Do you have big plans to start a homestead of your own? Do you dream of being even just a little more self-sufficient than you are today? Well you are in luck, keep reading to learn how you can start planning your urban homestead goals.
It is quite fitting that I am writing this just a week into the new year. There is something about the beginning of a new year that makes me excited. Maybe it is the idea of a fresh start, new dreams, and the anticipation of what the next 12 months will hold.
I don’t like to put too much pressure on myself to start too many new things, or reach big outrageous goals and I don’t think you should either. But I do want to motivate you actually start taking the steps towards your homesteading dreams. Even the smallest steps make a big impact on your homesteading journey.
With a little planning and goal setting, you can have a clear path towards your urban homesteading lifestyle.
1. Define Your Big Dreams
The first step is probably the easiest step. Dream big. What is your end goal? What does your own dream homestead look like? I like to create a general vision board on Pinterest to organize my thoughts since I am a creative visual person. I think in pictures, so planning in pictures align well with my thoughts.
You can also write down a list and create a mind map. Don’t worry about being over the top. You want to record even your biggest dreams. No matter how outrageous you think they are.
Below are some examples of some big homesteading dreams to help you get started:
- Grow and provide a years worth of your OWN food for your family from your OWN property living a self-sufficient lifestyle. Think rows of fruit trees, a large vegetable garden, etc.
- Living on acres of land on your own homestead.
- Growing rows and rows of medicinal herbs and having an apothecary FULL of herbal medicine.
- Disconnecting from the electrical grid and generating your own power through renewable sources such as solar panels, wind turbines, or hydropower.
- Create a sustainable and regenerative ecosystem on a large plot of land using permaculture principles.
- Raise animals such as chickens, goats, cows, or bees.
- Create handmade, artisanal products such as cheese, soap, candles, or crafts creating a small-scale, sustainable production for income.
My Big Dreams:
To be as self-sufficient as possible. My dream to be able to grow and preserve enough food for our family for a year plus offer a small market garden for our local community. Our homestead will provide the space and opportunity for educational resources for those looking to learn their own skills, offering seasonal workshops for gardening, wreath making, etc.
2. Define Your Short-Term Goals
Ok, so now that we have all of our big dreams out of the way, let’s think a little smaller. As much as I love big dreams, without smaller goals and a plan, dreams are well… just dreams. So in order to ensure your dreams turn into a reality you need to create smaller goals.
Take a look at your big dreams, and your current situation. What short-term goals can you make and reach to get you closer to your big dreams? Do you want a huge garden, but you don’t know how to garden? Maybe your current situation only provides you with an apartment balcony. Your short term goals could be to actually learn how to garden. You see, in order to reach our big dreams we need to hit those small short-term goals and milestones to get there.
When you look at the big picture it can seem so dreamy, but also very overwhelming when you are starting from scratch. Many beginner homesteaders only focus on the big picture, and it can be difficult to know where to start. This is where we can make mistakes, lose focus, and even quit.
So think on a smaller scale. Below are some examples of some short-term goals to start living your urban homesteading life:
- Container Gardening: Start with a few pots or containers on your balcony or windowsill. Set a goal to grow herbs, like basil or mint, and a couple of easy-to-manage vegetables, such as tomato plants or lettuce.
- Composting Setup: Begin composting kitchen scraps to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your plants.
- Start a Herb Garden: Learn basic techniques for preserving herbs, such as drying or freezing, to have a stash of homegrown flavors throughout the year.
- DIY Cleaning Products: Replace a commercial cleaning product with a homemade, eco-friendly alternative. Start with something simple like a vinegar-based all-purpose cleaner.
- Water Conservation: Implement water systems, like collecting rainwater for your plants or using a watering can instead of a hose.
- Meal Planning with Homegrown Ingredients: Incorporate homegrown herbs and vegetables into your meal planning. Challenge yourself to create a dish using at least one ingredient you’ve grown.
- Community Connection: Attend a local farmers’ market or community garden event. Engage with fellow urban homesteaders, exchange tips, and build a network of like-minded individuals.
- Explore Local Resources: Research local resources such as community gardens, seed swaps, or sustainability-focused events. Attend one event or join a community group to build your knowledge and local connections.
My Short-Term Goals:
– Preserve as much food as I can using the limited space we currently have as well as utilizing sales at the grocery store and reaching to local farmers.
– Grow this blog to continue teaching and documenting our own urban homesteading lifestyle through preserving, gardening and other simple living practices.
– Expand my seasonal offerings to start brining awareness to our local community of what I have to offer them.
3. Write Down Actionable Steps
Now that you have your short-term goals written down it is now time to create a strategy on how you are going to reach those goals. These are those actionable steps I was talking about. So let’s say you want to have your own backyard chickens. Below are some actionable steps you would take to reach your backyard homestead goal:
- Research Local Regulations: Look into local laws regarding keeping chickens in your area. Determine the allowed number of chickens, coop size, and any other specific requirements within your suburban or city limits.
- Choose Chicken Breeds: Research and choose chicken breeds that are well-suited for urban areas and align with your goals. Consider factors such as egg production, temperament, and what breed would work best in a small space.
- Design a Chicken Coop: Plan or purchase a small and manageable chicken coop design that fits your available space.
- Learn Basic Chicken Care: Familiarize yourself with basic chicken care, including feeding, watering, and general health maintenance. This knowledge will be crucial as you welcome chickens into your urban homestead.
- Explore Local Feed Options: Find a local source for chicken feed that aligns with your preference for organic or sustainable options. Consider reaching out to local farmers or feed stores.
- Connect with Chicken Keepers: The next step would be to join local or online communities of chicken keepers to exchange tips, ask questions, and learn from experienced urban homesteaders.
- Implement Waste Management: Develop a plan for managing chicken waste. This could include setting up a composting system or using the manure as a nutrient source for your garden.
- Establish a Cleaning Routine: Create a cleaning routine for the chicken coop to ensure a healthy living environment for your chickens. Regular cleaning helps prevent pests and diseases.
- Explore Egg Storage and Use: Set a goal to learn about proper egg storage and explore different ways to use and share the eggs your chickens produce.
That’s a lot right?! This is why focusing on the smaller goals is crucial. There are so many small steps and new skills needed to get to that big picture! You can utilize your time and current space to start your homesteading journey on a small scale.
My Actionable Steps:
– Document what we are already preserving and what I plan to start preserving. Create a list of ingredients to grow or source and find or create recipes. Ask around for local farmer contacts for bulk orders.
– Create a schedule and calendar to stay consistent on blog writing, and be keen to document my daily life.
– Get out in the community more and build stronger connections. Visit the farmer’s market weekly and connect more on Facebook groups.
– Dedicate one day a week to research and obtain new valuable skills.
4. Create a Financial Plan
Even though homesteading seems like it doesn’t cost much money, there are still start-up costs. These start-up costs are determined by your own homesteading goals and how creative you want to get.
You want to create a budget to start homesteading. Allocate funds for start-up investments such as canning supplies, garden beds, rain barrels, and small animals such as chickens. You then want to create a plan to reach your big dream. Maybe that is putting money aside from your day job, or starting a homesteading side hustle to fund that big dream. Whatever it is you need a financial plan! Your dream homestead most-likely won’t be handed to you, and if it is, please hand me some of that luck!
Below are some ways to start your urban homesteading on a budget:
- Bartering and Trading: Explore local bartering groups or online platforms where people exchange goods and services. You might find someone willing to trade homesteading supplies for something you have or can offer in return.
- Secondhand Stores and Thrift Shops: Visit thrift stores, secondhand shops, and garage sales to find tools, kitchenware, containers, and other items at affordable prices. Keep an eye out for items that can be repurposed for your homestead.
- Community Swaps and Free Exchanges: Participate in community swaps or free exchanges where neighbors share items they no longer need. This can be a cost-effective way to acquire tools, seeds, and other homesteading essentials.
- DIY and Upcycling: Embrace do-it-yourself (DIY) projects and upcycling to repurpose materials into useful homesteading items. Pallets, old barrels, and wooden crates can often be transformed into garden beds, compost bins, or furniture.
- Bulk Purchases and Sales: Look for sales, discounts, and bulk purchasing opportunities, especially during seasonal clearances. Buying in bulk can save money in the long run, and sales events provide a chance to acquire items at lower prices.
- Seed and Plant Exchanges: Participate in seed swaps or plant exchanges within your community. This allows you to diversify your garden without spending money on a variety of seeds or seedlings.
- Library and Online Resources: Utilize library resources and online platforms to access books, videos, and tutorials on homesteading practices. Learning and adopting DIY skills can reduce the need for expensive services or products.
- Community Gardens and Allotments: Join a community garden or allotment program, where you can share resources and tools with fellow gardeners. This collaborative approach helps reduce individual costs.
Our Financial Plan:
I am really digging deep on this blog to help fund our homesteading dreams. I always look for second hand jars and other canning supplies. I do a lot more online digging than I do courses to save money that way as well. We DIY almost everything on our home and use scrap wood as much as possible.
5. Stay Motivated
The last tip I have to start planning your goals is to find something that will keep you motivated. Homesteading takes a lot of hard work and dedication. My best advice is don’t be hard on yourself and give yourself some grace.
Take it one day at a time, and always keep that big dream in the back of your mind, but don’t obsess over it. Focus on your short-term goals and those actionable steps to get there. Never stop learning and let yourself make mistakes. Find a community that will keep you motivated. There are so many homesteading Facebook groups out there!
How I Stay Motivated:
This blog helps me stay motivated. It helps me see how far I have come. It is hard to believe that just 6 years ago I didn’t know the difference between and annual and a perennial. Plant names were like a different language, and canning was some scary science experiment.
I have joined many Facebook groups that I browse a few times a week to stay connected and motivated. The most important thing I always try to remind myself is that I am doing this for the benefit of our family. I want Oliver’s childhood to be as free and natural as possible. I want him to be raised outdoors and not in front of a screen. I constantly remind myself daily as to why I am choosing these lifestyle choices, and I hope you do too.
I have created a small workbook which is a great way to help you stay motivated and orgainize your urban homsteading goals. The great thing about this workbook is that it will act as a documentation on the progress you have made.