There are as many different descriptions of the “perfect homestead” as there are different folks who will be living on those homesteads.
For some people, it might be a cabin in the woods, with ample opportunities for hunting and fishing, and a clear area near the house for a large garden. For others, it might be a big farmhouse on a prairie, with fields as far as the eye can see. For still others, the perfect homestead might consist of varied terrain for pasture, garden, and natural barriers to provide inaccessibility to others.
Part of what makes a homestead perfect boils down to personal preferences and what you plan on doing with it. The answers to questions like the following are unique to the individual:
- Do I prefer hot weather, cold weather, or a moderate climate?
- Do I plan to grow crops or a garden? If so, what kind?
- Do I plan to raise livestock? Again, what kind?
- Do I want a home that is already built or will I be building my own?
- What kind of alternative power do I intend to use?
- What is my fitness level? Am I able to climb up and down hills all day?
You have to understand yourself, your capabilities, and your limitations in order to properly make these decisions.
Some things are black and white, though. Carefully investigate the following five criteria. These are non-negotiable aspects of the perfect homestead.
It’s important that the land you select has abundant natural resources to support you in the event of a long term disaster. If public utilities are inoperable for any reason, you will have to provide heat, water, energy, and food for yourself. It’s important to select property in an area that helps you to meet your needs.
Look for the following:
- Water sources: springs, creeks, rivers, ponds or lakes
- Alternatively, a deep abundant well or aquifer
- Plentiful local sources of wood or coal
- Plentiful wildlife and/or fish
- Potential for alternative energy (sun, water, wind)
Most of those relocating to a homestead intend to become as self-sufficient as possible and farming is a big part of their sustainability plans. The goal of a homestead is to provide yourself with everything you need to survive. Not only will you garden to grow food for your family, but you will grow food for your livestock too. In the event of a disaster, you won’t be able to count on a grocery store or feed store nearby. When looking for the ideal farm, consider:
- Sufficient year-round precipitation – click here to find rainfall maps for each state.
- A long growing season – check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map here.
- Rich topsoil – find the USDA Inherent Land Quality map here.
- Adjacent properties use compatible farming methods.
- No restrictions on keeping livestock.
- No restrictions on agricultural use of land.
Compatible local government, laws, and culture
You will want to relocate to a place with more freedom, not less. These are important qualities to look for:
- Low taxes
- Non-intrusive local government
- Favorable zoning and inexpensive building permits
- A diverse economy and agriculture
- Minimal gun laws
- Local officials who are advocates of the constitution and gun ownership
- Inexpensive insurance rates (home, auto, health)
- A local lifestyle geared toward self-sufficiency
Low Risk for Natural or Industrial Disasters
No place is completely without risk. But you can carefully research to avoid the following potential hazards and prepare accordingly.
- No major earthquake, hurricane, or tornado risks
- No flooding risk
- No tidal-wave (at least two hundred feet above sea level)
- Minimal forest-fire risk
- Not close to chemical plants, landfills or toxic industries
- Not close to nuclear reactors
- Upwind from major nuclear-weapons targets
Finally, you want to minimize the risk from other people as well. In an extended emergency, those who are based in densely populated areas will migrate to rural areas looking for food, water and resources. Securing your land to keep squatters and migrants out will keep your family safer. Select a property that offers these characteristics:
- Geographic isolation from major population centers – Do you live near one of these major population centers?
- Distance from interstate freeways and other channelized areas
- Defendable terrain
- Not near a prison or large mental institution
- Natural barriers
If you’ve made the enormous decision to relocate and start a homestead, take the extra time to do it right. Do your research and find a piece of land that has the necessary qualities for you to be successful in your endeavor.
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Contributed by Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition.
Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.
Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals.