Have you ever heard about off-grid communities? What does living off-grid mean? It means living independently from public utility companies and the power grid.
You grow your own food, raise your livestock, and harness your power through solar or wind. Starting an off grid community is living away from the fast-paced urban centers to a simpler and freer lifestyle.
It may sound archaic and backward; however, many people have found this life rewarding and liberating. Furthermore, economic and political instabilities, social unrest, pandemics, and natural disasters have encouraged many to embrace an off-grid lifestyle.
Off-grid life has been practiced for several years, and it has recently started gaining more traction as people look for ways to connect without the noisy and busy city life. Some also embrace off-grid life to feel close to nature, with some associating it with improved health and reduced depression.
However, before packing your things and moving to start an off-grid community, you need to prepare. Maybe you are used to a certain lifestyle in the city; you need to transition into your new one smoothly.
This article will help you with practical tips for starting an off-grid community.
Ways To Prepare For Off-Grid Living
What do you need to integrate into off-grid living from urban life? Let’s discuss some must-do things if you want a smooth transition.
1- Learn As Much As You Can About Off-Grid Living Before You Move
Knowledge is power is a common phrase that can prove true before you decide on off-grid living. Utilize the internet and books to read as much as you can about off-grid living.
Will you be self-reliant? Learn about starting a homestead from various free online off-grid resources, including YouTube videos.
Read or watch life stories of people living off-grid and know the challenges you are likely to face and the joys you will experience.
If you are considering living Off Grid in Europe, here are the 8 Best Locations For Off Grid Living In Europe.
2- Plan Your Off-Grid Homestead
You probably have a piece of land off-grid that you have been dreaming of living on. Now the fun begins. Since many people mess up at the beginning, you want to plan to avoid those mistakes.
If you fail to plan, you will like regret moving off-grid. However, with proper planning, your family will enjoy this experience. Here are what you want to keep in mind when planning to live off-grid.
Water– Before developing your homestead in a remote area, the availability of usable clean water is one of the first things to consider. Installing a reliable water system is no walk in the park, so take time and plan your water usage and go for a low-cost system. Ensure the water installation cost does not leave you destitute; it should be manageable.
As you will be living in a remote area, you must have a way to store water. As it will be required for several purposes. Living without water is quite impossible. Some of the places where it will be required are for planting, drinking, cleaning, and washing.
Housing– If you want to succeed in living off-grid, organize a reasonable living arrangement. Off-grid houses may not be as elaborate as mortgage houses in the city, but they fulfill their purposes. A piece of land in a remote area will be a starting point for building one such community.
You will likely build the house yourself to save on the construction cost or have a contractor build it for you if you do not have construction skills. You will realize that most off-grid houses are tiny homes, cob houses, cabins, RVs, yurts, or natural buildings. They are easy to build or buy and maintain.
Waste management– Living off-grid could mean you are not connected to the local sewer line or septic tank, and building one can be very costly.
You can turn to modern homesteading alternatives like composting toilets, biogas, and humanure, thus turning waste into an asset. You could even use grey water systems to grow food. Ensure you know the law of the state you live in concerning waste management.
You might enjoy reading: 5 Best Options For Off Grid Composting Toilets.
Heating and cooling– If you live off-grid, you are cut off from the national power grid. How do you improvise and satisfy heating and cooling needs? Use the resources at your disposal to lower heating and cooling costs.
For instance, you can use wood for construction and cooking. You can use a fireplace to warm your house during cold seasons. Solar energy is a real help for lighting and heating when living off-grid. Additionally, earth-based cooling can be essential for a comfortable and efficient off-grid home.
Are you still unsure whether to choose Between Propane Or Solar, Which One To Pick For Living Off-Grid?
3- Building And Sustaining Your Homestead
After setting up your off-grid living system, you should focus on food supply and storage. You will probably plant crops in your garden and fields.
Making the soil cultivatable is your top priority to ensure that your crops grow healthy. Establishing a good irrigation system to sustain the plants is also good, should the rains fail.
After you run all these things, you can start scheduling planting, weeding, and harvesting. If you do subsistence farming, ensure you optimize your farm to produce fresh foods longer and build a store to keep food for winter.
You can also think about raring livestock on your farm. Although they require commitment, they can be a huge asset for off-grid homesteads. They can provide protein sources such as eggs, meat, or milk.
And their wastes often fertilize the land for a bumper harvest. Animals can also help with pest management and land clearing. You do not need a tractor to till the land if you have bulls. You can use a plow pulled by the bulls to ready the land for planting.
4- Learn Off-grid Food Storage
The next step is to plan for food storage. Without proper food storage, it will be difficult to survive. Off-grid food storage is done in many ways, such as smoking, canning, root cellaring, fermenting, and dry storage. If your land is huge and is cultivated, you may want to prepare huge storage facilities like barns, root cellars, and pantries.
Of course, when you may start small, but in the subsequent years, you could scale up production. Over time you may even start selling food surplus.
Practical Steps To Make An Off-Grid Living Right For You
Going off-grid involves living free and enjoying the life of your dreams. It is about connecting with nature and growing a healthy, stronger family.
So, as you build a solid community and help society, remember to have fun.
Here are some steps you can take while preparing to live off-grid.
1- Work Towards Becoming Debt Free
Many people are weight down with debts, but you can be free from debt clutches. Do all you can to pay off your debts and build sufficient savings before going off-grid. But how do you get out of debt?
- Write down your income and expenses– This will help you to live within your means and to reduce unnecessary expenses. You cannot build savings if you don’t know your expenses and sources of income.
- Develop a budget– Writing a budget has helped many people living off-grid to manage their money and achieve dreams. A budget can also help you pay off your debts and generate savings. Drawing a budget will also help you cut expenses and save money.
2- Learn Practical Skills
Living off-grid requires some useful skills, and you can start learning these skills before you make a move. You may need cooking, canning, mechanical, wood cutting, electrical, and hunting skills.
You can attend training to learn these useful skills. Alternatively, you can take a vacation off-grid to experience what it will be like to live there.
Don’t forget about clothing as different types of cloth to survive every season. Light clothes to survive summers whereas in winter warm clothes will be used.
3- Find a Suitable Off-Grid Land
Finding suitable off-grid land is probably one of the greatest hurdles you will face during this process. Establish which state you want to move to and know their rules about off-grid living.
Some questions to ask yourself when establishing land suitability include:
- Is the land accessible by road even during wintertime?
- Is there access to a clean water system?
- Does the region have zoning laws that prohibit farming?
- Does the land have title deeds?
- Is the area susceptible to natural disasters like floods and wildfires?
- If the place is prone to disasters, does the county have disaster preparedness plans?
It is essential to know the answers to these questions so that you can make an informed decision.
You may also be interested in the slope direction of your land. Lands with south-facing slopes could be cheaper, but farming in the area is often severely limited. You also want to ensure you can access optimal sunlight for solar energy.
Furthermore, it is essential to examine the property records to ascertain that the land is not on the urban development path.
You might wonder what are the best states for off-grid living. I encourage you to find out more about the 19 States To Avoid For Your Off-Grid Living.
Do You Need Permission To Live Off The Grid?
Living off the grid is not illegal. Growing your food, generating your electricity by solar or wind, building your house, and planting farms are all legal. There is no such law, but one must understand and educate oneself on how to live off the grid. Following are things that you must consider:
- State Regulations
- Federal Regulations
- Proper Water Storage system
- Sewage system
- Electricity generation and supply system
- Local Community Guidelines
- Waste Management System
How Many Acres Do You Need For Off The Grid?
However, how many acres of land you need depends on several factors because there is a need for land to live, harvest crops, store water, and generate electricity through solar or wind. If you are a small community, you need about 10 acres of land to fulfill multiple requirements. But if someone wants livestock, sheep, goats, and cattle, they need 30 acres of land. So they can roam around and fill up their bellies.
- For a small family, 1/4 acre is totally enough to produce most of your food and live a self-sufficient lifestyle.
- If you want to harvest your wood for heat, 5 to 10 acres is entirely sufficient to survive off the grid.
Which States Can You Legally Live Off The Grid?
Now you are ready to start your off-the-grid community. Here are the top states in the USA suitable for establishing an off-grid community, considering factors like cost, freedom, water resources, and energy sources following are mentioned:
The above-mentioned states have a minimum cost, taxes, soil with good condition for crops, and water access.
You might also enjoy reading: 13 Best Locations To Live Off The Grid in Florida.
Benefits Of Living off the Grid
Starting an off-grid community offers tremendous benefits; however, it also will require investment, discipline, and effort but, as a result, provides tenfold benefits.
One has to face several challenges, but adequate knowledge can help one survive effectively. Following are the benefits of starting an off-the-grid community:
- Fewer taxes and expenditure
- Better health and a smaller number of diseases
- Freedom to enjoy life
- Saving money on long term
- Clean and green environment
- The use of renewable energy is much less expensive than non-renewable energy.
- Require a smaller number of resources to survive
- Less stress and a healthy lifestyle
- An off-the-grid lifestyle is a great experience to share
- A lesson for future generations
- Decreases the amount of waste of resources
- Creating your community will be an example for others to get inspiration.
- This helps one to learn several skills.
So, is living off grid worth it? Living off grid is worth it because it improves the quality of life and offers better life experiences, freedom and reduced stress, and lower long-term living costs compared to busy city life. And, with proper preparation, you can increase the quality of your life, spend more time with your loved ones, and save more money.
Starting an off-grid community can be fun, giving your family a new experience. You can truly live away from the hustle and bustles of the city. However, you need proper planning before making a move to off-grid living.
Do you have a piece of off-grid land? Does the land have access to clean water? Are you learned useful skills to help you when you make a move? These are some questions worth considering before going off-grid.