The Rise of Homesteading and the Role of an Architect in It
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If you love to enjoy a life of self-sufficiency supported by subsistence agriculture, homesteading is an ideal option for your happy living style. The popularity of homesteading is growing worldwide. Let’s know here what makes this simple lifestyle a high-in-demand way of leading life with freedom, creativity, and economic freedom being close to nature.
Have you ever thought of taking a break from the hectic schedule of your everyday life and moving toward the countryside? If you are planning to enjoy freshness and in search of peace and calmness, this is a nice plan for you. Once in a while, we all fantasize about leaving our daily life behind and settling in some of the most remote areas of the world, somewhere close to the nature. The countryside/rural life offers an array of natural attraction, which a few may avoid, but mostly gets allured by its mesmerizing charm. However, some people keep on pursuing this dream and manage to enjoy their stay in a self-sustaining home fulfilling their needs themselves. It’s refreshing, organic, and just rejuvenating!
What is Homesteading?
A lifestyle of self-sustenance is known as Homesteading, which involves activities like subsistence agriculture, preservation of food at homes, production of textiles, clothing, or crafts. A Homesteader may choose all or some of these activities either for himself or for selling the outcome as a source of revenue. Presently, this simple but unique lifestyle has attracted many people worldwide to live independently, enjoying growing their own food, and living peacefully.
Who Started Homesteading?
Prior to the industrial revolution, people were living with sustainable lifestyle and they used to enjoy more fulfilling stress-free active lives. The introduction of assembly line jobs made people more connected to their work than nature around, and people slowly started prioritizing financial success over simple living or simply “living life joyfully”.
However, with the Homestead Act of 1862, people were granted land in the United States if they were willing to farm the land for at least next 5 years. This led to more and more people opting for this lifestyle rather than doing their jobs as they could use the land without buying it for farming and they could still reap the benefits of living life productively and peacefully without chasing the hectic target.
This revolution led to the popularization of homesteading concept, and now, one and a half century after the introduction of that concept, people are realizing the importance of living in close company to the nature.
Why Do People Homestead?
Of course, the life of homesteading isn’t an easy one. People migrating from the cities into the countryside or rural areas often find the idea quite a bit alluring in the starting phase, but they usually give up their plan when they realize the real-life hardships involved in living a lifestyle of self-sustenance. The fact that homesteaders use renewable energy, and the practice makes it certain that the association with the technology has become the boon for the Gen-Y people.
And yet, we are experiencing a huge rise in people migrating to these lands and having the life which many of us mostly opt for. So, what’s making the people go for it?
The Rise of Homesteading
One point that covid-19 pandemic has taught the world is that nature is far more powerful than our biggest superpowers and it can overpower us using a simple pathogen anytime. Moreover, it showed that we can live happily without having many to do things we don’t want to do and doing more of what we wish to do.
Even before this outbreak, people used to keep pouring into the rural lands, leaving their jobs, their homes, their cars, and their lavish lifestyle to lead simpler and better lives more in sync with nature. Many urban settlers have found solace in rural areas and never wish to return to their hectic former urban lifestyles.
Here are some of the reasons why more and more people are inclined toward homesteading:
01. Financial Freedom:
The life of homesteading is a life of frugality and self-sufficiency. When a person homesteads, he produces all his needs himself, spends way less than he earns, and produces things he could sell in the market. This helps the homesteaders save more money than what would have been in the city, enabling them to pay off their debts and lead more fulfilling lives without the desire or need of money.
02. Self-Prepared Food:
Homesteading involves production of food, and it is a healthy alternative to the growing tendency of eating processed food treated with chemical preservatives, which have made people distrustful of eating. People looking for healthy food and a good diet often find themselves consuming more of what they shouldn’t. That is why producing your own food makes it easy to have healthier food without spending a fortune.
03. Going “Off the Grid” by Generating Your Own Electricity:
Generating your own electricity to go off the grid is an important part of homesteading and is practiced for usually two reasons: it costs less and it has no harmful effect on the natural resources unlike traditional sources of energy that are depleting the natural resources of the Mother Earth. This is often achieved through the solar power harnessing or using a windmill to generate electricity for use.
04. Fighting Stress and Moving Toward Homesteading:
In a world where “hustling” seems to be the general trend, people are bound to be stressed. The hectic lifestyle of the modern day requires more time from an individual than the previous generations. The modern man has brought his work home, reshaping priorities, and existing around the fleeting idea of success, something everyone desires and yet few seem to have achieved. Those who have realized this and pursue satisfaction and peace, rather than money, are quickly moving toward homesteading.
05. Homesteader Saves Time:
When a person leaves the urban life, he is also leaving the rat race of always staying in a race to prove his superiority. He no longer has to compete/compare with others to live his life, he knows and understands his priorities and acts accordingly. Saving of this time helps him in spending better quality time with the family and doing things that you actually love doing.
The Role of an Architect in Homesteading
A well-designed house is the key to become completely successful at homesteading. The profession of homesteading is about incorporating an integration of natural elements in the building materials that allow the natural airflow in the house. In addition to that, enough open space should be provided to allow natural light as much as possible to save on the generated electricity.
An architect needs to add the following elements in a homestead system within optimum space and costs:
01. Water Systems:
A good homestead system should have ample supply of water using groundwater as well as water harvested during rainfall. The architect needs to design a roof that streamlines the rainwater harvesting system for maximum impact.
02. Root Cellar:
Root cellars are essential to store food in a cold place to preserve them during summers from decaying. A well-designed cellar can maintain the temperature of the storage at the optimum level to sustain a temperature that’s beneficial for the food’s safety and preservation.
03. Renewable Energy System:
Self-generated electricity is the central concept for living off the grid. Creating a fusion of two or more sources of renewable energy helps in generating electricity throughout the year. While solar panels can get to generate electricity during summers, windmills can generate electricity during more windy days.
04. Pantry Area:
The architect needs to design a pantry for food that needs to stay warm which would help eliminate the use of microwave ovens and other appliances to warm food. The pantry area helps in preserving spices, rice, and other raw food items.
05. Large Garden Area:
Designing a front garden with ample space for growing vegetables and fruits helps in keeping an attractive appeal to your homestead while providing consistent supply of good quality food. There’s also an opportunity for creating a sleeping porch in the garden for sleeping during the summer.
On a final note, as more people look for homesteading opportunities, architects may have an opportunity to design more sustainable homes for homesteading that can perfectly bring innovative solutions to the year-old problems of making homesteading an easier and convenient option to live well.
We hope that the article has stimulated the interest of homesteading in you as well…And if so, we wish to provide you some more interesting blogs which might help you in maintaining your garden as a paradise for homesteader:
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Pallavi Sen Gupta – Pallavi Sen Gupta: Knowledge increases when you share it. I could not have agreed more had I not experienced this practically as a journalist and a writer for the past 12 years. Now I dig and dive into anything I see and translate it into paper for others to know.