When I started this site almost nine years ago, there were few homesteading and survival blogs, podcasts, or vlogs around. Yet as the past few years have shown, more and more people are looking for ways to become more self-reliant.
And that’s exactly what homesteading is all about. Becoming more self-reliant to sustain your family by producing more of what you need. And depending less on buying the everyday conveniences so many people seem to think they need for survival.
The skills you learn from growing your own food to caring for your family while using less power can become valuable survival skills in a major situation or natural disaster. Here are a few of the homesteading and survival skills to start pursuing right now.
Knowing how to grow your own food is one of the best survival skills to learn. It will help you secure your food supply.
No matter where you live, start planning a garden.
Next, try growing food from seeds. Then if things go bad - supply chain disruptions, empty shelves, or even just a tighter household budget, you can grow your own food and provide for your family for the long term.
In addition, learn how to compost. And compost with your kids! Most homestead gardeners have their own compost piles to help keep their soil fertile and able to support their families.
If needed, it’s easy to add a few extra beds to a backyard garden.
You could also try indoor gardening. We even grew beans indoors, in our laundry room one year!
Look for vegetables that don’t require a full gardening season to harvest. And look for vegetables to plant in the fall too. That way, you’ll always have the ability to feed your family quickly even if it is late in the season.
Knowing about canning, dehydrating and preserving your foods from your garden and even from your freezer can help you preserve your food supply when things go bad. This is one of the most useful homesteading and survival skills for long-term situations.
Food preservation knowledge and skills help you save the food you grow, raise, and catch to help provide for your family. For families like ours, living on an off grid homestead, where winter also impacts our food supply, using these skills to stock our prepper pantry is crucial.
Start stocking extra supplies for things like preserving eggs for the long-term, smoking and dehydrating game meat, and canning fish and other fresh foods. You’ll be glad to have these items on hand so if things do go bad, you don’t need to worry about supplies while you find your footing.
Knowing how to forage for medicinal plants and wild edibles is another valuable skill to help your family. Basic knowledge of the plants that grow in your area (and their uses) is important for finding herbs and edible plants.
Look for a local foraging guide or a book on herbs that grow in your region. In our family, we use foraging to teach our children about science, natural remedies, and survival skills.
Now, not all homesteading and homeschooling families have time for foraging. If that’s the case for you, simply become familiar with the plants that grow on your property.
Stock up on hardcover or paperback foraging guides. That way, you can access them even if you lose access to the internet and electricity.
Knowing how to care for, breed, and raise homestead animals for meat is a great homesteading and survival skill.
Families with chickens, turkeys, rabbits, quail, goats, and other small livestock rest in the knowledge that they know how to raise animals for meat, eggs, milk, or even fiber. Small livestock like chickens are easy to raise with a high-value return.
In good times, a homegrown egg supply for your family and even for sale to make a little extra money from your homestead is a blessing. And during hard times these extra eggs can become a great bartering item for things you do not have.
Hunting and Fishing
Homesteading where we do, in Canada’s subarctic Northwest Territories, I strongly believe that learning to hunt and catch your own food is an invaluable skill. In our area, we hunt for rabbit, spruce grouse, ptarmigan, and moose.
Many homesteaders enjoy hunting to fill their deep freezers with food for their families. This skill can be very useful during meat supply shortages like we’ve been seeing in the past couple of years.
And since we live right on a large northern lake, fishing is another favorite pastime and useful survival skill. Take your family ice fishing in the winter when gardening season is done and teach the whole family this useful survival skill
Providing for your family when necessary is a great feeling and a great reason to hone your skills during hunting and fishing season.
Maintenance and Repairs
Homesteaders usually need to stick to a budget. This means they often need to perform maintenance or repairs to their own homes, vehicles, and tools. And to also find thrifty ways to get their DIY homestead projects done.
These skills could help you survive by giving you the ability to take care of your property. In addition, use your construction, electrical, and plumbing knowledge as a bartering tool for things you need or can’t do for yourself.
Remember, not everyone may have all the homesteading and survival skills you do.
First aid and CPR
Most homesteaders live away from the city and emergency services. This means to be able to ensure their family's safety they need to know how to handle a medical emergency and basic health concerns.
Basic first aid and CPR skills can become lifesaving skills in a time of an emergency or natural disaster. Knowing how to provide basic care for your family, prevent infection, and use herbal and natural remedies could save a life if you don’t have access to modern medical care in an uncontrollable situation.
How to Perfect Basic Tasks Off grid
As an off grid homeowner, I truly believe that all homesteaders should learn to run their homesteads off the grid right now.
Set aside money for an alternative energy source, such as solar panels. Buy a backup generator for home use. This would at least let you keep your freezers full of meat running in a power outage.
Learn how to cook (over a campfire or on a woodburning cookstove), clean, do laundry, and do other tasks without access to electricity. This better prepares you for homesteading and survival in an extreme SHTF situation. Or even just during an extended power outage.
Homesteading and survival go hand in hand. Remember, don’t just work on stockpiling supplies. Start building your survival and self-reliance skills because this is what you’ll need the most when times get bad.