An encouraging trend is unfolding here in the great state of Alabama as more and more Alabamians are trading in their urban lifestyles for a more self-sufficient way of life.

Homesteading and self-reliance is experiencing a sudden surge. This new-but-old trend represents a significant departure from the fast-paced modern world, enabling families like mine – who made this change two years ago – to embrace a more sustainable and fulfilling way of life.

The reason most choose this homesteading life is the promise of self-sufficiency and a return to nature. Alabamians are rediscovering the joy of growing food, raising livestock, and generating energy. 

The COVID-19 pandemic brought this realization and interest to the forefront, and the loss of trust in government many experienced played a pivotal role in reawakening a generation. People reevaluated their priorities and looked for alternatives to traditional employment and ways to become less dependent on the government. And in a time of high prices, homesteading and harvesting food off the land can significantly reduce your living expenses.

This is an excellent reason young families should embark on such a venture. It enables them to fight the overwhelming economy, while also offering an escape from the chaos of this modern world. It allows families to enjoy a more relaxed way of life, while not missing all the beauty of the outside world.

The homesteading resurgence has also opened many opportunities for community building, bringing back some older ways of doing things – things like sharing in the responsibilities on other farms and earning a part of the harvest for your family.

Bartering is one of these community builders. For example, my family tends to have extra eggs, so we swap those with a local family whose wife is an excellent bread maker. It may seem like we are long past the days of horse and buggy, and that may be true, but becoming a local community, feeding and helping one another, is not a thing of the past, and this sense of community is a vital aspect to this way of life.

The skills needed to farm and homestead aren't being taught in our schools, so our children must learn them from us or from a local community of homesteaders or farmers. It would be a shame for generations after us to return to a lie-filled, government dependency rather than independence and self-sufficiency. Preserve this heritage!

Most of us who have embarked on this journey had family members that we learned most of our skills from. Others did not have that luxury, but that doesn't mean all is lost. If you have kids or want to learn, get to know a local homesteading family and offer to help them on the farm. Learn the skills you need, then take them and put them to use for your family.

Doing so also helps close the gap between older and younger generations. Let's continue to bridge this gap. Let's come together on the things we can trust that have not failed us for many generations. Young and old can learn that if you plant it, you can eat it without worry about what it contains. You can control that!

In essence, homesteading has the potential to reshape not only the state's rural landscape but also the lives of those who embrace it, offering a more sustainable future for all.

So when tempted to sell the land you inherited, stop and think! Farm it instead, changing your health and future and your family for many generations.

Ashley Carter is a wife, mother, and grandmother living in Elmore County, where she and her husband run Farm to Table Living and Carter Farms. Ashley serves as Controller and Executive Assistant at 1819 News. She is currently working on an inspirational book of short stories. To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email [email protected].

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