I don’t know about you, but I love finding inspirational quotes that resonate with my values. It’s like someone has taken what’s in my heart and expressed it with words I couldn’t find myself. But as it turns out, there aren’t that many homesteading quotes out there!
I had to search wider and go deeper to come up with a good collection of quotes I feel represents what is truly at the heart of homesteading. I’ve organized them into categories since homesteading is full of variety!
I hope that these will resonate with you and encourage you as you pursue your own homestead – whatever it looks like.
But first – let’s talk a little about what homesteading is.
What is a homesteading lifestyle?
Historically, homesteaders were settlers who claimed plots of land under the Homestead Act. In order to claim the land, they had to live on it, build a home, make improvements, and farm it.
Modern homesteading refers more to a lifestyle where a homesteader rejects modern-day consumerist culture and embraces a more old-fashioned, self-sufficient way of life.
Why is homesteading good?
I’m not here to tell you that I think everyone is called to be a homesteader. But homesteading provides a host of benefits that make it a worthy choice for anyone.
First, it provides a connection to our food and where it comes from. You could live in an apartment and grow what you can indoors or on your balcony while purchasing what you can’t grow from local farms. Or you could live on many acres and grow all your own food every year. Either way, you know where your food is coming from and have taken an active role in its journey to your tummy. You can rest easy knowing that what you’re eating not mysterious, and is wholesome and healthy for you.
Homesteading also increases self-sufficiency. Whether you’re afraid modern supply chains will collapse, that the suburban life is doomed to ultimately fail, or you simply want to save some money – it’s a great way to take responsibility for your own needs.
We grow not only in skill but also in character when we assume responsibility for what we need rather than expecting others to provide it for us.
I don’t have land myself, and I’ve felt discouraged in the past that I don’t have the means to grow a year’s supply of food and have my own fresh milk and eggs every day. But there is so much a person can do to embrace a homesteading mindset with no land at all.
Learning and practicing homesteading skills right where you are is a grounding and rich experience. Some of the deepest joys are the humblest ones!
Is homesteading hard work?
Keeping a typical homestead (one that grows a lot of food and raises livestock) requires a lot of maintenance and care. It’s one of those weighty responsibilities that truly requires you to attend to it, or it will fail altogether. If you don’t tend to your garden, it will die. If you don’t take good care of your livestock, they won’t survive.
A homestead requires active participation in its upkeep, or there will be heavy consequences. But the things in which you’re participating are what nourish your life – and they are life unto themselves.
Homesteading celebrates and draws you into the cycle of life. You can put your own fingers into the soil that, through the death of last year’s crops, nourishes and sustains this year’s harvest. You can feed your animals food you’ve grown yourself and they give you milk, eggs, and meat.
And so without further ado, let’s enjoy some inspirational quotes that get to the heart of what homesteaders do.
A farmer travelling with his load
Picked up a horseshoe on the road,
And nailed it fast to his barn door,
That luck might down upon him pour;
That every blessing known in life
Might crown his homestead and his wife,
And never any kind of harm
Descend upon his growing farm.James Thomas Fields
Homesteading State of Mind
For me, this first collection of quotes captures the spirit behind why most homesteaders do what they do.
“The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.”Laura Ingalls Wilder
“Homesteading, at its core, is counter-cultural from our consumerist-driven culture. This is a lifestyle that glorifies salvaging and reclaiming, repairing rather than buying new, and trading and bartering when money is tight.”Unknown
“Homesteading is: Being self-sufficient, living simply, getting back to our roots, breaking away from commercialism, growing your own food.”Unknown
Simplicity in its essence demands neither a vow of poverty nor a life of rural homesteading. As an ethic of self-conscious material moderation, it can be practiced in cities and suburbs, townhouses and condominiums. It requires neither a log cabin nor a hairshirt but a deliberate ordering of priorities so as to distinguish between the necessary and superfluous, useful and wasteful, beautiful and vulgar.David Shi
“The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.”Abraham Lincoln
“I make myself rich by making my wants few.”Henry David Thoreau
“Let the beauty we love be what you do.”Rumi
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”Henry David Thoreau
“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately…and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”Henry David Thoreau
“Our life is frittered away by detail — simplify, simplify.”Henry David Thoreau
“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”Henry David Thoreau
“I was a fool to sacrifice the power of living in securing the means of a life.”William J Dawson
“Tell me and I’ll forget. Teach me and I’ll remember. Involve me and I’ll learn.”Benjamin Franklin
A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some area of native land where it may get the love of tender kinship from the earth, for the labors men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakable difference amidst the future widening of knowledge. The best introduction to astronomy is to think of the nightly heavens as a little lot of stars belonging to one’s own homestead.George Eliot
“I like people who get excited about the change of seasons, the sound of the ocean, watching the sunset, the smell of rain and starry nights.”Brooke Hampton
“Even the tiniest of flowers can have the toughest roots.”Shannon Mullen
“Don’t just tell your children about the world, show them.”Penny Whitehouse
“The best education does not happen at a desk, but rather engaged in everyday living – hands on exploring , in active relationship with life.”Vince Gowmon
“Live gently upon this earth”Unknown
“You should sit in nature for 20 minutes a day… unless you’re busy, then you should sit for an hour.”Zen Saying
“I am happy out here. Messy hair, dirty feet and wild water on my skin. Out here with the wild things; this is where I belong.”Brooke Hampton
“Nature reveals to us a beautiful part of ourselves we could not find anywhere else.”Kristen Butler
“I do some of my best thinking while pulling weeds.”Martha Smith
“Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature- the assurance that dawn comes after night and spring after winter.”Rachel Carson
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”Frank Lloyd Wright
“Encouraging a child to go outside in all weather builds resilience , but more importantly it saves them from spending their life merely tolerating the ‘bad’ days in favor of a handful of ‘good’ ones- a life of endless expectations and conditions where happiness hinges on sunshine.”Nicolette Sowder
There is not going to be a “hydrogen economy,” and no combination of alternative energy systems or fuels will allow us to continue the suburban pattern. It’s finished. We will, however, desperately need to grow more of our food closer to home, and so the preservation of agricultural hinterlands is of great importance. But don’t expect the fiesta of suburban construction to continue more than a few more years.James Howard Kunstler
Our deep respect for the land and its harvest is the legacy of generations of farmers who put food on our tables, preserved our landscape, and inspired us with a powerful work ethic.James H. Douglas
Growing you own food is like printing your own money!Ron Finley
The History of Homesteads
For a quick minute, let’s take a look at the history of homesteads in America.
The small landholders are the most precious part of a state.Thomas Jefferson
The homestead policy was established only after long and earnest resistance; experience proves its wisdom. The lands in the hands of industrious settlers, whose labor creates wealth and contributes to the public resources, are worth more to the United States than if they had been reserved as a solitude for future purchasers.Andrew Johnson
The newcomers quickly learned their way about and soon felt at home. The Homestead Act of 1862 provided them, as well as many other pioneers, with an opportunity to acquire land and establish family farms. To the land-hungry immigrants, the tough prairie sod seemed a golden opportunity and they conquered it by hard work.Harry S. Truman
Most homesteaders have a garden – whether it’s a few plants on a rooftop or balcony or a vegetable garden that yields enough for a community. These quotes celebrate the love of gardening.
“Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.”Rumi
“When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, there is always the garden.”Minnie Aumonier
“A garden returns 50x the investment you put into it. Not just food, but joy, peace and a real connection with creation. A spiritual retreat from a noisy world and hurried people. Grow a garden.”Unknown
“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.”Gertrude Jekyll
Life begins the day you start a garden.Chinese Proverb
Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years.Unknown
God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures.Francis Bacon
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.Greek Proverb
The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.Alfred Austin
A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.Doug Larson
At Christmas I no more desire a rose, Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth; But like of each thing that in season grows.William Shakespeare
My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.Claude Monet
A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.May Sarton
Cooking from Scratch
Cooking from scratch is an essential skill for any homesteader to develop in order to protect their health and prepare their harvest. Eating food in its season and preparing simple recipes from whole foods are an essential part of the homesteading lifestyle.
But cooking is not just a chore! The quotes in this section capture the joy you can find in the kitchen.
Simple ingredients prepared in a simple way – that’s the best way to take your everyday cooking to a higher level.”Jose Andres
“You learn to cook so that you don’t have to be a slave to recipes. You get what’s in season and you know what to do with it.”Julia Child
“Cooking demands attention, patience, and above all, a respect for the gifts of the earth. It is a form of worship, a way of giving thanks.”Judith B. Jones
Cooking [from scratch] is “the single most important thing we could do as a family to improve our health and general well-being.”Michael Pollan
Just because food is served fast doesn’t mean it has to be made with cheap raw ingredients, highly processed with preservatives and fillers and stabilizers and artificial colors and flavors.Steve Ells
Your diet is a bank account, good food choice are good investments.Unknown
“Raw ingredients trump recipes every time; farmers and ranchers who coax the best from the earth can make any of us appear to be a great cook.”Judy Rodgers
At harvest time, homesteaders busy themselves with preserving all they can to lay away for the winter months.
The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.Ezra Taft Benson
“We want you to be ready with a personal storehouse filled with at least a year’s supply. You don’t argue why it cannot be done; you just plan to organize and get it done.”Spencer W. Kimball
Preserve and treat food as you would your body, remembering that in time food will be your body.B.W. Richardson
The jelly – the jam and the marmalade,
And the cherry-and quince-‘preserves’ she made!
And the sweet-sour pickles of peach and pear,
With cinnamon in ’em, and all things rare!
And the more we ate was the more to spare,
Out to old Aunt Mary’s! Ah!James Whitcomb Riley
Reducing Waste & Cultivating Contentment
An important facet of a homesteading lifestyle is making all of what you have. This is a frugality mindset, but it goes beyond money. When we participate so much in the production of our food, we learn its value far better than we can when we can so easily purchase so much so quickly. When we recognize that value, reducing waste becomes about much more than saving money.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”New England Proverb
“Cutting food waste is a delicious way of saving money, helping to feed the world and protect the planet”Tristram Stuart
“Food waste isn’t considered a problem because, for the most part, it isn’t considered at all. It’s easy to ignore because it’s both common and customary. I have yet to meet someone who is pro-food waste, but many aren’t convinced that it’s important”Jonathan Bloom
“Refuse what you do not need; reduce what you do need; reuse what you consume; recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse; and rot (compost) the rest.”Bea Johnson
“We have to cultivate contentment with what we have. We really don’t need much. When you know this, the mind settles down. Cultivate generosity. Delight in giving. Learn to live lightly. In this way, we can begin to transform what is negative into what is positive. This is how we start to grow up.”Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo
While many homesteaders don’t identify as farmers, what many of them do can actually be defined as farming their own small plot of land. I’ve included a nice collection of farming quotes because they seem to capture the homesteading spirit.
“Let us not forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization.”Daniel Webster
“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.”Thomas Jefferson
“Agriculture is the noblest of all alchemy; for it turns earth, and even manure, into gold, conferring upon its cultivator the additional reward of health.”Paul Chatfield
“I would rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.”George Washington
“No race can prosper until it learns there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.”Booker T. Washington
“I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.”Andy Warhol
“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”Wendell Barry
“You sow, you wait for good or bad weather, you harvest, but working is something you always need to do.”Miguel Indurain
“Agriculture was the first occupation of man, and as it embraces the whole earth, it is the foundation of all other industries.”E.W. Stewart
“The first farmer was the first man, and all historic nobility rests on possession and use of land.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
“In undertaking farming we undertake a responsibility covering the whole life cycle. We can break it or keep it whole.”Lord Northbourne
“Agriculture for an honorable and high-minded man, is the best of all occupations and arts by which men procure the means of living.”Xenophon
“Agriculture is always going to be a top priority, everybody’s going to always need to eat and everybody’s going to always need some help with that so as long as you’re willing to put in the hours, there’s a job there for you.”Brady Blasher
“Agricultural growth is a proven driver of poverty reduction. When agriculture stimulates growth…the growth is twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth based in other sectors.”Giza Mdoe
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”Robert Louis Stevenson
“Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: Love. They must do it for love. Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide.”Wendell Berry
“The mundanity of those chores, the repetition, acts as a kind of meditation. I start each day with a series of numbers and questions written on a piece of paper, put them in my pocket and get on with the business of farming. By mid-morning the answers are clear.”Hannah Rothschild
“To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.”Mahatma Gandhi
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”Aldo Leopold
I hope you’ve enjoyed these! If you come across any more great homesteading quotes, leave them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list. 🙂 Happy homesteading!