Creating a functioning homestead takes time, effort, and resources. It’s not something you should rush into or do without careful planning. Yet, often in the middle of a crises, we feel an overwhelming urgency to make radical changes to increase our sense of security. Unfortunately, that can be the hardest time to get started.
Fear can drive us to make quick decisions that aren’t our best options. Rather than rushing into homesteading without a plan, why not work on a few things you can do right away to feel more at ease in these times of turmoil?
This recent post that I wrote for Morning Chores will help you get started.
Also, below are a few extra resources to help you take some of actions on that list.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
For one of those 20 items, I mention signing up for a CSA or a local produce subscription from a farmer near you. You can use this resource to find a CSA near you (or to add one if you are a farmer not already on this list).
Study Herbal Medicine
One of the things I mention on that list is to learn herbal medicine. Personally, I grow medicinal herbs to support my basic health and provide vitamins and minerals my body needs. I use them frequently in cooking and tea blending. I also make herbal infusions, tinctures, and salves for things such as relaxation, treatment of minor injuries, help with digestion, improving gut health, strengthening my immune system in winter and periods of stress, and to get better rest.
These kind of basic, low-risk herbal medicine skills are something that I think any conscientious homesteader can learn through self-study and careful experimentation. However, even for the basics and especially when you move beyond basic skills, it’s extremely important to get your information from sources with long-term practical experience.
For example, I occasionally write articles about herbs with medicinal benefits (when assigned by an editor). I do detailed research and compile information on those herbs, but I don’t offer detailed prescriptive advice.
That’s because I’m not even remotely qualified to tell someone else how to treat a medical condition or to ascertain herb safety for them. It takes years of experience and study to achieve that kind of authority. When you read articles on herbal medicine written by someone like me (e.g. not a 20 year clinical herbal medicine practitioner), you should always treat it as an overview and a starting point for deeper research.
Whole Person Herbal Medicine
I also suggest you be extremely wary of any herbal medicine articles that offer quick fixes to complex health problems. For herbal medicine to be useful, you need to treat the whole person, not just the ailment. It’s not like when you go to the doctor and they give you a pill to bring down your blood pressure.
Herbal medicine practitioners examine your diet, lifestyle, health history, physical symptoms, mental state, and more to determine treatment protocols. There’s also a lot of experimentation to determine dosing and effectiveness. For that you need to work with, and learn from, people who have devoted their lives to the herbal medicine discipline.
Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine
Fortunately, I live just a few miles away from people just like this. Thomas Easley, one of the author’s of The Modern Herbal Dispensatory, is the director and founder of the Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine in Lowgap, North Carolina.
There are other qualified schools out there. But, since I just happen to know a lot about this one I wanted to share their links. If you have links to schools near you, run by extremely qualified life-long herbal medicine practitioners, please feel free to share them by using the comments section below.
By taking a few steps to increase your access to local food, strengthening community relationships, and managing your health at home, you can improve your self-sufficiency and your state of mind in the near term. Then, you’ll be in a good place to tackle the next steps like identifying resources, starting a garden, and bringing home livestock.