Modern homesteading series generates interest

A modern homesteading series kicked off in January as residents from across southern Illinois gathered to learn how they can become better connected to their food, family and community.

Homesteading can mean different things to different people, and the evening started with moments of self-discovery to determine why homesteading is important. There were many answers, but a common theme was self-sufficiency and having a greater connection to the land.

Paula Brockman, a resident of Franklin County, has dabbled in homesteading but wants to do more.

"I feel a calling to not only actively homestead but also to promote homesteading," said Brockman. "I hope to gain knowledge and confidence to sincerely begin this journey."

The 2023 series will include a variety of workshops led by educators and experts throughout the state. While each program is a separate event in the series, local foods and small farms program coordinator Maggie Ray said they hope to build a community of individuals that can grow together.

Anyone that missed the introductory program is still invited to participate in future workshops or be a part of this year's group of homesteaders.

"In addition to our programs, we're offering a quarterly session for participants to meet virtually," said Ray. "We can all learn from one another, and this is a great way to share ideas."

Unless otherwise noted, all events will be held at the Jackson County Extension office at 402 Ava Rd. in Murphysboro, IL, 62966, at 5:30 p.m.

The next programs include:

Feb. 16: Goats and Sheep

March 9: Backyard Poultry

March 28: Composting

The series is free and open to the public. To learn more or register for upcoming programs, visit or call 618-687-1727.

County director Lynn Heins speaks to a group of residents interested in learning more about modern homesteading. Photo provided