What is Living Off the Grid?

Living off the grid is defined as having a home that could conceivably survive in the event that our civilization collapses. This may sound a bit apocalyptic, but it’s not just conspiracy theorists who choose homesteading as a way of life.

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Cam and Heather Mather live off the grid in Ontario, CA on Sunflower Farm. Courtesy of MotherEarthNews.com

Many people are interested in “living off the grid” or homesteading as a greener way of life. Homesteading is broadly defined as a lifestyle of self­-sufficiency.

It may include any of the following:

  • Hobby farming,

  • Home preservation of foodstuffs,

  • Small scale production of textiles or clothing, and

  • Craft work for household use or sale.

Living off the grid is defined as having a home that could conceivably survive in the event that our civilization collapses. This may sound a bit apocalyptic, but it’s not just conspiracy theorists who choose homesteading as a way of life.

Who would choose to live off the grid?

  • Environmentalists,

  • Farmers,

  • Those with an independent mindset and

  • Other people who want to have a simple lifestyle.

Living off the grid means having a home that does not rely on public utilities. This sounds like an attractive option to people who love to homestead or do not want to rely on the high cost of gas and electricity.  It is a choice to reduce energy consumption and live in a more natural setting.

Where could one live off the grid?

The most likely places to live off the grid are homes in the country due to fewer zoning laws and more space. A plot of land is needed that can conceivably allow for alternative wind and solar energy. You may need to purchase a home unless a home is inherited or you buy a more affordable and portable living space (mobile home or shipping container home).

People who are most likely to live well off the grid don’t mind hard work and sacrifice. Homesteading requires a spirit of independence.  Also, commitment to lifelong learning is essential.  One day you are fixing your power source, the next day the plumbing, another day might include tending to a sick animal. A willingness to learn as you go is needed unless money is no object.

Why would you want to live off the grid?

For many, living off the grid is a sustainable way of life. It is their own, personal commitment to a greener way of life.  When solar and wind energy are used, it decreases the dependence on fossil fuels and reduces your carbon footprint.

A lot of people love the idea of the challenges that living off the grid offers.  Every day there’s something new to learn:

  • How to grow a garden,

  • How to preserve food,

  • How to care for livestock,

  • How to generate and store energy, water, heat, etc.

Many people grow enough of their own food and rarely go to a grocery store.

For many people, homesteading is a good way to be friendly to the environment and it’s a relief not to rely on overworked utility companies to meet their needs.

But it’s not for everyone.

In the next article, I’ll explain the pros and cons of living off the grid.

Home Canning: Better Quality Food on a Budget

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Home canning is experiencing a resurgence as an increasing amount of people want to know what’s in their food and want to be good stewards of the environment, but they are on a budget. If you are interested, there is an initial investment (to buy jars, lids, canner, etc) and time too, then home canning just might be for you.

Everything in home canning is reusable, except the food and the lids.  This helps the environment since there is less waste for landfills. The practical benefit is that after the initial investment, you’ll save more by spending less on canning supplies in the future.

What Canning Supplies Do I Need?

Jars: The jars you can get at little or no cost.  I found my canning jars from my mother-in-law who rarely uses them.  There may be someone close to you that would love to give you the canning jars from their basement, maybe even give you some tips.  Try buying jars at thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets for even less than retail.

Bands and Lids: In retail stores, the bands and lids are about $12 for a twelve pack (depending on the jar size). The lids themselves are around $6 for twelve.

Canner: The biggest investment is the canner, which is around $20 – ­$100 depending if you want a boiling water bath canner or a pressure canner.  If you just want to can high acid foods like tomatoes, jams, and jellies, then a boiling water bath canner is for you.  However, I would suggest the pressure canner because you can preserve both high and low acid foods as it doubles as a boiling water bath canner.  I know this is expensive; however, they are made to last several lifetimes and you can always buy it on layaway.

Miscellaneous: You will also need the Ball Blue Book or Putting Food By ($6­ – $14) and a basic canning utensil kit ($8­ – $12).  All of the mentioned canning paraphernalia will last quite a few years if you take care of them properly.

 

I’ll be writing more how-to’s of home canning as well as other homesteading articles! What are your experiences with canning food?

Welcome New Blogger, Kelly!

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It’s been a work in progress, but I’ve hired one new blogger to keep this site updated monthly.

Please give a warm welcome to Kelly! We met many years ago in high school and we were reunited about a year ago when I relocated to my hometown. I’m soo excited to have her on board as a writer, friend and greener living advocate.

Kelly has dabbled in freelance writing, but nothing as exciting as Just About Greener Living. Her passions include baking her own bread and making food from scratch without additives or preservatives. “Passionate about using Scratch Cooking as a way to be healthier and healthier for the planet too,” Kelly says.

If she won the lottery, “I’d give everyone in my family professional mixers because they’ve been my most useful kitchen tool.”

Kelly is a true angel of the heart, she enjoys helping people out in any way she can whether it’s cooking a meal or donating some of her own canned food to just lending an ear.

A Random Act of Kindness Kelly likes is, “giving strangers a compliment to make their day.”

Look for blogs about her experiences and love of cooking, canning and other homesteading topics.

Got a question about the above topics for Kelly? Email kpelton@greenerlivingblog.com

Welcome to the Just About Greener Living family and advocating a healthier lifestyle for the planet!