Homesteading, or making a home instead…

Here are our favourite publications on what’s often referred to as ‘homesteading’.

It’s a funny word – homesteading – but useful, as it names something that isn’t captured by any other.  Still, the meaning might not be clear to everyone, plus everyone has a slightly different meaning in mind, and some popular understandings need challenging.

In particular, its common to feel that homesteading requires acreage, but along with some of the people listed below, we’d like to offer a slightly different take on that.  Homesteading, in our understanding, is essentially making your home productive to your basic needs.  It’s a choice about how to use the house and the land that you live in and on. Many people use their houses as a place to rest when they’re not making a living.  But some of us like to make our homes our way of living.  Or perhaps we aspire to that, as it’s not easy.

That said, most of the publications listed here do in fact refer exclusively to acreage larger than a suburban block.  Where they offer strategies for smaller land parcels, we’ll mention that. But if you are looking for strategies for productive living in the Australian suburbs, if you haven’t already, we recommend hopping straight to David Holmgren’s RetroSuburbia, and go from there.  In the spirit of the gift economy, David is now selling e-copies for whatever you can pay, so check that out.

In the meantime, here’s what we have read and recommend.



Note - we are not affiliated with any bookseller or publisher, but all titles link to the publisher's site




Dougherty, Shawn; Dougherty, Beth (2016): The independent farmstead. Growing soil, biodiversity, and nutrient-dense food with grassfed animals and intensive pasture management. White River Junction Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Falk, Ben (2013): The resilient farm and homestead. An innovative permaculture and whole systems design approach. White River Junction Vt.: Chelsea Green Pub.

Hartman, Ben (2015): The lean farm. How to minimize waste, increase efficiency, and maximize value and profits with less work. White River Junction Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Holmgren, David (2018): RetroSuburbia. The downshifter's guide to a resilient future /  David Holmgren. Hepburn Springs: Melliodora Publishing.

Jadrnicek, Shawn (2016): The bio-integrated farm. A revolutionary permaculture-based system using greenhouses, ponds, compost piles, aquaponics, chickens, and more. White River Junction Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Ussery, Harvey (2011): The small-scale poultry flock. An all-natural approach to raising chickens and other fowl for home and market growers. White River Junction Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing.

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