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Insteading: Embracing Sustainable and Self-Sufficient Living

In an age where the impact of our lifestyles on the planet is more evident than ever, many individuals and communities are turning to insteading as a way to foster sustainability, self-sufficiency, and a deeper connection with nature. But what exactly is insteading, and why is it gaining popularity?

What is Insteading?

Insteading, is a portmanteau of “instead” and “homesteading,” refers to the practice of choosing more sustainable and self-sufficient ways of living. It involves adopting methods and lifestyles that minimize reliance on external systems, reduce environmental footprints, and promote resilience. Insteading is not just a return to traditional homesteading; it’s a modern interpretation that incorporates new technologies and practices to enhance sustainability.

Core Principles of Insteading

  1. Self-Sufficiency: One of the primary goals of insteading is to achieve a level of self-sufficiency, reducing dependence on commercial systems for basic needs. This can include growing your own food, raising livestock, and generating your own energy through renewable sources like solar or wind power.
  2. Sustainability: Insteading emphasizes sustainable practices that preserve and enhance the environment. This involves using natural resources responsibly, reducing waste, and ensuring that practices do not deplete or harm the ecosystem.
  3. Community: Insteading often involves building and participating in supportive communities. Whether through local bartering systems, communal gardens, or knowledge-sharing networks, community is a cornerstone of the insteading lifestyle.
  4. Simplicity: At its heart, insteading is about embracing simplicity and a more intentional way of living. It encourages mindfulness about consumption, focusing on quality over quantity, and valuing experiences and relationships over material possessions.

Practical Aspects of Insteading

Urban Insteading: Insteading is not confined to rural areas. Urban insteading is becoming increasingly popular, with practices such as rooftop gardens, community-supported agriculture (CSA), and urban chicken coops. Todays city dwellers are finding innovative ways to incorporate sustainable practices into their city lives.

Permaculture: This design philosophy is integral to insteading. Permaculture principles guide the creation of sustainable and self-sufficient agricultural systems that mimic natural ecosystems. It emphasizes the harmonious integration of landscape and people to provide food, energy, shelter, and other needs.

DIY and Upcycling: Insteading encourages a do-it-yourself attitude. This can involve making your own cleaning products, upcycling old materials into new uses, or even building your own structures. The DIY ethic not only reduces waste but also fosters a sense of accomplishment and self-reliance.

Homemade washing up liquid

The Benefits of Insteading

  1. Environmental Impact: By adopting sustainable practices, insteaders significantly reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to the health of the planet. Practices like composting, using renewable energy, and reducing waste all play a role in mitigating environmental impact.
  2. Economic Savings: Insteading can lead to substantial cost savings. Growing your own food, for instance, reduces grocery bills, while making your own products and upcycling can save money on household items.
  3. Health and Well-Being: A lifestyle that includes home-grown organic food, physical activity, and reduced stress from a simpler life can lead to improved physical and mental health. The sense of community and purpose also contributes to overall well-being.
  4. Resilience: Insteading builds resilience by reducing reliance on external systems and fostering skills that can be crucial in times of crisis. Whether through food security or energy independence, insteading provides a buffer against economic and social uncertainties.


Insteading is more than a trend; it’s a movement toward a more sustainable, self-sufficient, and mindful way of living. As more people become aware of the environmental and social challenges we face, the principles of insteading offer practical solutions and a hopeful path forward. Whether you’re in a rural area or a city, there are many ways to incorporate insteading into your life, each step bringing us closer to a more sustainable future. Why not think of ways in which you can choose the principle of “instead”, it could be just small steps to start with – growing herbs on your windowsill, switching off lights, replacing old style bulbs with energy saving ones. These are easy examples of how you can start to change your perspective. Remember, no one-size fits all it’s all about how much or how little you choose to do. We all need to stop and reevaluate sometimes and oh of course

Just Breathe