I recently posted a photo to our Instagram feed of myself, a minimalist, canning and preserving a years worth of strawberry jam like any other homesteader this time of year. The post sparked an interesting discussion about the oxy-moronic minimalist homesteader and if there is such a thing.
Typically, if you look in a homesteader's pantry, it screams anything but minimalist. There will be shelves weighted with several recipes of jams, jellies, beans, pickles, salsa, pie fillings and if the supply has depleted, the scene sways to empty jars in a variety of sizes, canning equipment, not to mention the barn full of scrap wood, machines and gardening tools we would we would never know they actual names for.
Homesteading is defined as the lifestyle of self-sufficiency which entails growing and raising your own food, cooking and baking your meals, handicrafts such as knitting, crocheting, sewing, candle making and caring for livestock (ie, chickens, ducks, pigs, cows, goats and bees). It requires a lot of hard and continual work, as well as the tools requires to perform the above tasks. Raising chickens alone requires a coop, enclosed area, feeders, waterers, fencing, brooders, heat lamps, an incubator and so much more!
On the contrary, if you were to peek into a stereotypical minimalist's home the scene would be sparse, clean, tidy and contains only what's needed. However, minimalism is not only about getting rid of the things you don't really need but making the space in your life, your own, for the most important and interesting parts of your life and how you wish to spend your valuable days.
Growing food itself is a very minimal homesteading task in that it doesn't actually require a lot of tools or time, just earth and seeds are needed to grow food. It is so rewarding to grow your own food, you appreciate it much more and it is easier to experience the slow moments of pulling weeds. But in today's society, we are bred to be consumers, to purchase and accumulate the new and cool 'advertised at 15% off' gadget that will make your garden perform so much better, but in order to purchase this tool, you are required to work more hours to afford it.
So, if you dream to be a homesteader and you value and appreciate raising or growing your own food, have the tools to effectively do so. In all aspects of homesteading, from preparing your meals at home to performing vintage homesteading skills which you love to do. Just because you like the simplicity the minimalist lifestyle has to offer, doesn't mean you cannot accumulate what you need to do what you love.
In fact, the lifestyle of minimalism encourages you to make the time and the space in your life for this and certain tools are required to perform the homesteading tasks you want to participate in. However, be mindful of the stuff and the tasks you are accumulating, it's purpose in your life and on your homestead, and is it really necessary for you to live your life the way you choose.
Do you need three varieties of jam or will your favorite recipe made in one afternoon suffice. Grow only what you love to eat. Only keep livestock you will use for nourishment unless it provides bliss.
Although we may own more belongings as a rustic minimalist than that of an urban minimalist in a high rise apartment, we are both living a fulfilling, meaningful life which is our own.