Living the Good Life: Building the family homestead.

Location: St. Joseph’s Farm | 300 W Melvin Hill, Columbus, NC 28722

The discernment and decisions of moving to the land can be daunting, and without clarity and direction many families do fail. St. Joseph’s Farm will be hosting a weekend workshop designed specifically for new and interested homesteaders and farming families.

Sign-up Today!

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Learn the fundamental difference between a producing household and a consuming home, and how the family is led differently within the spectrum in between.
  • Learn the art of homesteading without falling into expensive or wasteful fads or farming for selfies.
  • How to discern what level of intensity or dedication you can reasonably invest based on your skills, financial reality, location, and family “buy-in.”
  • What arrangements of land/income/location/competency you will need and which enterprises you should focus on, with a presentation on the economic return on work based on family need and enjoyment and not just profitability in the market (i.e. “eat what you can sell before you sell what you can eat!”).


More than a hobby, more than a job

  • Participants will also be able to hear and learn from experienced homesteaders that have taken their love for cultivation to a commercial scale while not losing the character of a family-based farm.  This includes certified food processing facilities for honey, Grade A dairies and creameries, and meat processing facilities.
  • Learn how to navigate the laws, inspections, and realities of small to mid-scale commercial farming with a family.


Leave with a plan

  • “Full weekend” participants* will be guided through writing a specific plan that will clarify direction, discernments, and decisions like where (and if) to move, what to focus on, and how to navigate the economic, cultural, and familial reality of a move to the land.
  • This plan will clarify and shape the expectations of present and future economic realities of living on the land.
  • This plan will be completed with the mentoring and consultation of experienced homesteaders and farmers that range from backyard pigs to sideline dairy to commercial meat processing.

*Due to limited time, “Saturday only” participants will enjoy most of the presentations but will not receive the direct coaching on a written plan. 


Two Options


Full Weekend: $495 – Friday (all day):  Private Consultations/ Round Table Discussions/Land Based Business Coaching  +  Saturday Workshops (Limited to 10)

Intended for people who are seriously trying to make the transition from an urban life to a more full-time land based way of life. Various scenarios and business models will be discussed as well as the practical logistics and economics that are necessary to make the transition. 

Saturday Only: $225 – Friday Night Pig Slaughter + Saturday Homesteading Workshops ( Limited to 40)

The Friday Evening/Saturday Workshop is focused on providing an introduction to a selection of homesteading enterprises and skills and is a great opportunity for people who are still considering if this is the lifestyle they wish to pursue. In addition to the intro to homestead skills their will also be presentations on.


About our Presenters

Thomas Van Horn, Married and father of 4,  currently homesteads with his family on 10 little acres near Laurel Hill, FL.  He is a first generation homesteader/beekeeper and made the successful transition from living in the city 10 years ago and relies entirely on the land for their entire income and personal sustenance via the homestead and their 600 hive beekeeping operation. 

Jason Craig, married and father of 8, writes and works from a small dairy operation in Western NC.  He is a first generation, part-time farmer with extensive experience with pigs, cows, and gardening.  With degrees in horticulture and theology, Craig brings together a coherent philosophical foundation for living on the land and the need to consider the cultural shift required to make the move. 

Craig Taffaro, married father of 3 (and one on the way), cut his teeth with a robust backyard homestead of bees, vegetables, and poultry.  Recently he has opened “Melvin Hill Meats,” a custom meat processing facility across the street from Jason Craig’s family.  Craig works off-farm only part time and has a wide range of knowledge in the laws, economics, and practice of homesteading.  

Jim Curely, homesteading father (and grandfather!) with decades of experience in farming.  Curely, who is a physicist by trade and even had a Catholic publishing company, is a mentor and inspiration for many.  He moved from an urban setting to Bethune, SC nearly 20 years ago and has been living primarily from 1.9 acres since then, raising pigs, veggies, dairy cows, and the occasional steer.  Jim was the original butcher for SJF events and remains a central part of its goals in his simplicity and fatherliness.