Why government won’t support homesteading: an opinion

Our society used to be mostly agricultural. It revolved around the nuclear and extended family, a close-knit community where people usually lived their whole lives, the family farm, the village, the artisan tool-maker, and everything small-scale and personal. For better or worse, the Industrial Revolution put an end to that kind of life and propelled us to a world where manual work is scoffed at, and agriculture is seen as something menial or boring.

Yet this did nothing to change our nature. As living beings, we were made to interact with other living beings. It is good and healthy for us to tread earth, smell flowers, pick fruit off trees, take care of animals, and make occasional escapes into wilderness. People who live in small apartments in big cities can find an outlet for this healthy instinct by growing plants in pots, keeping an aquarium and a cat, and venturing out to the country from time to time. The words “farm”, “country”, “rural”, “pastoral”, “village” still bring up pleasant nostalgic associations (compare them with the associations you get when you hear the words “factory”, “industry”, “rush hour”, “traffic” or “highway”), and some people even find out that they are inherently incapable of living the city life anymore, and drop their perfectly good jobs in order to cultivate a piece of rural land, such as in Marcel Pagnol’s splendid novel Jean de Florette.

We still yearn for the simple, cyclic, gentle and healthy rhythm which can be found in nature, the earth, and the seasons.

Some time ago, I picked up the Israeli Shabbat leaflet “Olam Katan” (“Small World”) and was genuinely interested by an article which suggested that modern technology and means of transportation make small-scale farming/homesteading possible even for people who don’t want to, or can’t make this their main source of livelihood. It is entirely possible, the author argued, for a family where both spouses hold a regular job to also keep a small homestead on, say, on 1 square km of land. Such a homestead can include a barn with 3-4 dairy goats and a dozen chickens, a small vegetable garden, and some fruit trees. Furthermore, it was argued that Israel has enough unexploited land which is suitable for agriculture. Such land, according to the author, could be divided into small homestead plots and handed out or sold inexpensively to anyone who would like to start a homestead or a sustainable small-scale farm. Thus many more people can live a healthier, closer-to-nature life, while also creating a strategical advantage for Israel by preventing Bedouin clans from illegally taking over empty lands.

While I would like, and am ready, to believe that a small-scale farming/homesteading revolution is possible, I also think the only way for it to happen is by individual people making the change in their private lives. I don’t think it will ever be encouraged or supported by the government, for many reasons. Here are just a few:

1. The government will never, not in a million years, hand out land or sell it cheaply (if it did, I’d be the first to stand in line!) – it will reap big bucks by selling land to big contractors, who in their turn will reap their big bucks by erecting tall buildings with cramped over-priced apartments.

2. Small-scale farming/homesteading will never be encouraged on a government level because commercial-scale farmers hold too much power.

3. A family living on a homestead will very likely have a rewarding, satisfying life; the more they grow, the less they will buy, not only in the way of food, but also in other areas. Shopping will no longer be needed as a recreation. They will move away from the temptation of big stores and shopping centers. In the evening, they will hurry home to milk their goats and water their tomatoes. Such people, for psychological and logistic reasons, are more likely to buy only what they need, which means the government will lose money by way of taxes each of us automatically pays when we buy in a licensed store. People who succeed in their little homestead venture might also discover they like it so much they will possibly opt for a less demanding, lower-paying job and enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle – and then the government will lose money by way of income tax. Some economical guru up there is bound to figure it out, and the government will never – not in a million years – agree to lose money, even for the sake of promoting a healthier and happier society.

4. A homesteading/small scale farming network will encourage the development of a local, sustainable market based on barter and small unregistered sales – the government won’t want this to happen because this will, again, mean less taxes.

However, it is a joy for me to know that other people, like me, indulge themselves in dreams of a world where families work together, more food is produced locally, and giant chain stores are cheated of part of their profit because people realize they don’t need so much stuff.


Author: Anna

An Orthodox Jewish wife and mother enjoying a simple life with her family and chickens, somewhere in the hills, in Israel.

23 thoughts on “Why government won’t support homesteading: an opinion”

  1. I like how you contrasted the different images/feelings created by the two sets of words.

    Have you seen the website verdant.net? It’s a a US based anti-consumerism site. Some of the articles are bit extreme, but there’s some good information too. Eat the apple and spit out the seeds. =)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Here in the Portland Oregon area we have Metro who actually controls the property sizes for homes. Although I have a wonderful garden there is barely any room for anything else in my yard. If you want to purchase a home with an extra lot you only have two years to construct a home on that lot so you can’t even use it as a little extra land to enjoy. Yes, you have hit the nail on the head. It is really all about one thing and that is money.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. As many of us strive to lead more simple lives it seems are biggest challenge is our own governments. They want to control everything. What ever happened to the responsibility of taking care of yourself?


  3. Less money in the economy means less money for military…you might push out the Bedouin clans but you will be open to other invasions….oh and also being looked down on for being poor like the writer of this does to the Bedouin Clans!!! Hypocrite!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do not “look down” on Bedouin clans for being poor. It is a fact that in Israel, Bedouins lawlessly take over lands, especially desert lands, with little to no legal implications. Anyone who takes a drive in the southern areas can see that.


  4. I agree totally with your comments,we are only of interest if we make money and pay taxes.Here in Ireland the tax people hit on you after your first year of trading,you do not get much help starting out.Grow your own and Homesteading is big here where I live and we have a Saturday market in which we sell our products.It is a great success.I feel if Homesteaders get together and and had their own community as such,it would help everyone.I feel city people lack so much in terms of nature,just go for a walk in the woods watch a bird fly,look at the dew on a plant it is so sustaining.Give me the country any dayand you cannot say there is not a God in our universe.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I agree with this 100%!!!!

    We have a six acre farm with 3 horses, 20 chickens, 11 ducks, 2 turkeys, 2 pigs, 3 dogs, 1 bunny, and 5 guineas. We have a 40×40 garden. We only buy produce from our local farms. We hunt and fish to produce more meat for our home (kind of like they did oh 300 years ago. We eventually will have a dairy cow & goats. We also work with the farm next door and allow him to grow hay on a portion of our land with agreement that we get whatever hay he produces on our property. I love living on the farm and wouldn’t move to the city

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello to everyone:

    Totally agree with most all of the posted comments here! My hubby and I love people and true, loyal and long standing relationships with others, neighbors, community, friends, family, etc.!!! However, we love living out in a more rural and country setting! It’s not because there are fewer neighbors or people around us! It’s because of the lifestyle and the “pace” that is set living a country, homesteading lifestyle! Living in the city there is just too much “red tape”! Too much government control over every minute details of a persons life!

    For example, we bought 3 acres with our Double wide Mobile Home on a permanent foundation here. It was a foreclosure, so we were blessed to be able to purchase it for all cash! So we do not “share own” our home and property along with a bank or Mortgage Company! We own it completely, outright, 100% free and clear! Yet……we want to put in French doors in one of the bedrooms at the other end of the house from where the Master Bedroom is located, where there is a double window at presently. This is because this bedroom is closer to where the circular driveway goes around and it is also at the end of the house that is closest to the same level as the yard outside. So if we were to put in an outside door here, (French Doors) as an entry way and outside put up a double carport for both vehicles….then during inclement weather, we could park under the carport and enter into the house under the overhead covering of the carport. This is especially desired whenever we have bags and bags of groceries and other shopping items to bring in from the car and it is pouring down rain, lightning and sometimes even hail ! We’d also either just enter level or perhaps one landing step before entering the house at this end. Whereas, where the front door is at present, there is about 30 feet across the grass, (wet grass when raining or snow and or ice in cold weather in the winter time, just to reach the 7 steps up to get into the house at that yard level.

    However, our county government states that if we are going to put in another outside door entrance, then we must first apply to the county for a building permit! They have to send out an inspector and we have to have actual architectural plans drawn up by a licensed architect! We found some French Doors at one point that we could barter for and it would not have cost us anything for the doors! These doors required the exact same measurement width and height wise as the double windows that are in there now already!
    So it would only be a matter of cutting out below the two windows to make room for walking through these doors! The load bearing header cross beams at the top of the windows is already there in place! Just a matter of removing the two windows and knocking out the horizontal wood below where the windows were/are. The two 2 x 4’s for making the door frame running vertically are also already there. The French doors are already pre-hung, so it would just be a matter of putting the doors in place and finishing out with the trim inside and outside placing the vinyl siding pieces back on!

    Now if we lived up in the Alaskan Bush, this would not be a problem! The government doesn’t have any government officials that want to deal with wolves, grizzly’s, and or wolverines, plus hiking for 3 days and camping out in the 30 degree below zero temperatures at night, in order to send out an “Inspector”! So there it is not required! It is required though in the lower 48 and they state as their reasoning that they need to ensure the integrity of the building project for both the present tenants /owners living in the home now as well as if the home is sold, looking out for the safety of any future homeowners. Well if this was honestly their true reason for needing to obtain permits for building projects, then this would also have to apply up there in the bush country of Alaska as well. The government couldn’t allow the people in Alaska to go without their safety protective measures and laws now could they? LOL


    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: