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Homesteading the Cariboo in 2019 is a Sustainable Reality.

The trend continues, as a growing segment of college educated Gen.Y, Gen. X and late born Boomers are selling their urban homes in the lower mainland and moving north into the BC Interior’s Cariboo Region. Some are retiring, some are retiring early, and a good portion are still working professionals seeking a security and independence that the city can no longer offer them. They are leaving behind the hectic pace of city life, the daily gridlock commute and the non stop noise to find a new jobs, a new home and build a new life in smaller but welcoming interior communities. Homesteading, 21st century style, in what can only be explained as a return to a simpler more self reliant way of life. Many aspects of homesteading are becoming more appealing to families including the cost savings, the financial security, and the benefits of healthy stress free living. One can imagine the comfort that comes with knowing that your home, your food source, and your way of life is sustainable by your own hand. This idea that you use available land and resources to create a self-sustaining habitat on your own property, going to the cold room to choose a jar of your own canned goods instead of driving to the store to buy something for supper.

Couples are redefining homesteading and making it fit their life and financial goals. A Cariboo country homestead can be as grand as a custom log home on a ranch acreage with cattle or as humble as a Sea Can cabin with a wood stove and chicken coop. Some simply hope to live more sustainably by growing their own food and finding a relaxed lifestyle in their new community, while some are striving to become completely self-sufficient, growing food and raising animals and living entirely ‘off the grid’. When searching for and vetting potential properties location is a critical consideration. Being in an east to west valley is the most sought after as it ensures that your garden or crops will get enough sunlight to mature. A good drinkable, high volume water source is also a must have necessity and testing an existing well for gallons per minute and water quality should be on the list of top priorities. If you plan to raise animals having a creek, pond or spring on your property is very favourable as this makes your homestead even more sustainable. 

Life in the interior or father north brings both its seasonal challenges and great lifestyle rewards. One can expect to endure the winters that can bring up to 6+ feet of annual snow fall and temperatures that can dip below -25. Whatever dwelling you plan to live in must be built for the climate and have a heat source that doesn’t break the bank, ensuring your will not end up with frozen water lines or a huge heating bill.  When searching for a home and property, make sure it has double pane windows and a back-up power source like a generator and wood stove. They come in handy when the power goes out and you must keep your home and animals from freezing. Plowing your driveway and making sure that emergency vehicles and the fire department can make it to your property is your responsibility as well, many communities have residents who plow snow for a living and you can hire them as needed. Your vehicle needs to be capable of travelling winter roads and must have a block heater installed so you can plug it in when temps go below -15.

On the flip side, living in a small northern community where you know your neighbours, crime rates are lower, and you can take part in all the outdoor activities that make you feel connected and more alive is worth the extra work and effort. Being able to barter or purchase locally grown meat, catch fresh fish and grow your own garden is a most rewarding and healthy way to live. You will be outdoors more, get more exercise, be closer to nature and the abundance of wildlife and birds that share your rural area. Choosing a small community to relocate into is a serious decision and one that should be carefully considered. There are many welcoming communities that have the basic amenities that a homesteader needs to create a comfortable lifestyle. A gas station, a grocery store and a hardware store are at the bare minimum of residential household needs, although many rural land owners currently travel up to an hour, or more each way to purchase their necessities in larger centres to maintain their rural home bases. There is also the consideration of proximity to dentists, doctors and a hospital for medical care. 

In conclusion, the trend to homesteading in 2019 has allot more positive’s that negatives and moving to a rural location doesn’t mean giving up socializing. Most rural communities have community halls and community organizations that put on local events to bring rural residents together for socializing, dances, bake sales, farmers markets and holiday gatherings. If you are considering a change of pace and lifestyle, homesteading the Cariboo could be just the place to live the lifestyle you have always wanted.

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