Homesteading is about living a simple life and not relying on the world outside. It is about removing yourself from the consumerist mindset that is infecting our culture.
You can start a homesteading journey wherever you are and in whatever circumstances you find yourself. But you need to have the right mindset before jumping in headfirst.
RISON – The Arkansas Homesteading Conference, presented by the Herald, will be held Saturday, March 25, at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds in Rison.
The conference provides educational sessions and demonstrations on gardening, small farm livestock, food preservation, alternative energy, herbs and other topics related to self sufficiency and sustainability.
Admission is $15 for adults age 18 and over, and free for youth age 17 and under. To register for the conference, go to arkansashomesteader.com Britt Talent, publisher of the Herald, organized the first conference in 2014. It has been held in Rison every year since then, with the exception of 2021, when the event was canceled due to the COVID pandemic.
This year marks the first time the conference has been held in Rison at a location other than the Pioneer Village. Talent said he wanted to move it to the fairgrounds this year to promote the Share Grounds Processing Kitchen that is located there. The Share Grounds kitchen, located in the fairgrounds concession stand, provides aspiring food entrepreneurs with a certified kitchen equipped with professional grade processing eqipment.
“A lot of the people who want to homestead are looking for ways to generate income out of their home,” Talent said. “The Share Grounds kitchen is a natural step from the cottage food industry to the retail food market.” Cottage food refers to items that state law allows people to prepare in their home kitchen that can be sold at farmers markets and other special events.
David Hill, who oversees the Share Grounds program for the Unversity of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, will be one of the speakers at the event.
This year’s conference has another heavy emphasis on gardening. Talent said there will be a session on using worm castings to improve the soil health of your garden followed by another session on how to raise composting worms at home to produce a nutrient-rich compost.
In addition, there will be a session on growing food yearround through a method that uses water rather than soil called hydroponics, and Rison High School student Alaina Reeves will lead a presentation on growing mushrooms at home.
Other topics that will be covered at the conference includes herbal folk remedies, converting goat milk into lotion, tanning animals hides, canning for beginnings and a special presentation from Tim Kinnard of the The Kinnard Family Homestead in Faulkner County on the journey he and his family made into becoming full-time homesteaders.
Talent said more than 140 adults from 37 counties from across the state have already registered for the conference as of Tuesday afternoon.