HOMESTEADING, A BRIEF HISTORY:

 

The Homestead Act

In the middle 1800s, the word homesteading was synonymous with The Homesteading Act of 1862, which provided public land grants of 160 acres to any adult citizen who paid a small registration fee and agreed to live on the land continuously for 5 years, after which they would be granted a deed to the land. The program formally ended in 1976 under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. But its unofficial end was in 1935 when President Franklin Roosevelt withdrew the public domain lands in order to institute a nationwide land conservation program. During the life of the Homestead Act, 783,000 men and women 'proved up' their claim and were granted title to the land.

The Back to the Land Movement

In the 1970s, the word homesteading evolved to mean a lifestyle as tens of thousands of young adults and other adventurous souls threw off the cultural mantle of urban and suburban living and returned to their ancestral rural roots. These 'back-to-the-landers' were the core readers of Mother Earth News and the impetus for its creation, beginning in January of 1970. Over the next three decades, the character of the term homesteading has emerged to include self-sufficient living in urban and suburban settings as well as on rural acreage.

21st Century Homesteading

These days ...the phrase 21st century homesteading, which is all about self sufficiency — wherever you live. It's about using less energy, eating wholesome local food, involving your family in the life of the community and making wiser choices that will improve the quality of life for your family, your community and the environment around you. With today's advanced technology, living off the grid doesn't mean going without electricity, but producing your own with photovoltaics (PV), hydropower or wind turbines. In addition, home businesses are no longer limited to farm produce stands and craft sales, but can include marketing a home business or telecommuting via the Internet.

-Excerpt borrowed from MotherEarthNews.com , written by Heidi Hunt, published 7/13/07

Benefits of Backyard Farming

Benefits of Backyard Farming

1.  Freshness.  When food is picked fresh and eaten immediately, instead of being transported and stored, its nutrient content is at its highest and taste is at its best. 

2.  No chemicals.  Eliminating pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizer improves personal health, as well as the health of insect population and our ground water. 

3.  No driving.  Food grown at home eliminates the necessity of driving to and from the grocery store.  It also removes the transportation of produce, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and reduces carbon in our environment.  

4.  Understanding food.  A personal interaction with our food source reminds us of our humanity and our past as hunter-gatherers. 

5.  New hobby.  Gardening forces you to exercise, breath fresh air, enjoy the sunshine and observe the wonders of the natural world.  

6.  Healthy soil.  Healthy soil is the key to a healthy planet.  Soil controls and filters our water, soil stores carbon and maintains the balance of gasses in the air.  Soil supports biomass production which feeds us all.  

Rainwater Harvesting in San Diego

Here is an email I just sent to a friend about rain tank info in SD, Its pretty informative so I thought I'd share...

Hi ---------

San Diego offers a rebate for rain tanks 50 gallons (or more).  They will pay up to $75 a tank, up to 4 tanks per household.  This means that you can harvest 200 gallons min. of rain for free!  A 60 gallon rain tank is about the size of a wine barrel to give you an idea.  Tanks come in all different shapes and sizes.  You can get something recycled (like an old olive barrel), something new (mostly plastic for durability), some are food-grade plastic so you can use the water for cooking, some are metal, some narrow and tall, others big and short, etc.  You can have a tank that gravity feeds to a hose (run hose downhill to hand water), or dig it into the ground and use a sump pump.  You can even hook it up to an irrigation system if you get a large enough tank.  

Every 1" of rain yields 600 gallons per every 1000 sf of roof space.   San Diego averages about 10" or rain per year.  So if you have a 1000 sf home (roof space) then you could potentially gather 6000 gallons per year.  

Just to give you an idea on price.  A 1000 gal tank is around $700 delivered (not installed) and is about 6' diameter and 5' tall.  Its pretty big.  You can cover them with edible vines or make them look cool, but thats where a little design comes in.  

I hope this helps. I can also hook you up with a amazing installation crew and even help design your garden around rainwater if you want.  There are also ways to store water in the soil using mulch basins, etc.  

Talk to you soon!