Have you ever walked through the grocery store and said to yourself, “Wow, that was half the price only a couple of years ago.” Or, “Man, prices just seem to keep going up and up!” You aren’t wrong. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the percent of cost increase in food between 2006-2012 was greater than all overall price increases and was equal to transportation increase and second only to medical care increases.
When I first began my fits and starts journey to homestead freedom, I felt that I was alone and that my learning curve would be spent researching on the internet and then A LOT of trial and error. While that is mostly true still, I have discovered, in the last few years, several resources where I can meet with people face to face to discuss ideas, learn how others do things that are successful, and just get a greater sense that I am not alone in my floundering.
This brings me to my first resource option. People you know… Start talking to people, find out who among your acquaintances and contacts does any form of canning (or food preserving of any kind for that matter). For me it was my Aunt Cathy. She has been canning her own fresh caught salmon, or harvested bison meat for years. So I went out and purchased some meat and carrots and we spent the afternoon processing and canning and it was FUN, and I learned a great deal. So go out and don’t be afraid to ask people. Many “in the business” of self sufficiency of any ilk are usually happy to share their knowledge and expertise.
Another great option is to find local groups that are into what you are into. Homesteading groups, canning and food preserving, emergency preparedness, gardening, etc. Facebook is an OK option, if you can find a really hands-on group that likes to meet in person. A gardening group I found on Facebook is very helpful with answering questions, and they do regular seed swaps, help with garden projects and giving away of various plants etc. The problem is Facebook can still be a little to shy in the person to person contact for my liking.
My second great find was a local emergency preparedness group through Meetup. I was so glad to have found it, that I became one of the event planners. Most are free to join, some, (like ours) require a small membership fee to attend any classes we put on ourselves, but we also consolidate a large number of “3rd Party” events. These are events that are found from other groups that I am able to cross post on our meetup site to get the word out. I have learned a lot from my meetup, met a lot of knowledgeable people to share with, and through my own research, have been able to share knowledge back. And nothing helps us learn better than to teach. Just a quick search near me turned up many homesteading and other resources – Homestead Meetup.
Being an event leader for my meetup group, I spent a good amount of time researching third party events to attend and post to the group. This in turn led me to my third and fourth fabulous finds! The Master Gardeners and Master Food Preservers organizations that are volunteers through the University systems.
- The Master Gardeners (MG) is a national volunteer organization run by the State University systems and they offer in person classes and workshops on … you guest it, gardening. Their scope spans from rose gardens to fruit and nut orchards and everywhere in between. They are also more than eager to talk before or after classes about your particular interests or problems. If you have a state u near you, you probably have access to a Master Gardener.
- The Master Food Preservers (MFP) was a natural progression for the Master Gardeners. I had more difficulty finding a national website for them, but do some google searching in your area and I would bet you could find something like them if not the MFPs themselves. They offer classes on dehydrating, canning (both pressure and water bath), fermenting, and freezing.
Other resources that have been useful is my local co-op stores which help to run a community education program. They open their education center to numerous outside entities and for a small fee, you can take many hands on classes. In my area, there is also a local farm “co-op” that teaches many different classes for a fee, and also offers internships which teach how to run a small to medium sized farm for profit.
The last resource I can think of at the moment is the local community colleges. Near me, they offer a community education program that organizes classes, again for a fee. Sometimes they have classes relevant for homesteaders. A quick search turned up classes on
So I HIGHLY recommend doing some research, asking around and getting in touch with people “in the know”. Even though the internet opened our realm of knowledge, nothing beats hands on learning with someone who can help with immediate answers to questions. I have personally used all the resource types mentioned above or Homesteading, while the main focus is to be self sufficient, no one can do it ALL alone. Building your resource base now, and developing a sense of community will prove the greatest asset.
Can you think of any other in-person resources that could prove useful? Let us know in the comments!
My husband and I are strong believers in having an adequate food storage. It has gotten us through a couple of rough patches and has saved us countless last minute trips to the store or to a restaurant for meals. Recently we branched out into long term food storage prepackaged meals. Continue reading “Food Storage Meals Taste Test – Legacy Brand Stroganoff”
We have been raising backyard chickens for 5 or 6 years now. We have had as few as 5 purchased from our local feed store, and as many as 30+ which we purchased through mail order. We have had great success ordering baby chicks (and sometimes turkeys) from Cackle Hatchery although you have to order at least 15 baby chicks to get them through the mail, so they keep each other warm.
People spend their entire lives accumulating stuff. Sometimes that stuff is useful, sometimes it serves to help define who we are as people, or can augment our personalities, make us feel at home. But most of the time, it is just stuff; stuff we don’t need, and even sometimes stuff we don’t really want anymore, if ever, but can’t get rid of it. They were gifts, or heirlooms, or memorabilia from that “special day”. Continue reading “On Accumulation and Downsizing”
One of the best things that I can do for my family is make as much of the products we use from scratch. I try to keep our household as chemical free as possible, that means making my own household cleaners, toothpaste, and deodorant.
There are many reasons why you might want to make your own detergent rather than use store bought kind. Here is a website that outlines the many harmful chemicals found in commercial brands. Continue reading “Homemade Laundry Powder”
There are lots of things that need to be done before we can build our house, but we bought the property in October of 2015, and had a complete winter to wait for snow and cold temps to run their course before we could go back up and enjoy our space. Continue reading “A Place to Call Home”
When my mother was young, and after moving to this country, she and her family had very little. There were 13 people living in a two bedroom house in the Los Angeles area. She often talked about the tips of the chicken wings and how she loved them. At dinner each of them would get 1 chicken wing and she would take everyone’s wing tips.
As an adult, my mother always had food on hand. She was a master at finding sales and shopping places like Grocery Outlet and the Dollar Store, and buying cases of food at the cheapest she could find it. We would often tease her about just how many cans of corn (or whatever the find of the day was) did we really need anyway. Continue reading “Our First Steps to Preparedness”
Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I don’t make purchasing decisions lightly. I research and price check and monitor reviews, sales, and then I research and mull it over some more.
When we finally decided to purchase some property I immediately began searching the internet for good areas to suit our needs, with enough amenities that we could comfortably live off grid. We consulted our book “Back to Basics“, which has lots of good information about placement, landscape and land features.