Updated: Apr 12
In order to live in a more sustainable way, it is crucial that we all think very carefully about where and how we choose to live. We live in a world with a bounty of natural, renewable resources. But the ways in which many of us live disconnect us from that natural world around us.
Kin domains, or family homesteads provide one model for sustainable living that can help us to rekindle our connections with nature. Living simply and in a holistic and earth-friendly way can help us reduce our impact on our planet. It can help us find our way to a more sustainable future.
In this article, we'll explore the concept of a kin domain or family homestead and look at some of the reasons why they are top solutions for a sustainable future.
What is a Kin Domain?
A kin domain is a concept centered around family. A kin domain, which could also be described as a family homestead, is a home surrounded by an area of land large enough to meet the basic life needs and multi-generational requirements of a nuclear or extended family.
While family homesteads come in a range of sizes, kin domains are usually at least 1 hectare (2.47 acres) in size. This is small enough to be managed by a family group in a sustainable way, yet large enough to meet their needs – not just the needs of today, but also continuing needs on down the generations.
Kin Domains Don't Rely on Harmful Products and Practices
Kin domains differ from typical modern family homes in that they are self-contained units that can provide for the needs of a household locally, and in a sustainable way. Rather than buying supermarket foods, produced on mono-crop farms with a reliance on fossil fuels, for example, families can grow their own food.
They will have immediate access to water, food, shelter, and many other resources on their property. (So won't have to rely on damaging external systems.) And can manage the relatively small area of land in low-impact ways that don't harm planet or people.
Working from the ground up, a family prepared to put in the work can create an Eden for themselves and their descendants. They can create not only a home but entire lives centred around their kin domain, which can be not only a place to rest and sleep but also a place of work and play.
By helping families to avoid harmful products and practices, the kin domain concept can help take our societies in a more positive direction. But more than this, they can be an answer to our climate crisis and many of the other crises we face.
Well designed kin domains have plenty of trees and vegetation, and are managed in such a way that more carbon is captured in plants and soil. The soil of a site is nurtured and protected, even improved. They are rich in biodiversity, and help reverse the biodiversity losses in our modern world. And once established, kin domains allow families to almost entirely eliminate waste of all kinds. As a biodiverse and nature-wise system, a kin domain can truly stand the test of time.
Kin Domains Meet All a Family's Basic Needs Today and in Perpetuity
One of the things that truly makes kin domains such a valuable model for sustainable living is that they can be designed to meet all of a family's basic needs today and for the future. And though kin domains do take work (and time) to establish, the goal is to create sustaining, low-maintenance systems that mimic and work with nature to produce abundant yields.
- Dams, ponds and water collection and management systems provide a sustainable water supply.
- Earth and trees provide building, construction and crafting materials for shelter, and for the construction of workshops and other utility buildings on site.
- Trees also provide fuel for heating where this is required.
- And a food forest provides a bountiful range of foods and other useful yields – from crafting materials to natural medicines.
- Polyculture vegetable beds and farm field areas produce all the rest of the plant-based food a family needs.
- And livestock such as bees, poultry, goats etc can also be kept on the site for additional nutrition and to provide other benefits within the ecosystem.
- Wildlife is welcomed and catered for too – allowing a family to benefit from rich biodiversity within the system.
Kin Domains Protect a Family's Freedom, Autonomy and Privacy
Many people are attracted to eco-living, but would struggle with the lack of freedom, autonomy and privacy that can sometimes be a characteristic of many sustainable communities.
Kin domains give families more autonomy and space than a typical eco-village arrangement. Each family group has domain over their patch of land, but can still benefit from the proximity of other families living in adjoining kin domains.
Multiple generations of the same family can benefit from living in a close group together. The oldest generations can share their wisdom and life experience, while benefiting from the strength and vigour of younger family members as they age.
Those adults in full strength can learn and grow into themselves, gaining great satisfaction from their work on their land. With support from older generations for childcare and other needs.
Children can grow up in beautiful, natural surroundings, in a nurturing environment that equips them for their future lives.
So in addition to providing a wide range of ecological and environmental benefits, there are also plenty of personal benefits for a family which establishes a kin domain.
After reading the above, no doubt it is clear to you why kin domains or family homesteads are top solutions for a sustainable future. Perhaps this is the future you would like for your own family? This dream might be closer than you think.