Need some tips on homesteading preparedness? If you want to know what “prepsteading” is and how to be a “prepsteader” (my new favorite word), then keep reading! You’ll find these tips undeniably useful.
Homesteading Preparedness: Prepsteading
What is a “Prepsteader” and Why Should You Be One?
by Kathy Bernier
You might not know what a prepsteader is. That’s okay. The only reason I know is because I made the word up to describe myself and what I do. I wasn’t alone in that idea, of course, and if you look up the word online, you will find a handful of people who practice what they call prepsteading.
Prepsteading: Practical homesteading with preparedness in mind.
After you read about the art and science of prepsteading, and learn why it is so important that more people do it, you will want to call yourself a prepsteader too.
At the outset, the meaning is just like the word looks and sounds—part prepper, and part homesteader. But the true core of the word for me came from my own real-life roots. Growing up in a tiny mountain hamlet in a rural state, I spent my childhood surrounded by prepsteaders.
When I was a kid, people grew and preserved as much of their own food as they could. What they couldn’t raise, they tried to acquire locally. They made do with what was available at the time, and didn’t go into debt for frivolities. Extended families supported one another, and people worked together within the community as well. When incomes were good and harvests were abundant, they saved up for leaner times. And when people were in need, they helped them out.
My grandparents always had a garden. In those days, just about everyone did. I have been recently perusing some aerial photographs taken in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and one fact stood out to me—almost every home had a garden plot with a footprint larger than that of the house.
Harvest time was the season for canning and preserving. Jars of green beans and applesauce saw folks through the winter, and there was always a little extra put by for years of crop loss.
People had to travel a long way to shop back then, so they made every trip count. They stocked up on necessities when they went, and added a little extra padding for unexpected emergencies.
Older relatives tell me the story of how, when a transient would wander through town and stop in the village center, my grandfather was always the go-to for support. Grampa was the town’s shopkeeper, postmaster, town meeting official, and dairyman, and he could always be counted upon to provide a few basic staples to those in need.
These tenets are really the crux of what prepsteaders today. Like the country folk of yesteryear, preppers save up food and supplies for a time when it may become less available. And also like those country folk, homesteaders raise their own, make do with what they have, and offer a hand-up—but not a hand-out—to others.
The bottom line that ties the three lifestyles together is the concept of self-sufficiency. People in my childhood home never expected the government to bail them out of anything—whether it was a result of poor choices on their part, or severe weather, or natural disasters. Just like preppers today, they acknowledged the possibility of the worst possible event happening and made sure they were ready for it. And just like homesteaders today, they valued local foods and goods and community.
As much as I do value the idea of preparedness, some tenets of modern day prepping are not quite the perfect fit. Many in the prepper community embrace aggressive collections of weaponry and extravagant underground bunkers. That is perfect for some, but not for me. My idea of prepping is more along in the lines of developing skills for sustenance and survival in the event that food or goods should become more scarce. Although we do maintain the necessities for self-protection, the focus at my house is more on hand tools and canning jars and wood stoves than it is on guns and surveillance.
Some preppers stockpile manufactured food that is never intended to be eaten outside of a true emergency. I like the idea of storing food, but I prefer to eat and replenish it every year, like my ancestors did.
I am not always completely on board with hardcore homesteaders either. My place has electricity, access to a main road, and two wage-earners. True homesteading tenets often call for a lifestyle that is off-grid, remote, and staying home full time—those are ideals I admire, but am currently unable to emulate.
Prepsteading is my answer to just the right combination of both prepping and homesteading. My way of life fulfills enough basic components from each of them to accomplish what I feel are the most important flagstones on the road to self-sufficiency.
To Be Homesteader & Preparedness Minded
Characteristics of prepsteader thinking:
- You are responsible for you. Nobody is going to protect you or provide for you as well as you can do so for yourself.
- Resources are precious and ought not to be wasted.
- Your choices help determine the health of you and your family, as well as that of the planet.
The mindset of a prepsteader is an outlook of freedom. I have never been more happy or more stress-free. As a prepsteader, I have both the peace of mind of knowing that I can survive whatever comes my way and the satisfaction of being able to provide my food, heat, and shelter. And when you think about it, what could possibly be more freeing than that?
If you would like to release yourself from the anxiety of getting ready for the next blizzard, staying comfortable during a power outage, or surviving a widespread catastrophic event—and, you are concerned about your food quality and the state of the planet—you need to be a prepsteader.
Homesteading Preparedness Tips
My ancestors knew how to be a prepsteader, and yours probably did too. But if you are still learning, here are a few tips to guide you on your way:
1. Start Small
You cannot possibly transform your lifestyle overnight. I started prepping by saving up a few extra cans of store-bought prepared pasta and vegetables in my laundry room. My earliest attempts at homesteading amounted to tucking a few radish seeds into my in-town flower bed.
2. Plan first for disasters on a small scale
Ask yourself how you would fare for a day or two with no more than what you have on hand. Would you be all right in your house without power for 24 hours? If not, consider what it would take to get there.
3. Buy items you need slowly over time
A few extra batteries in your most-used sizes or some extra boxes of granola bars tucked away where the kids won’t find them and wipe out your supplies. Store water for drinking and washing, too.
You know you need certain items to get through the day. Don’t let yourself run out and end up being one of those people clearing the supermarket shelves during the last hours before a weather event arrives.
4. Learn to cook food from scratch
If you are able to make your own meals using whole foods, you can store many of the ingredients long term. At least importantly, however, you will be able to control the amount of artificial additives you eat, and by using less packaging you will contribute to less waste in the environment.
5. Buy from and trade with your neighbors
This retains value in your community and puts money in the pockets of families instead of corporations. It also helps minimize shipping costs and use of fossil fuels.
Try growing some of your own food
Perhaps you can keep a hen or two in your yard for fresh eggs, or convert some lawn or flower bed to vegetables. If you don’t have space where you are, try cooperating with friends or seeking a community garden space.
6. Develop skills in the arts of fermentation, food preservation, and wild edibles identification
Become an expert preserver.
7. Learn how to do for yourself in a variety of situations
Whatever could possibly happen where you live, from a flat tire on your car to criminals breaking into your home to a powerful earthquake, try to imagine ahead of time the kinds of skill you might need to get through it.
8. Creep towards becoming a prepsteader at a pace that works for you
Move up form simple purchases and education and move in the direction of preparedness and sustainability as quickly as you can without letting it steamroll over you.
After you have set the basics in place, give some thought to where you would want to be if a large-scale disaster hits.
When I ask people that question in person, they tell me they’re coming to my house. Why? Because I have a cellar full of canned goods and the skill to replace them, a shed full of firewood along with the acreage and tools to replenish it, saved seeds and garden space, equipment and skills necessary to protect the farm, and thriving livestock. In short, I’m living sustainably for today while keeping tomorrow in mind.
Everyone can’t come to my place. But you are doing something far more effective by reading this article. You are making a plan to transform your own home and lifestyle into the kind of place that you want to be—both now and yet to come, no matter what happens.
Prepsteaders are people who save up food and supplies for emergencies and possible hard times in the future, but do not lose sight of protecting the environment and living sustainably in the present. It’s really that simple. Use common sense, put a little by at a time, evaluate the level of sustainability and environmental impact when you make daily choices, and resolve to be in charge of your own needs.
By resolving to become a prepsteader, you can have a real part in taking care of yourself and your health saving the planet, and looking out for the future of us all.
What do you think of these homesteading preparedness tips? Let us know below in the comments!
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