses, internships, tours, and anything else that might attract people to come learn about a self-sufficient lifestyle. For paid courses, I want to only charge as much as I need to to cover the expense of offering the courses. And I do not want to present my homestead as the only viable option for sustainability, but rather as an example of principles that could be incorporated into anyone's lifestyle in order to make it more sustainable. I aspire to encourage everyone, from rural farmers to hardcore "urbanites", to incorporate sustainable practices into their day to day lives.
  4. Finally, I would like my homestead lifestyle to provide so much of what I need to live that I have little personal income, and what little income I do have goes to paying the one and only expense I have not yet conceived of a way to avoid... property taxes. With my expenses minimized to this one unavoidable tax, I will truly be living off the land, and being as sustainable and self-sufficient as possible in this day and age.
For now, these are the over-arching strategic goals I have for my homestead. I reserve the right to add new strategy as it occurs to me, but I think these 4 have covered my overall vision pretty well. Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment