Homesteaders and Preppers: We Are All On the Same Team

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I’m not sure why people so often feel the need to be smug and put down others for their self-reliance efforts. Maybe it’s because they need to feel superior. Maybe they don’t actually see the entire picture, and their opinions are based on only partial information. Maybe, giving the benefit of the doubt, they don’t realize how demoralizing their comments are to others who are doing the best they can with the resources they have.

The other day, I saw a comment that made me see red. A person said, “The more time I spend in the self-sufficiency space, the more I’m convinced that homesteading really is the grown up version of prepping.”

Why does it have to be like that? Why does one have to be considered “better” than the other? Either way, people are getting prepared for the worst, so is it really necessary to claim that your way is the only way? Homesteaders and preppers; I always thought we were on the same team.

It’s just plain divisive. There are pros and cons to both. I took to Facebook to see what the community thinks about homesteading versus prepping.

Homesteaders & Preppers: We Are On the Same Team | Backdoor Survival

Homesteaders vs. Preppers

After I saw that comment, I wanted to know if it was just me, or if others felt the same way.  (And please, if you aren’t in the Facebook community, weigh in on this topic in the comments – I really want to know what you think.)

I posted:

I went ballistic when I saw this quote: “Homesteading is the grown-up version of prepping”. WTF? As far as I am concerned, Prepping is the grown-up version of homesteading.

Am I right or wrong? Do I need to get a grip? What are your thoughts?

There was a wide range of answers and some incredible insights.  The quotes here are not edited, but appear just as they were posted on Facebook.

Many were baffled over why this was even a discussion since the two lifestyles are different roads to the same destination.

Some people agreed that there was no reason to put one type of self-reliance over another.

As someone once said to me “Every homesteader is a prepper (necessity) but not every prepper is a homesteader.” Honestly, they are so closely linked that the lines are almost non-existent.

Both mindsets are a matter of taking responsibility for yourself and those around you. Putting one over the other is unnecessary. Everyone has their own focus and needs.

Prepping leads us to homesteading, but I think they sort of go hand in hand, depending on how serious a person is willing to go and how they go about it-just my 2-cents

Both are about being more self sufficient. I think they intertwine. Lot of homesteaders prep, and lot of preppers practice some form of homesteading

I think being derogatory to either life-style or mind-set is very unproductive. They actually go hand-in-hand with each other. If a “homesteader” is not considered a “prepper” then they are doing it wrong, because homesteading means putting food, money, etc. by for a less productive season. (i.e. harvesting & canning all summer to eat all winter). Preppers just put food, money, etc., away for a lean season of life, not a season of the year.

Here on our little farm we garden all summer to get ready for winter, but we also have our “preps” for which we have had to rely lately with my husband being laid off. Our garden is also not very productive this year, thanks to very heavy rains…but on the flip side, our chickens have been paying for themselves & the other animals’ feed all summer with the sale of eggs. Being self-sufficient is a good thing, and neither shouldn’t be thought of as “exclusive”.

When you homestead, and get use to being self sufficient, with growing your own food, raising your own livestock, canning, freezing, freeze drying, smoking meats, etc; you tend to awaken to prepping as an additional necessity. Being self sufficient isn‘t enough any longer. They are compatible. I’ve even seen some folks in the cities and suburbs begin prepping, and realize they need to move. So they buy some land and begin homesteading to expand prepping. Hand and glove for both.

I don’t think homesteading is a grown up version of prepping. I think homesteading and prepping are being GROWN up and aware.

Others agreed with the concept that homesteading was superior.

Homesteaders usually tend to focus on long term sustainability and know how to do a lot more for themselves. Preppers tend to be city kids with money who want to protect what they have amassed. They are usually fond of gadgets and guns. Just an observation of what I’ve seen and experienced personally. Not trying to offend anyone. I’m happily in the middle.

Homesteading is a way of life!!! A lifestyle choice to live today in a more sustainable self-sufficient manner (no matter what tomorrow brings). Prepping is trying to stay prepared for what might happen so you can live tomorrow. I choose today.

Whoa! As someone who has homesteaded for the past 17 years and actually walked the walk, I can assure you that there is so much more to it that any prepper will ever comprehend. I hate for this to sound so self-righteous, but it is just simply true.

Let’s compare: Most preppers go click happy on amazon and squirrel away a bunch of goodies, maybe tests out some gear once a year on a camping trip and spends Saturday mornings at the shooting range. Great, I think that is fabulous and every urbanite should do that.

Now lets examine a homesteader who trudges to the barns and fields 365 days a year, hot or cold. Collects the milk, churns butter, makes cheese, keeps their tractors running, puts their animals care above their own, plows the garden(a real half acre garden, not just two tomatoes plants and a zucchini) plants dozens of rows of seeds that they collected and saved from last year, then spends 120 days hoeing weeds, pruning, picking canning, drying, freezing, saving more seeds for next year. Lets not forget about cutting wood to keep warm and quilting, and sewing clothing. If you define grown-up as more responsibilities and duties, then clearly real homesteading is more grown-up.

I think prepping is a step to homesteading. A homesteader is the finished product.

I’m leaning towards prepping being a paranoid version of homesteading.

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Others thought that prepping was the way to go.

I’m with you on this Gaye. I am certainly not A “homesteader” but being an apartment prepper, I am privileged to purchase items for survival and purchase food items from farmers markets to can in jars. I also purchase food from vendors in the grocery store, however I prefer fresh veggies, fruit and eggs. Saying all that to say. I put my money, earned from other sources toward the benefit of homesteaders who are privileged to earn by labor for their own prepping. I don’t even consider “grown-up” as part of the prepping vocabulary.

We all accomplish the same goal, just in different ways. I happen to like ours better. So your not wrong, for sure…and I certainly could not have done this for over two years, without your guidance!!! Thanks millions!!

Prepping is not a childish activity, first off, it is the next step beyong homesteading, or rather, an extension of it, the next logical step. If it is homesteading to put up your harvest for the winter, prepping would be putting up enough for next winter too.

Here’s what I think.

Some of the most prepared families on the planet live in cities, have jobs, and send their kids to school. They are not second class preppers because they do not homestead and produce 100% of what they consume in terms of power, food, and medicine.

Our society needs all types to survive and flourish. We need teachers, doctors, merchants, accountants, leaders, and worker-bees. Everyone is important and to set aside homesteaders as a superior class of prepper is just wrong.  You can (and should) be prepared no matter where you live.

I have written about homesteading in place and a guest author wrote a great series about homesteading when you rent. But glorifying homesteading and homesteaders over and above all others that live a preparedness lifestyle? No.

Everyone can be prepared in one way or another. It is not about always producing your own food. Sometimes your garden flops – that is real life and if it happens, you’d better be prepared to feed your family regardless.

To those that feel they are better prepped by homesteading than others who are not homesteaders, let me ask you this: who is going to rebuild society if it all goes to crap (SHTF)?

I can guarantee that it will take all types from all walks of life.  Let’s build each other up instead of tearing each other down. Let’s offer equal respect to the entire self-reliance community for the different gifts that they bring to the table.

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The Final Word

This is a topic I have been mulling for a month or two.  After reading the comments on Facebook, I was able to calm down and get a grip.  At the end of the day one side is not a winner and the other is not a loser.

For those that care to set themselves apart as superior, I say get over it.  Instead of embracing our differences, let us band together in unity.

We are in this together.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

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Comments

Homesteaders and Preppers: We Are All On the Same Team — 33 Comments

  1. I feel it’s ridiculous to make comparisons between homesteaders/farmers and “preppers.” There really aren’t many legitimate comparisons.

    We’ve lived (and survived) on a homestead for 30 years. We have raised most of our own foods, including meats that have come from our sustainable livestock breeds. We not only grow our own fruits and veggies but we save the seeds for future crops, and we sprout some of those saved seeds for ourselves and some of our livestock.
    We grow our own hay, we’ve got acreage that we use for pasture and acreage that is wooded to cut our firewood.

    We are in a rural area and we’re on a well. We also capture rainwater into a large storage tank. We heat by wood. We grow our own plants from seed, and we use our hand-built greenhouse. We grow and preserve our own foods. We grow most of our herbs and some spices.

    Our skills are vast, from construction of large buildings to the erection of small out-buildings. We can work a horse in a field to plow. We can cut and stack hay. We can grow our vegetables to seed. We can graft heirloom fruit trees. We can do the vast majority of skills that are necessary for a farm/homestead. How many “preppers” can say this?

    We aren’t ordering our foods from one of the freeze dried companies. We dont go to a store or a farmers market to buy the foods and then can or dehydrate them. We ARE the store. Can “preppers” lay claim to growing the vast quantity of their foods?

    We are truly quite self sufficient and if our power supply were to go out, we are fine. If there was some type of long term power outage (think EMP), we have the old equipment to continue along, 19th century style.

    Tell me how many “preppers” can say these things?

    We are NOT the same, and to suggest that we are on the ‘same team’ is odd. By admitting this, you clearly see that there is a game involved. I can assure you, homesteading IS NO GAME. It is a life commitment that involves great sacrifices, unlike those who claim they are “preppers” because they have firearms and buy stuff to stock their shelves.

    Perhaps the anger coming from a comparison between a homesteader and a “prepper” is because some are unable to lay claim to being truly self-sufficient as a hands-on homesteader/farmer.

    • Whoa. So the person who teaches your children and grandchildren at school instead of devoting their entire life to their farm and, therefore, is preparing for an uncertain future by buying and stockpiling is less than you; less devoted to preparing than you? Is that what I am hearing? That because someone makes different choices in life for their livelihood and the only way they can “prepare” is ” they have firearms and buy stuff to stock their shelves” makes them less than a “true homesteader”?

      Who made that tractor you are spending time fixing? Who made and sold the parts you are using to fix that tractor? Who drilled for the oil, refined it, delivered it to the station and sold you the fuel you use in that tractor and car you use on your homestead? Now those people made choices for their life that is making your life style choice possible….their only choice for preparedness is ” they have firearms and buy stuff to stock their shelves”

      Your canning jars? Someone else made a choice to work in a factory to produce them. The bags you store things in? Someone else’s life choice to manufacture them. Jar lids? Water purification products(if you use it)? Bailing twine? That hammer you build with? The lumber you use to build with? (Ok, maybe you have a portable sawmill….but probably you don’t) The nails and screws that hold your buildings together? Just noticed you can use a horse and plow…that plow the horse is pulling? Someone made those things and you bought them to stock your shelves to have for when you needed them. If EVERYONE homesteaded, instead of choosing other occupations, then homesteading would not be possible. So, IMHAHO, (that’s “in my honest and humble opinion”) the world needs everyone….and no one is better than anyone else…no matter what their choice….cuz I certainly don’t want to work in a waste water treatment plant, but I am thankful someone does. (and I don’t want latrine duty or cleaning the septic tank either. And someday your septic tank is going to need to be pumped no matter how good a leach field you have and you are going to be very glad someone is willing to do that job even if it means they are forced to prepare for the future by “have(ing) firearms and buy(ing) stuff to stock their shelves.)

      • Well Cass, you outdid yourself on that big rant of yours, but you did manage to prove the point that us homesteaders have. (We do have our own portable mill and it’s housed in the pole barn we built from our own lumber.)

        As I mentioned, we can (and do) live in a more 19th century lifestyle. That era in time was when the vast majority of Americans were self sufficient and raised most of their own foods, going to stores for the oddities like sugar, tobacco, or cloth. Now, though, the American lifestyle is highly dependent on a JIT model and once that system breaks down, it’s over.

        I would like to point out the error in your comment, ” If EVERYONE homesteaded, instead of choosing other occupations, then homesteading would not be possible.” Actually, until the Industrial Age in America, the majority of Americans were not consumer-driven and were involved in a more homestead-like lifestyle. (Have you read American history yet?)

        Unfortunately, the majority, including you and 90+% of Americans, are part of the enormous problem that America now faces — you are part of the dependent consumer-driven majority who are firmly tied into a very fragile grid of consumer-driven needs. Your case-in-point with that wastewater treatment plant is a perfect example of how urban/suburban lives depend on yet another “system” to take care of their personal needs. (FYI, not everyone on a well has a “septic tank”, as you call it. However, even most of those contained septic systems, if managed properly, will not overflow.

        Canning jars, fyi, have been around since the 1800s. They are a manufactured good that most households purchased to help with food preservation. Again, have you read any American history?

        “Water purification products” — you see, there you go thinking like that 21st century consumer. You are aware that sand and several layered filters will purify the majority of water, right? (That’s the basis behind what a well does, too.)

        Think in terms of RAW GOODS, not processed products. I realize you are mentally tied into consumerism and ‘the system’, but learn how products are made and stop wasting so much money on finished products so that you might become less encumbered. Nails can be forged easily. Screws and other small hardware can be made at home with the right equipment, just so you know. My husband has a metal lathe and he not only produces his own firearms but he makes screws from the thin metal that can be purchased by the foot. Didn’t know that either, did you?

        This morning’s chore was butchering 9 young hens that are now awaiting the canning pot. This afternoon, a bushel of green beans that were picked last evening will be pressure canned. This evening I will keep working on a quilt. Tomorrow I will process some fresh picked early fall apples to turn into applesauce for the canner. And all of this is accomplished while homeschooling one of my grandchildren.

        But you can keep on spending…I’m betting that you are in debt, too, huh?
        So much for all that “prepper” mindset. You wouldn’t last 2 days at our farm and therein lies one of those differences. It isn’t just physical demands, it is an entirely different outlook which I have pointed out to you.

        • “Think in terms of RAW GOODS, not processed products. […] Nails can be forged easily.”

          Did you dig a mine for that metal and smelt it down to extract it from the ore?

          “My husband has a metal lathe and he not only produces his own firearms but he makes screws from the thin metal that can be purchased by the foot.”

          What? He didn’t make the barrels or the lathe? Oh, I see, purchasing metal by the foot is being self-sufficient, and pressure cookers grow on trees.

          “But you can keep on spending…” And you were saying?

          This was interesting and relevant, history:

          Fascinating New Graph Shows the ‘Economic History of the World Since Jesus’
          By James Nye

          “For the majority of human history the most important factor in economic growth was the relationship between births and deaths.

          If there were too many births then there was not enough food to go around and without mass production techniques people went without until there was starvation or disease.”

          The Most Important Unanswered Historical Question in the World
          By Gary North

          “.. . there is no sign of any improvement in material conditions for settled agrarian societies as we approach 1800. There was no gain between 1800 BC and AD 1800 – a period of 3,600 years. […]

          According to the census of 1800, the United States of America […] more than two thirds of the people clung to the seaboard within fifty miles of tide-water, where alone the wants of civilized life could be supplied.”

          Do you have your own salt mine? I don’t.

    • My hat goes off to any true homesteader. Anyone that can live a life style that if left alone could live off the land with the knowledge they have and not worry about if they have enough of a particular dehydrated product to make life sustainable. I think I am a cross between a prepper and a homesteader. I have a few acres and I have a few critters, garden, and apple trees.
      I have a greenhouse in that I have used aquaponics, but fish are to temperamental. I am now going to hydroponics. I have built feeders for my critters to last up to a week because I don’t have the fortitude that true homesteaders have. I dont want to be required to do all the things daily that you do. I still run to the store to buy some packaged chicken if I am not in the mood to kill some of my girls. A homesteader would never consider buying packaged meat.
      I wish I could be a homesteader, but I love to be able to turn the handle on my faucet and clean (hopefully) water comes out.
      My opinion is that the homesteader is the ultimate prepper. I think the average prepper couldn’t keep up with a homesteader for a week. The blisters on their hands would stop them.

  2. I don’t feel at all that one’s superior to the other. As it’s been pointed out, we’re all in this together & we’re all trying to accomplish the same goal, to be more self-reliant. I’m shocked that someone would even make a comparison between the two. I myself feel there’s no difference between them. When I first started prepping I thought that homesteaders were a little different in that they had land for livestock and gardening etc., but have since learned that you can homestead anywhere, a house, apt., wherever. As long as you’re doing what you can to be self-sufficient, I believe the two go hand in hand

  3. There are always two sides to every story and it takes all types of people to make a community survive. Yes, homesteaders have a more complete self sufficient life style because they have the ability to grow their own food etc. BUT not everyone can do that in today’s society. Some must do what they can, as they can to help them and their families survive in times of hardship. Many would love to live in a rural setting and have their own farm but it is just not realistic to expect everyone to be able to do so.
    Everyone can bring something to the table in times of need whether it is a special skill like knowing how to build a solar panel/system, butchering, carpentry, teaching history or math or cooking, canning, gardening, medical skills, automotive repairs, or thousands of other things that may be needed.
    Today too many are trying to divide our country and our society into good and bad. Whether that is law enforcement versus minorities, whites versus blacks, straight versus homosexual or whatever differences that you can imagine. We need to quit labeling everyone and try to work together. We need to help each other instead of tearing each other down. Our country was built on that principal and we need to return to it.

  4. Can’t we just live and let live? I’m glad to see so many people trying to take care of themselves in whatever way they can. It’s better that we rely on ourselves and help each other.

  5. I think they are not exclusive, nor is one better than the other. We are preppers, although we haven’t gotten very far just yet. A bit over a year ago we bought a big chunk of land. It has no running water, and we ran power to it shortly after buying it. We are preparing to get a well dug after we get our tractor. We have plans to move there in 5 years or so. For now, we have our camper there, we go there as often as possible, we hunt it, and are clearing an area for our homestead. Our present home has a large yard, but no decent area for a garden (we have tried several times), not enough sun in either yard. The soil is awful, so we tried raised beds, no luck. Our county just passed an ordinance to allow up to 10 chickens for anyone with under 2 acres of land. But with us splitting time between our property and our home we wouldn’t be able to take care of chickens if they were in one place or another. I sew, knit, crochet, make all my own cleaning supplies and soap, cook from scratch, and we harvest our own venison. I stock up on and buy in bulk canned goods (I have a pressure canner, but my stove won’t support it, looking for a good side burner for it), rice, flour, glycerin to make soap, vinegar, borax, washing soda, etc. We truly want to be self-sufficient homesteaders, but we aren’t there yet. Yes, that is somewhat belittling to say that homesteading is the grown up prepping, but some of us just have to do the best we can.

  6. Here’s an idea – let’s just get rid of labels & everyone do the best they can. Then when you feel satisfied with your way of life turn around & extend a hand to someone who’s trying to do what you’ve done. Some people just have a need to feel superior; I think it’s a self-esteem issue. If you’re fortunate enough to have a homestead just count your blessings. Thanks for a great article.

  7. I see one difference and it’s an important one. Preppers may be able to stock up enough for a short-term disaster, even a year or two, but eventually they will run out of their preps if the situation is really bad and long-term. Homesteaders have a lifestyle that means their preps are replenishable. I live on two acres in a semi-rural community and you might say I am a hybrid. I think a lot of people fall into this category. I have chickens and a big garden. I can and dehydrate a lot of my food storage from my own produce. I have a rainwater catchment system and a wood stove as back up heating. I am working on some solar backup. I save seeds. I am learning to forage, trap and hunt. I am also getting to know my local farmers, ranchers and homesteaders, from whom I buy meat, dairy and produce and sometimes trade my own bounty. More canning, dehydrating and freezing. But I don’t have the time, energy or enough infrastructure to be able to call myself a homesteader. Still on the grid, etc.

    So I also store freeze-dried foods, have a rotating food storage and have a lot of the “stuff” that preppers often stock. You can go both ways — be a prepper and fill in the gaps with home-grown and local stuff or be a wanna be homesteader and fill in the gaps with commercial preps. As long as your bases are covered!!!

    The more you can do for yourself that’s renewable and creates self-sufficiency, the better. But having some of the typical preps is just wise. What if your garden doesn’t do well that year? What if you get sick and you just can’t do the work for a while? What if marauders pillage your garden or steal your livestock (and you didn’t get to dispatch ’em first)? What if you end up with extra folks or need stuff to trade? It’s all good. Backup system after backup system. And most important of all is the the knowing how. Plus, the learning is just plain fun.

  8. As I read all the comments I was amazed. When I was in high school my family moved from an urban area to our own homestead. We grew our food in a large garden, raised pigs, rabbits, chickens and goats. Made maple syrup in the spring. We didn’t have electricity, and didn’t need it. I must say I learned how to do many things, but mostly I learned that I needed to be self reliant. That was in the 70’s.
    Today I live in a small rural town. If, or when the SHTF the thought of being in an urban area would make me uncomfortable.
    We are all working at being prepared. Each of us maybe with different priorities. We are however, all on the same side. That is true. Self reliance is going to set us all apart from those that believe someone will be there to catch them when things turn to crap.

  9. I agree with mary,Gaye. I CAN NOT farm due to health issues with both my husband and I. I would dearly love to be rural and raise my own animals, food, etc.but just can’t. To say that I am playing at this is an insult not only toward me and other preppers but to the homesteaders themselves. Yes I agree there are those out there that are a bit, (how do I put this politely), a little off-kilter but on whole we are a pretty normal bunch of people, doing what we can WHERE we are at. Yes I have been on a farm working, milking cows by hand, tilling the ground, etc. I no longer can do that physically but I have skills I can bring to the table, DaHubs has skills too, so we “homestead” in a town instead of on acreage. Sorry Gaye, but I get so cranky when some, not all, have what I call a snotty attitude towards those that aren’t doing the exact same thing as they are. THAT is what’s wrong in the world today IMO, NO ONE sees differences as an asset but something to fear and denegrate.

  10. Intelligent, frugal Prepper’s, know that homesteading should be a part of their prepping. The size, and amount of homesteading, they can do is limited by how much space they have. Some can only grow their food on a balcony, or patioy. This doesn’t make their homesteading invalid, or less than important. Their efforts are no less than the efforts of other homesteader. The purpose of both, is the same. To feed themselves, and their families, now, as well as in an emergency, or at a future date. They both advocate healthy, and organic foods, herbs, and spices. They both seek natural remedies for health problems, and the list goes on. The biggest difference, is the reasoning behind the the use of weapons. They both hunt, and will kill predators, but mos

  11. For us, my wife and I in any emergency we will shelter in place if that is viable up to 90 days. Should evacuation be needed we can and will car camp and are experienced car campers. The bulk of supplies and extra gasoline and water means we need a small trailer to last 90 days camping without resupply. We will have a 800 mile range if roads are clear. And if not and reduced to backpack and two small carts with supplies maybe a couple of weeks. Really survival will depend on the emergency and the behavior of other people.

  12. I think that prepping is a part of homesteading, and everyone’s goal should be to attempt to become more self-sufficient. However, I also think that homesteading is not an option we all have the luxury of making. We have a family to support and my husband’s job is such that we have to be in a city. Without his job, we can’t support our family. We try to be as prepared as we can be given our circumstances, but it isn’t possible for us to relocate and unplug from modern life completely. My hat is off to those that have the ability to do so, but it isn’t a possibility for everyone. Either way, they are both just two sides of the same coin, and we should all be supporting everyone’s effort to be more prepared- even if they are just taking baby steps! We are all in this together.

  13. Preppers and homesteaders are different based on the motivation and purpose of the individual or group for being prepared. No one should care about what someone else thinks of your prep skills, purpose or motivation. You are what you are and you are at where you are at. There are plenty of skills and ideas that can be shared here where we all can benefit.
    Further complicating this division, when the general public hears the word prepper they automatically think of doomsday preppers, militia types, anti government types, and conspiracy types when in fact there are a lot of moderate type preppers who simply like being aware of the possible things that can go wrong in life and they want to be ready to deal with these problems when they present themselves. I came to this website, in particular, because I thought it presented a moderate approach.

  14. Words and their definitions are created and change so frequently these days that I, frankly, can’t keep up. I’m a Survivalist because that’s what they called it back in the 80’s so that’s what I still am. I grow as much of my food as I can, I preserve it as best I can, I grow and harvest what medicines I can, I try out new things and old that I read about online and in books from the 1700-1900’s, I listen to my Grandma who is still with us about what worked for her family and what failed, etc. I also buy things I need from the store when I can. I, for one, don’t find harvesting sugar from sugar beets to be the best way to go out about obtaining sugar. I have the skill to do it in an emergency, but until then C+H all the way.

    Growing up I lived in a very storm-heavy area and we always kept the pantry stocked, the water containers full, the candles and hurricane lamps handy, the firewood split, the house in good condition, etc. This was because when the trees came down in the winter storms and took out the power lines, you couldn’t get to the store without sawing through a couple dozen or waiting for the road crews to do so. Even if you got to the store, it hardly would matter as they were in the same boat as everyone else. Add on to that, the wells obviously don’t run without power, the toilets don’t flush without water, and the huge city hours away always got first priority for work crews. So, every winter storm our little piece of the backwoods would be without water and power for 2-5 days. Did we call it prepping? No. Did we call it homesteading? No. We didn’t call it anything. It was just living and a bit of common sense.

    I didn’t have a name for what we just did until I saw a movie by the name of Tremors. I was young and impressionable and there was an older couple in the movie by the name of Burt and Heather Gummer. They were hilarious, no-nonsense, and prepared for absolutely everything (or so they thought). I asked my Mom, “they’re kind of like us, but more, what are they?” And she said, “they’re Survivalists.” And I thought to myself, that’s what I want to be when I grow up. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m getting there.

    Long rambling story short; what do I think of the difference between Preppers and Homesteaders and Survivalists and all the rest? I think they’re a whole lot of words. I think if the words give you strength and you pull something from them, great! Fantastic! But if you’re using them to do nothing but divide people, or put people down, or imply people aren’t good enough because they don’t do X… well, please remember: they’re just a bunch of words. Nothing more than vibrations of the throat on an exhalation of air.

  15. Why would we even discuss what lifestyle is better? Being able to take care of yourself and your family is a valiant goal. Who are we to judge one person’s efforts/lifestyle over another’s. Be greatful that we have people with different skills, interests and abilities because we need them all. No one prepper, homesteader, survivalist, whatever, could make it without others in the community over the long haul. We need each other. To judge, for me, ruins what I feel is a great movement in our country, growing stronger as time goes by. To do what you can to take care of yourself and your family will help each and every one of us if there is a huge disaster. I guess I would like to believe that we would pull together, those of us who are trying to take care of ourselves.

  16. Wow, we have more important things to worry about in this day and age besides dividing us by a few chosen words. Whatever skill you have, along with determination will help you prepare in the way you are comfortable.
    We all have many avenues to draw from in this time period, Gaye’s site has helped many of us close loopholes where we might not of otherwise been aware.
    There is strength in numbers, foster a goodwill attitude in your community as I have, I couldn’t possibly do it alone if things go to hell in a handbasket.
    Good luck to preppers and homesteaders alike, we need each other in times of crisis.

  17. I wasn’t even aware of this division among some preppers and some homesteaders. I saw a video online once about how a pencil is made (I-Pencil) it showed how no one single person really knows how a simple pencil is made. It seems that some homesteaders are saying they alone know how to make a pencil and it is due to their reliance in staying in one place and having this or that thing.
    During the Dust Bowl years many homesteaders were forced off their land because they couldn’t pay the taxes or the mortgage on the land, etc… and their reliance on the land and equipment became a huge liability, it seemed as if they were less likely to adapt and overcome – and less ready – than were others who were not so reliant on trying to make a pencil all by themselves, as Cass’ comment above outlines.
    Therefore, it’s not what people are doing or what they have that makes the division, rather, it’s the mind-set. So perhaps the negative attitude towards each other is due to a ridged or narrow perspective on how is the best way to approach life and the hurdles thrown at them?

    For example, in another thread someone asked, ‘what would you do if you knew you only had a week to prepare?’ my thought was, how would someone know this? Because knowing that, means knowing what exactly to prepare for. I.e. a tidal wave washing over the state of Florida is easy-ish enough for someone who lives there to prepare for if you somehow knew with certainty it was approaching: move.
    Some homesteaders seem to have the mind-set they know exactly what they are preparing for, but what if they have a week to shuck all their best stuff in a truck and have to hit the road because they were wrong? Would it be far easier for a prepper who does not homestead full tilt to become a homesteader, or for a homesteader to become a mobile and adaptable prepper?

    Perhaps the best mind-set is to be able to become either a prepper or a homesteader and to realize one can’t do it all, and the superior position is only evident in hindsight, not foresight? May the odds, be forever in your favor.

    Also, this division reminds me of the attitude of and between renters and homeowers as described often in the comments section at TheHousingBubbleBlog. But that’s another story, albeit, one with the same theme.

  18. I’m not sure prepping or homesteading has anything to do with why anyone belittles another efforts. I think you are talking about pure psychology. Some personality types have a demonstrated need to be right. Classically they are some mix of Choleric and Melancholy personality styles. They have a need to criticize or tear down in order to build themselves up. others have a political agenda, and still others might have a competitive business agenda.
    IMO most variants of preparing or disaster preparedness have something to offer and learn from. After all we all have to “roll our own” for our personal situations.
    Atheists complain about people who God or some do .. which is silly .. If he isn’t there why complain about people who believe in nothing.
    I’m not arguing for or against… just implying that some people have a need to complain about anyone that is not like themselves or believes like they do.

  19. As I read both the blog and the comments, I couldn’t help seeing this like sibling rivalry. In the same family but bickering and arguing to get more attention. There may be more to it but as with most families, when the rubber meets the road, and disaster threatens, they work together to pull through it all. Everyone has different views, strengths and ways of accomplishing what has priority for them. The key is not just to survive but to thrive AFTER whatever happens. The need for community will be what makes the diff because like it or not, humans are social animals and need each other. Better to learn together than be divided and picked off one at a time. 😉

  20. I do believe there are differences but definitely not one better than the other. I have 10 acres and 25 chickens. We purchased this 10 years ago and it had always been my dream to homestead…more my dream than my husbands…so dream cut short….not fulfilled.

    To me homesteading is living off the land in all facets of life, and prepping is preparing foods and storing foods that I either grow or (more than likely purchased on sale from a grocery store) for an emergency situation. Since I’m getting much older now and don’t have the energy to do more homesteading acts, I am now in full swing of prepping and putting up food for when the world comes crashing down around us.

    • Your comments reminded of something. Twenty years ago, there was great concern about the youth moving to the urban areas while the old seasoned farmers and ranchers stayed on the land. Many were concerned about who would be doing the farming/ranching in the future. It is because of you, Missy, and others like you that have returned to the land which will be the connections to the youth. So you don’t have the wherewithall to do what you wished. Make connections and teach what you have learned. Many are bringing young people from schools to teach about the land. Depending on what events happen, it may be to you that these young people come when disaster happens. You will have those extra hands to help so keep learning so you can share and teach. This will be needed.

  21. It seems, as with most things, that it’s wise to be both, to whatever degree one chooses to make possible and prioritize in his or her life. One thing to consider — and Gaye has brought this up in the past, too — is the importance of community. We live in Amish country, and though we’re not Amish, our city still retains some of that sense of community. It’s certainly not everyone, but we are an official “Transition Town,” which means that we do have a core group of people working towards community preparedness. Many people are building outdoor ovens, permaculture food forests, community gardens, front yard gardens and raising chickens, but these often get implemented through groups working together.

    The problem with being completely self-reliant is that if you isolate yourself and something goes wrong with you or your spouse or your homestead, then it’s entirely your issue to fix. If you live with some community mindedness, then it’s more like the Amish — your barn burns down, and all your neighbors gather to rebuild it next weekend. Working towards community preparedness helps to create safety nets and also allows for people to specialize in the things they have better aptitude or land for. Someone with a huge forest of black walnuts will probably not have the best garden, but they’ll have nuts and good, solid wood to trade, if they have people to trade with. Basic preparedness and as much self-reliance as possible seems wise and is what I’m working towards. Redundancy, flexibility and community are others.

  22. We are all Americans and will be striving for survival. IT will take the village to keep ourselves strong. It will take a give and take between those with vast skills in one department or another.

    Sure there are some that will separate themselves from the rest. BUT at the end of the day they will have to come up for air and I hope the others choose to help them even though they did not run with the rest.

  23. IMHO, prepping and homesteading are two approaches to the same ultimate goal. I started out as a prepper, but now aim to be a homesteader. I think the difference is that homesteaders live the type of life that preppers would like to live or expect to have to live. I guess it all depends on your mindframe and level of preparedness. But it’s foolish to namecall, or berate one or the other, because ultimately, we all want the same thing, to not be dependent on anyone else if we can help it. I agree, the two go hand in hand. And you can homestead in the city, and you can prep in the country, and vice versa. You do what you can with what you have available to you. THAT’S what matters. So label yourself whatever you want. I proudly claim both, how’s that?

  24. what silly argument. whether you’re a prepper or a homesteader depends on your physical and mental capabilities and your lifestyle (chosen or otherwise). whether or not you need to compete with “the other side” just depends on your maturity level and how emotionally secure you are; the facts have nothing to do with it.

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