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What is Homesteading?
Homesteading is generally defined as a self-sufficient lifestyle, usually on a small farm in a rural location. Since it isn't always feasible to move to the country, urban homesteading is becoming more popular as people living in cities and suburbs want to grow their own food and become more self-reliant. While rural homesteaders may be living off the grid and producing their own food, a source of income is still necessary. Here is a list of ways to earn money from your homestead.
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Earn Money by Growing and Selling Produce
Sell organic fruits and vegetables- Fresh fruits and vegetables from an organic garden can be sold at local farmer's markets, at a roadside stand, or directly from the homestead site. Tomatoes, corn, peas, green beans, squash, strawberries and melons are just a few types of produce that are in great demand during the summer months. In milder climates, or if you have a greenhouse, many vegetables can be grown year round. Planting an orchard of fruit trees or a blackberry or raspberry patch offers the possibility of selling fresh fruit or making and selling preserves, jams or jellies. Customers can come and pick their own fruit while it is in season.
Sell grapes- If there are small wineries in your area, check to see if they are interested in buying locally grown organic grapes.
Sell culinary and medicinal herbs- Herbs for cooking or medicinal purposes are easy to grow and can be sold fresh or dried. Oregano, sage, thyme and rosemary are popular herbs for cooking. Chamomile, peppermint and lemon balm are a few herbs with medicinal properties. Lavender blooms profusely and can be used medicinally as well as made into potpourri or sachets.
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Earn Money by Raising Animals
Sell eggs- Fresh eggs, especially from free-range chickens, are always in demand. If some of the eggs are fertilized and allowed to hatch, baby chicks can also be sold.
Sell dairy products- Many people are looking for a local source of raw cow's milk or goat's milk. If you have dairy cows or goats, selling milk, cheese or other dairy products can be an excellent way to earn money. You can set up a schedule with regular customers for your fresh milk to have a predictable source of income.
Raise and sell livestock- If your homestead is large enough for one or more heads of livestock, then you can raise grass-fed beef. Calves can be purchased in the spring, allowed to graze over the summer, and sold "on the hoof" in the fall. Similarly, this can be done with lambs.
Breed and sell rabbits- Rabbits are easy to breed and can be sold as pets or for meat.
Raise sheep for wool- The raw wool can be sold, or spun into yarn, woven or knitted into clothing, which can then be sold.
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Other Ways to Earn Money while Homesteading
Keep bees and sell honey- Beekeeping is very rewarding, and having large numbers of bees in the vicinity aids pollination of crops. Local honey is especially desirable and is believed to have properties that are beneficial to health.
Teach classes- Many people are interested in learning about various aspects of homesteading. Offer classes or workshops on the things that you know how to do, such as organic gardening, raising animals or chickens, spinning and weaving, canning or other homesteading skills.
Rent a cabin for a rural retreat- If your homestead is on a large tract of rural land and has an extra cabin or yurt available, you can rent it out as a place for people to come for a quiet retreat.
Not all of these ideas will work for every homesteader, but any one or more of these activities will help homesteaders earn an income from their land.
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Evangelista, Anita. "10 Ways to Make Money on Your Land." Backwoods Home, http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/evangelista106.html
"Homesteading Income- Fourteen Ways You Can Earn Money from Your Land." http://www.organic-gardening-and-homesteading.com/homesteading_income.html