Off Grid Homesteader, Sophia Maslowski is committed to living an ecologically mindful lifestyle with the ultimate goal of sustaining the earth – something we can all get behind!
Can you explain what an off-grid homesteader is?
An off-grid homesteader can be a very wide-ranging term and means something different to everyone. In terms of making money, it can be very diverse. Anything from raising animals to organic gardening, wildcrafting, harvesting, growing wild herbs, making soaps, cosmetics, etc. The lifestyle includes growing and cultivating these things yourself in order to sell.
What is the difference between a farmer and a homesteader?
A farmer is typically more focused specifically on growing vegetables, fruit or raising livestock. Basically, they are a seller of the raw materials. A homesteader has a wider range of things to cultivate that aren’t necessarily those three things.
How did you get into this? What steps did you take?
I was studying commerce at the University of Ottawa and I thought I was going to lead a corporate life. After University, I decided to move to London, England for six years. During my time there, my partner and I discovered this alternative way of life. We quit our jobs, did a bike tour through England, volunteered on farms and eco-villages, got involved in alternative building and organic growing and from there, we bought our own land.
What is the lifestyle aspect of being a homesteader?
Overall, I have been on a personal journey to learn more about the planet and learn about how to live more cohesively with it. My partner and I both want to take that into account and live more ecologically mindful. We quit our 9-to-5 jobs in order to create this new life. At the same time, we want to be productive citizens by making things we all need – whether that’s food or our shelter, always taking the environment into account. As we work towards this, we are always trying to figure out a way to live in this world. A lot of people tend to say “we live lightly on the land” or “we live off the grid” which means we do not rely on a main central source of energy or water source, we try to produce that ourselves. As we have learned along the way, there are many ways to do it.
What is a big misconception about living off grid?
Being off grid doesn’t necessarily mean you have to compromise on all of the luxuries that people are used to these days. This life involves putting a lot of effort to make it for yourself. This is where permaculture comes in. This is a method of design that you take into account the elements around you and make them work in your favour. Using simple things like gravity, the climate, the sun, observing the land around you and making those things work for you. For example, having a wood-fired hot tub, a place to soak your bones at the end of the day. You can create this without having to rely on a lot of electricity to heat the water. Create the space, to begin with, but also understand how it functions. After a long day, you can enjoy your hot tub!
What are your long term goals?
As a homesteader, you need a diversified income stream. If you want to carry on in this world, you need to make money, you cannot just be living amongst the trees, barefoot! For us, we need to be thinking about our taxes or fuel for the vehicle, etc. With that said, what we are currently focused on is developing ecotourism. We plan to set up a business where we can rent out glamping, which will slowly ease people into nature. From there, we plan to build cabins made with nature reclaimed materials, as well as build up an orchid or food forest, which is essentially a plot of land that has a diverse range of fruit and veggies year round. The ultimate goal is to build up our property and create a space where people can come to see a different way of living.
Why is this lifestyle important to you?
At the end of the day, it’s all about sustainability. Being an off grid homesteader really means, if you love life here on earth and you realize that we are all connected to it, whether it’s the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe, if that all matters to you, you’re going to want to help sustain that.
To connect with Sophia, volunteer, or learn more about her journey, visit her website.