Permaculture – The term “permaculture” has come to encompass many things but at its heart, it is a design style that cultivates biodiversity on the land and focuses on improvements to the land that will shape it to better use available resources like sunlight and water. Homesteads using permaculture principles divide their land into five “zones” with the first one being the areas with daily human intervention and traffic, the second, third, and fourth zones are areas of less frequent human intervention, and the fifth is designated as a wildlife area that has very little human contact to allow for native species to flourish.
Regenerative Farming – Very similar to Permaculture, Regenerative Farming uses methods that protect and heal the land. Most current farming and ranching practices deplete the land and leave it worse every year, requiring more and more chemical additives in order to make it produce food. A regenerative farmer sees himself as the steward of his land as well as of what it produces. She understands what the soil needs and uses practices that nourish and build soil rather than exploit it.
Homestead – A homestead is where people live and provide for as many of their own needs as possible. There are homesteads on thousands of acres and homesteads with almost no land at all. The common feature of homesteads is the mindset of the occupants. Homesteaders prefer to have an active part in growing, harvesting, and preserving their own food. They purchase only what they must with the goal of being more self-reliant each year.
Market Farming – Market farmers grow/raise food to sell to others, usually at farmers’ markets or through Community Supported Agriculture memberships (CSA’s). If you don’t sell part of what you produce, you are a homesteader, not a market farmer.