The main difference is whether you live self-sufficiently.
A hobby farm and a homestead are not the same, although they do have some similarities. Both use the land to grow food and raise animals but one is independent and the other is dependent upon the land for survival. Some clear definitions will help people interested in food growing and production plan precisely with goals and guide them on the right path.
It’s not a hobby farmers’ concern to make a living or even make a profit by farming. It’s their hobby and they may be very good at it but they are not dependent upon what they grow to survive. The farmer may sell some of the produce or products made from the produce to generate extra income to fund their hobby.
A hobby farmer will typically have a 9-5 job that covers the cost of the farming habit or be retired but they will always have a source of income separate from their farm.
A hobby farm may be a small backyard that contains a few laying hens and a kitchen garden, or it could be several acres and include a wide variety of plants and animals.
A homesteader is dependent upon what their land produces to sustain them. They pursue a self-reliant lifestyle and their goal is to grow everything their family needs to survive. Most homesteads are less than 100 acres so the family living on the homestead is able to take care of it without outside assistance.
A homestead will have all available land space in use for something that will benefit the family. Crops are constantly being grown to feed both humans and livestock. Extra produce is often sold fresh, canned, or in some other form to generate income for the homestead.
Livestock is raised on a homestead for meat and for sale. The manure from the livestock is used in the garden to feed the plants that feed the livestock. The circle of life is always turning on a homestead so it can be a closed circle of life sustained solely by the homestead.
Want to start your homestead? Check our guide to start your homestead from scratch.
A farmstead differs from both a hobby farm and a homestead. A farmstead grows only crops that will generate income. It’s the way the farmer makes his living and it often spans several hundred acres of land.
Pumpkin farms are an example of a farmstead. The farmer plants acres of pumpkins and then opens his farm to the public in the fall when the pumpkins are ripe for a variety of activities. A farmstead such as this can generate the majority of yearly income for the farmer.
Equipment You Should Have
The equipment needed to run these farms differs greatly. A hobby farmer may just need a shovel and a hoe to grow his crops. A homesteader will need several hand tools and a tractor. A farmstead will probably need large pieces of farming equipment for planting and harvesting the crops.
One piece of equipment that all farmers and homesteaders need is a good pair of rubber boots for homesteading. Anywhere crops and animals are being raised, there will be mud and muck to walk through.
Invest in a good pair of HISEA waterproof boots for men (we have the same styles for women too). Priced right, have a lifetime warranty, come in a wide range of styles and colors, our boots are comfortable, safe, and slip resistant. All the features needed when working outdoors on the farm or homestead.
Tending to the crops and the animals means you must go outside in all types of weather. HISEA boots will take care of your feet during wet weather or cold weather while you take care of the farm. Rinse the work boots off at the end of the day and they will be clean and ready to put on the following morning.