This study combines research and oral histories that were conducted with eight individuals in Kentucky who are pursuing sustainable lifestyles through practicing methods such as homesteading, living off-the-grid, permaculture, and natural farming techniques. The paper provides a brief history of homesteading and details how the homesteading of today differs from off-the-grid living. It also provides some of the history of Eastern Kentucky and gives insights into the history of homesteading and sustenance farming in the area. The unrehearsed oral history interviews share information that includes, but is not limited to, interviewees’ reasons for why and how they began their transition to their current lifestyle, the unique sustainable qualities to their homestead, and, in particular the interviews look into their perspectives on the natural world. Furthermore, the analysis explores the particular reasons why people choose to pursue homesteading today and contrasts their choices with the views or choices of 19th and 20th century homesteaders. The study also seeks to explain where some of the central philosophies and techniques originate, such as the concept of permaculture, Masanobu Fukuoka’s natural farming techniques, and Stephen Scharper’s definition of anthropoharmonism. Overall, the thesis finds that modern homesteaders, whether they know it or not, use the techniques aforementioned in an attempt to align their lifestyles to live in harmony with the rest of the natural world.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 12-11-2017


Neil Robert Kasiak

Mentor Professional Affiliation


Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Language and Cultural Studies, Anthropology, and Sociology

Department Name when Degree Awarded

Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work