Top Traps of Homesteading, and How to Avoid Them – Jason Matyas








Great Big Ideas & Takeaways:

In this presentation, learn about homesteading traps that you need to avoid, drawn from Jason’s vast experience interviewing dozens of homesteaders for his film Beyond Off Grid, including:

  • The #1 temptation faced by homesteaders that can RUIN the journey to self-reliant living.
  • How to AVOID THE TRAP that usually ensures you won’t leave a legacy of homesteading.
  • Essential planning that can make or break you. Don’t get this wrong!
  • How to avoid burnout, and take joy in the journey.
  • The *critical activity* that can make the difference between homesteading success and failure.

About The Speaker:

Jason Matyas is a husband and father of seven, homesteader, lifelong gardener, local food advocate, 18 year Air Force veteran, and visionary entrepreneur with a wide-ranging background.  He is the founder of a family business with his children called Seeds for Generations that provides heirloom garden seeds and inspiration for gardening as a family.  Jason is also the Co-Founder and Executive Producer of Beyond Off Grid – a documentary film and training media project that is devoted to inspiring and equipping you to reduce your dependence on the modern economy and seek true freedom by Returning to the Old Paths of productive households and local community interdependence.

QUESTION:   Did you make any “beginner” mistakes when you were starting out? What homesteading traps would YOU advise someone to avoid?  


  1. Jason Matyas

    Hey folks! I’m excited to be a part of this summit. Be sure to go to our resource page we’ve created for this event to download the slides and access a free bonus gift, PLUS enter a special giveaway contest we have for you!

    1. mike leblanc

      great talk. i must admit im guilty on all 5 at one time or another,but definatly working on those. thank you!

      1. Jason Matyas

        Thanks for your feedback, Mike. Glad it was helpful to you.

  2. Laura Emerson

    Very practical and appropriate advice (I am a homesteader in Alaska). Recommendation: since this is nearly an hour long, and viewers are assessing “competing” time use of the conference’s videos, list the categories of advice right up front. Spend less time complimenting the well known Permaculture guys (at front). Get right into the advice. List the resource gurus at the end (like footnotes in a book).

    1. Joyce

      Completely agree Laura. I’ve been listening for several minutes and it just seems like a commercial for his film. Really losing interest.

  3. Barb Herron

    Jason, I want to thank you for your presentation. I am a retired nurse with a disabled older son-I have always been a homesteader at heart so it is difficult for me to put limitations on myself- this presentation has made me take a more realistic look at my dreams.

    1. Jon

      This is similar in concept to starting a business.

      Great information but angers me this is not common sense. You do good work in this.

      You need a business plan (for real not a bank one)

    2. Jason Matyas

      Hi Barb. I’m glad this was helpful to you. It’s easy for those of us who are young at heart to act like we’re in our 20s with few commitments, when in reality we are not spring chickens and have a lot of demands that we have to balance. It’s important to factor all of these things in when thinking of our vision and doing our planning. God bless you in your journey!

  4. Laura Morrison

    Jason…This was a informative and realistic outlook of homesteading and the pitfalls people get trapped into. I really enjoyed listening and look forward to your film!! Thanks!

  5. Rob Esquivel

    Hey Jason…Thanks for sharing some very important insights, especially for those with
    very little experience in hometeading, like me.

    1. Jason Matyas

      Thanks for watching, Rob! There was a lot more I could have shared, but time was limited. Keep in touch and look for more training like this from our team (both past and in the future). Cheers!

  6. Marjory WIldcraft

    Jason, glad to see you online!

    1. Jason Matyas

      Thanks for having me be a part of this, Marjory!

  7. Marilyn

    Great eye opening advice. Thanks for for helping to ground me.

    1. Jason Matyas

      Marilyn – my pleasure! Keep in touch via email and let me know if you have any questions.

  8. Patti

    As someone who is still in the dreaming/planning stage, this is hands-down the most helpful I have seen to date. I feel like I am years ahead of where I was just one hour ago. Thank you!

    1. Jason Matyas

      Patti – you’re too kind. I appreciate your feedback and encouragement. We’ve got some other good training we’ve done on homestead planning, so let me know if you have any specific questions.

  9. sharon carson

    I am really enjoying this as I have been DOING this here for 40 years,I am 69 a widow and my kids are not able to support themselves financially hereby Modern standards though they could feed themselves and survive here . I have planted a food forest here and developed infrastucture but I do not expect my kids to nessesarily take this path. It could be a person not related to me that carries it forward . I am enjoying this… it is near to my heart and path.

    1. Sandy

      So many of us have spent our lives working until we could launch this lifestyle, and still searching our way through this learning curve, are not so sure who will in our younger generations will see their future in these very contemporary “old ways”. I have always appreciated Jason’s championing of the long view, but having heard him explain the structure of what it takes to succeed with such a long term lifelong effort, understand far more clearly how much he has committed to bring all of us this message. It will never be too late to learn it, and never be too soon to see this documentary.

  10. CeAnne @ St. Fiacres Farm

    What a great prsentation! Perfect for our newish farm as we get ready to go full time! Spoke right to us and love the resources.

    1. Jason Matyas

      Hi CeAnne,

      Glad you’re taking the plunge into farming. It’s not easy, but it’s important. Keep in touch and let us know how the farm develops.



  11. Kelly Lowe

    Have a homestead of my own is definitely a dream of mine and this video gave me a lot of food for thought. I look forward to watching your film and thank you for teaching others!

    1. Jason Matyas

      Hi Kelly – glad I could help you think through a lot of the “gotchas” and hopefully help guide you to making wiser decisions about your future.

      All the best,


  12. Joysmithing

    Thanks for the presentation. Sometimes it’s the simplest, most common sense things that we overlook when starting and planning a new venture like this. I know I’ve missed some of these in my planning. Not too late to fix it though!

  13. zora ignjatovic

    would like to see the documentary. congrats and thank you million on behalf of all homesteaders and growing people, or humanity of hope and togetherness

    1. Jason Matyas

      Zora, Thanks for your interest in our film. Be sure to sign up on our email list so you can get updates on our film release that’s coming soon!

  14. Marie

    Wish I saw this 10 years ago, I think my homestead dream is dead now. I did most of these. Hubby has since moved us off farm, and wants to go all the way bock to the suburb. how do I re-start?

    1. Jason Matyas


      I’m so sorry to hear that. You know, I think that the core of homesteading is more about the mindset and lifestyle than it is about where you are, how many acres you have, and whether you live in a rural area.

      Do the best with where God’s put you – as they say, “bloom where you’re planted”.



  15. Cheryl


    1. Jason Matyas

      Cheryl – Thanks! What part(S) of the presentation made you say that? 🙂

  16. Lynne Aldridge

    Thought provoking. I’ve not got my own place yet – just a back garden and allotment, but I’m learning all I can.

    One thing I do every few months is a skills audit – ones my partner & I have, and what we need to learn. It helps to focus our research. Not just hands on outdoor skills – my partners a graphic designer, which he can turn to signs, labels, newsletters – valuable to a business or in a community. He has also built a shed without power tools, so very handy.

    1. Jason Matyas


      I love your skills audit idea. Kind of like an inventory of your food storage – so you know what you’ve got and what you still need to gain.

      Except skills are far more important than goods, since they can produce goods directly, or produce value that can be traded for needed goods.

      I always advise people to focus on building skills instead of building up a stockpile of supplies, because without the skills (and experience), gear and other stuff will usually fail to deliver when challenges come.

      Keep up the great work, especially the entrepreneurial efforts (my wife is a freelance graphic designer, by the way), and DIY projects that are building your skillset!



  17. Mary G.

    Thanks so much for this food for thought. Great presentation, very practical info.

    1. Jason Matyas

      Thanks, Mary! What part did you like the best?

  18. Donna

    EXCELLENT content! Very helpful information as we are just purchasing our homestead this week!

    1. Jason Matyas

      Donna – Congrats! That’s so exciting. Keep in touch and let me know how your Return to the Old Paths goes.

      Cheering you on,


  19. Mardell

    Very insightful and full of little nuggets. Thanks

    1. Jason Matyas

      Thanks, Mardell!

  20. Ms. Mom

    Excellent points! Thinking about 100 years from now is wise advice as is having a solid financial plan.and a dose of reality is critically important. I enjoyed the practical insights.

    1. Jason Matyas

      Thanks for the feedback. Homesteading is counter-cultural enough, but the hardest part is thinking beyond ourselves to future generations. All great accomplishments in history have been made by those generations that thought beyond themselves to future posterity, so I think this is one of the most important principles to keep in mind when homesteading.

  21. Sandra Gann

    Very good advice! Each area gave excellent information. Thank you!!!!
    I am learning that the summer sun and the winter sun shines differently on the land… leaves on hardwoods in winter so more favorable to fall gardening and areas that are “too hot” in the summer are great for the fall winter plants….and this is after observing for 5 years…also such good advice to plan for future generations….and that is true even if you at some point decide to sale your land….your planning will benefit others ( altho prayerfully it will be kept in the family) ….Love the “know your neighbor” as in connecting to community…

    1. Jason Matyas


      Excellent points – thanks for your feedback.

      Observation is the first and most important skill for any endeavor, but especially with, as Thomas Jefferson called it, the “culture of the earth.”


  22. Henriette Area

    excellent, yet simple advice. The basics really are so important.

    1. Jason Matyas

      Thanks, Henriette. Which point was the most important to you?

  23. Onecia

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and those of your friends. Very appreciated.

    1. Jason Matyas


      I’m honored to be able to share what I’ve learned from so many who’ve “been there, done that”, and learned so much. I see it as a duty and a privilege to help equip others to have a better chance at success in this noble but very difficult journey.


  24. donna 2

    Wish i’d seen something like this 35 years ago when hubby and I made our first attempt at homesteading, or 16 years ago when we made our 2nd failed attempt. I’m still gardening and doing some homestead type things, but based out of a small house in a small town so I can enjoy a few of the comforts we didn’t have when we were off-grid, like internet and piped in water.

  25. Kerry

    I really enjoyed this presentation. We are trying to make many of these decisions ourselves, and it was helpful and illuminating.

    1. Jason Matyas

      Hi Kerry,

      So glad you enjoyed it and it was helpful. Keep in touch and let me know if you have any specific questions.



  26. Bonnie Krause-Gams

    Such solid advice from a great team. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  27. Rena

    Am a 64 year old lady, successfully producing my own food, volunteering locally with a community garden… The comment on limitations was a very good one. Western Montana

  28. Kim

    The clip about starting on time and stopping before you’ve overworked yourself was excellent. (It’s the same idea I learned in homeschooling, stopping when interest is still peaked, leaving them eager for the next days learning) There will always be an abundance of work/ ideas to do. It is some much better to acknowledge ones limits (instead of constantly pushing physically and crashing) and be refreshed for the next day
    Now if I could just truly embrace the pace. ; )

  29. Kim

    The clip about starting on time and stopping before you’ve overworked yourself was excellent. (It’s the same idea I learned in homeschooling, stopping when interest is still peaked, leaving them eager for the next days learning) There will always be an abundance of work/ ideas to do. It is so much better to acknowledge ones limits (instead of constantly pushing physically and crashing) and be refreshed for the next day
    Now if I could just truly embrace the pace. ; )

  30. Hill

    I wish I had heard this 2 years ago… We have made most of the mistakes you enourage against. We bought 12 acres, moved our family of 10 (with 5 newly adopted children) into a 1200 sq ft. home with 1 bathroom while waiting for a larger home to be built, built a 25’x50′ garden (during which my hubby hurt is back and then came down with shingles a couple of weeks later), and bought 12 goats and 20 laying hens (we didn’t have any livestock/farm experience). Oh my, can I just say from experience…anyone listening to this presentation should proably heed the very sage advice. We sort jumped in head first in an extreme way. We suffered the consquences and are now trying to recover and determine a better homestead plan for our family. Thanks for the time you put into your presentation.

  31. Marie

    My one takeaway thing from this presentation is the need to see the homestead in the future as far as a 100 years at least. We have bought a homestead and are planning it at the moment.After watching the presentation, we will take the future of our children and grand children into consideration as we are planning so we leave a useful legacy to our descendants

  32. Debbie

    This was a dream I had since I was in my early twenties, or maybe even earlier, and was only able to start working toward it a few years ago. I don’t think I will ever be entirely off-grid, and at 63 years of age, I am beginning to feel my limitations of time, money, and energy. I have learned that pushing too hard usually results in mistakes and injuries that take a long time to recover from. I am reluctantly readjusting some of my expectations, but will still keep plugging along, hoping to leave things better for the next generation.

  33. Emily

    I loved this, thank you so much!

  34. Ian

    Agree with most of this, burnout is a real issue as is running out of money.Getting to know your land is important, knowing your limits and not attempting to do everything yourself is also wise advice. Learning from the mistakes of others is very important, and sharing your own mistakes (like FailCon does). There are many other traps: vegetarianism is IMO a biggie. Also don’t make the system too complicated for other people to manage it, in case you have to leave the place in someone else’s hands for any length of time.

  35. Yolanda

    This Summit was perfect timing. My husband and I just purchased 10 acres and are in the planning stages now. These “Top Traps” will be much easier to spot now. Thank you Jason.

  36. Doug Boude

    Boy, it burns me up that we even have to be TALKING about “food freedom”! That’s a basic human right, to provide for one’s self! Frustrating, to say the least.

  37. June Nies

    This is great information! Thank you! I have a question about the Cheeses/Mallow. This time of the year or earlier in Wisconsin the mallow leaves get little yellow/gold specks on them. Is that a fungus?? or disease? Is it safe to eat the leaves in this state?? I imagine it is caused because of the fall weather lack of sunshine, fall rains and cooler temperatures. I love my mallows but want to be smart!

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