Why Location Is Important for Homesteading
The location of your homestead is super important for many reasons: not only do you need to pay attention to the more bureaucratic aspects of finding a state to homestead in, but you also need to take into account the weather, seasons and cost!
Some particularly important location-related questions you need to take into account are:
- Does this state allow homesteading? If so, are there any restrictions?
- How much is it to buy land in this state? Could I get more for cheaper elsewhere?
- Is location, price or weather conditions the most important aspect of your homesteading?
Factors to Consider for Homesteading
Location is super important when you’re looking to build a sustainable lifestyle with homesteading, but there are other very important factors to take into account too:
- Price: low property costs can be misleading…and even worse, might be hiding more expensive property taxes you wouldn’t have accounted for. These property taxes massively vary depending on the state you’re looking at, and some states might even exempt (or reduce) your property tax.
- Safety: you’ll need to take into account the threat of natural disasters (earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, landslides), as well as any hotspots for drought, fracking and otherwise.
- Accessibility to water: not all states have good access to water! It’s a good idea to do some research into the amount of rainfall annually, as well as natural bodies of water surrounding the area in which you’re looking to homestead a good idea is to check the rain catchment laws of the state you’re interested in.
- Climate: can the state you’re interested in provide you enough space in the right kind of climate for growing your own crops, and farming your own land? Does it allow you to raise livestock?
- Homeschooling and the wider community: will you homeschool your children, or is there a nearby school? How does the wider community’s religious, political and other ideologies fit in with your own?
Once you have more of an idea regarding the above factors, it’s time to pick a state for your sustainable living adventure!
Taking into account all of the above and averaging these out, we recommend the following 10 states as some of the best for homesteading. Pay attention and think about your own needs for a sustainable living homestead from the list below!
10 Best States for Homesteading in 2021
A desert climate will be a challenge, but not an impossibility, for growing your own crops and farming the land. It’s one of the cheapest (if not the cheapest) of all 50 states to buy land in, but you’ll need to check whether the specific location you might have in mind actually allows for homestead building.
You’ll need to do some research into the types of crops you can grow in desert heat, and take into account that that same heat can be uncomfortable, if not unbearable, during the peak summer months. You’ll also need to find a way to store rain for your own needs, as well as those of your crops.
If you want the true, old-school sustainable living experience, then Wyoming will give you that by the bucketload. With small communities and vast, open landscapes, this is the state for you if you’re more of a solitary person. There are fantastic natural resources for farming and livestock rearing but it’s (surprisingly) not as popular as homestead locations as other states on this list.
Why, you ask? That’s most likely due to the harsh winters that bless Wyoming. This alone cuts off the crop season…but that can also be worked around with a well-built greenhouse.
You don’t get a state that provides more wilderness than Alaska! In fact, some of the potential homesteading locations are so remote, they’re only accessible by plane. If it’s complete isolation you’re after, this is it.
Having said that, winters are long, tough and only the most skilled of farmers will be able to adapt their crops and needs to it. It would be a good idea to immerse yourself in Alaskan culture, and maybe even run a pilot trip, before committing to building a sustainable living environment there blindly.
Beautiful, sweeping landscapes and gorgeous summers make Montana a natural choice for homesteading. Yet, it’s not all good news: the winters are tough, which can disrupt the growing season. For a lot of sustainable living enthusiasts however, this is merely a challenge in the face of living in an ideal homesteading state.
On the plus-side, Connecticut is a fantastic, rich place to build a sustainable living homestead. On the downside, the startup costs and property taxes are some of the highest in the country. The water is flowing and meticulously clean, the climate has the best of both heat and cold, and you’ll find a lot of potential in all areas of the homesteading lifestyle, including potentially homeschooling your kids.
Diverse in its offering, Michigan has a mild set of four distinct seasons, with rich, fertile soil ideal for growing crops for part of the year. A greenhouse would be an excellent idea, and you should know that Michigan is fantastic as a location for trout and salmon fishing.
Michigan is already a popular state with homesteaders, meaning a community shouldn’t be too difficult for you to find. There is, however, higher taxes and living costs, as well as some pretty strict state regulations (which you should look into before committing).
Breathtaking landscapes, open land aplenty and low property taxes make Maine an idyllic place for homesteaders of all walks. The northern tip of Mine is especially isolated, and all four seasons make an appearance throughout the year, be aware that winters can be long and cold, but there’s still plenty of opportunities to crop and farm, if you invest the time in learning how to adapt to the climate, that is.
Already a highly popular state of choice with homesteaders (as it was back in the original homesteading days!) Oregon almost has it all: solid water rights, a massive community of homesteaders, fantastic farmer markets (meaning it’s a great place for farming and crop growing) and versatile climates. In fact, there’s not much holding it back from making number 1 on this list. That is, except for blocks on certain zones where you’ll be allowed to homestead, which is worth checking out if you’re interested. Oregon also offers exceptions for up to $50,000 for married homesteaders, with up to $40,000 exemptions for single homesteaders. If you choose to live outside of a city limit, you’ll be allowed to protect up to 160 acres of land. This goes down to up to one city block within the city limits.
With the best soil in the entire US, you’ll enjoy the stunning, rolling green hills and mountains. You have the freedom and flexibility to choose to either be a part of an existing homestead sustainable living community in Idaho, or complete and utterly isolated. The government laws, property taxes and more are nicely balanced and even favorable to homesteaders, and crop land is lush and plenty. The laws in fact benefit homesteaders over the government: you can get up to $100,000 in protection from creditors if you’re the property’s owner. Idaho also has a lower crime rate than other states, and offers some of the most stunning outdoor activities, including kayaking, rafting, fishing and more.
Rural Tennessee is already a popular location for sustainable living enthusiasts, with a fantastic harvesting season of around 9 months of the year, there are low property taxes and costs. Couple that with favorable homesteading laws and excellent farmland, rainwater collection allowance and a whole range of other freedoms. For these reasons, Tennessee is our top pick for the best homesteading location in the US. Homesteading laws protect families from handing over their entire property to creditors, and the state even has a homesteading exemption of up to $5,000, which is fairly competitive compared to other states.
Bottom Line: The Best States to Build a Sustainable Living Experience
Depending on what you’re looking for (low property taxes., homeschooling opportunities, scenery or community) any of the above states on our list could be right for you.
Remember to do your research, and even make a visit to the state you’re interested in potentially building your homestead in. Be sure to speak to existing homesteaders if any, and take into account seasonal changes!
This is particularly important if you’re looking to cook with biogas, which needs solar power to run. Other than this, appliances such as the HomeBiogas provide a fantastic way to allow you to live off your own food waste: power it up by depositing your food scraps, which are then converted into gas. This gas powers your stove, and also creates liquid fertilizer to nourish you crops at the same time. Sustainable living doesn’t get more efficient than this!