5 Off Grid Homesteading Challenges to Plan For Now


Sarita HarbourAs a child, the stories I loved best were the ones about people making their homes in the wilderness. You know, the ones where the hero(ine) creates a homestead in the middle of a forest using just a few pioneer tools. From the comfort of my family’s Toronto highrise apartment, it sounded exciting and adventurous.

What my ten-year-old self didn’t fully understand is that carving a homestead out of the wilderness, while rewarding, is also pretty challenging. Especially when your forty-year-old self moves off the grid to a boreal forest 250 miles south of the Arctic Circle.  And when you don’t even have the experience of farming or homesteading ON the grid.

If you’re thinking about homesteading off the grid, here are a few challenges to keep in mind plus a few notes on how we handle them.

#1. Getting Water for Gardens and Livestock

Now I knew we would need water for our gardens. And it was no surprise that chicks and chickens also require water on a regular basis.  However, I didn’t fully appreciate the work involved in getting water to go anywhere other than our house.  We’re lucky to have an off grid water pump system to fill our 1100 gallon tank at our lakeside house, but we don’t have running water in our chicken coop or sheds. We haul water to the chicken coop using buckets and feel fortunate that we can hand-water the garden with a hose. We have friends up the trail who struggle to haul water up to their off grid properties in the summer.

Before getting too far along in planning your off grid homestead, consider how you’ll water your garden and provide the water your livestock needs. How far is your water source? How will you transport it? Can you rig up an off grid irrigation system?

Plan for this before you need it so you can work out any issues without worrying about wilting veggies or thirsty chicks.

8/12/2020 8:59:17 AM

Thank you! Useful, pragmatic suggestions with real life examples are always helpful! We use 275 gallon totes to collect rainwater from shed roofs, or to pump up to from our pond and then gravity feed to garden/fruit trees. If one is lucky enough to have a ram pump, then the water uphill from the pond to the storage tank becomes "free" but it is slow!

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