The Digital-to-Dirt Path: Embracing Homesteading in Modern Times

The Digital-to-Dirt Path: Embracing Homesteading in Modern Times

Backroads Homestead Podcast
The Digital-to-Dirt Path: Embracing Homesteading in Modern Times


In a compelling narrative of transformation, John Overall shares his journey from being a seasoned WordPress professional to becoming a committed homesteader. This change wasn’t just a career shift but a lifestyle revolution. In the latest episode of the Backroads Homesteading Podcast, hosted by Ryan Harden, John dives deep into how he leveraged his tech skills to cultivate a sustainable living space and community-focused enterprise. This blog post explores key takeaways from John’s experience and practical advice for aspiring homesteaders.

Section 1: The Genesis of a Homesteader

John’s journey into homesteading began before the global upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With a background spanning over 25 years in the internet industry and 15 years in WordPress development, John found himself yearning for something more grounded. His opportunity came in the form of an unused backyard owned by his family. John envisioned this space not as a neglected patch of grass but as a potential oasis of productivity and peace.

John’s project, dubbed the Rose Oasis, transformed a 65×120 foot city lot into a thriving garden. This endeavor was not just about growing food; it was about growing a new way of life. He utilized his tech-savvy skills to document his progress, creating a digital footprint of his transition from the digital world to the soil.

Section 2: Embracing the Local Economy

One of the most compelling aspects of John’s homesteading journey is his integration into the local economy. Initially attending farmers’ markets to sell excess plants, John quickly adapted his strategy to include freeze-dried products—a hit among the locals. His foray into freeze-drying fruits and creating a line of unique hot sauces showcases the innovative spirit needed to succeed in modern homesteading.

Moreover, John’s approach reflects a deep understanding of community needs and market dynamics. His ability to pivot and adapt his product offerings based on customer feedback underscores the importance of community interaction and responsiveness in building a successful homestead-based business.

Section 3: Practical Tips for Aspiring Homesteaders

John’s narrative is rich with advice for those looking to embark on their own homesteading journey. Key among these is the concept of starting small. John emphasizes the importance of understanding one’s local microclimate and gradually expanding one’s gardening prowess. He advises new homesteaders to experiment with different plant placements, understand their land’s unique conditions, and adapt accordingly.

Another significant piece of advice is leveraging existing skills and integrating them into homesteading activities. John’s background in WordPress and internet technologies provided him with the tools to document his journey, reach a broader audience, and market his products effectively.

Section 4: Building Resilience in Uncertain Times

Homesteading is not just a return to agriculture; it’s a proactive approach to building resilience in uncertain times. John and Ryan discuss the broader implications of homesteading, especially as it pertains to food security and economic stability. They touch on the societal shifts towards self-reliance and the increasing importance of local supply chains amid global disruptions.

The podcast also delves into the role of community and cooperative efforts in enhancing food security. John’s experience with local markets and his collaboration with neighboring farmers highlights the potential of community-supported agriculture (CSA) and its impact on local food resilience.

Section 5: Future Outlook and Continuous Learning

John’s story is an ongoing one, with plans to further expand his homesteading activities and continue learning. His commitment to sharing his knowledge through digital channels and local interactions exemplifies the evolving nature of homesteading—a blend of traditional practices and modern technologies.

Aspiring homesteaders are encouraged to view John’s journey as a blueprint for integrating professional skills with sustainable living practices. By staying curious, continuously learning, and adapting, the journey from tech expert to seasoned homesteader can not only be possible but deeply fulfilling.


John Overall’s transition from a tech professional to a passionate homesteader offers a profound look at how diverse skills and past experiences can pave the way for successful and sustainable living. The Backroads Homesteading Podcast episode with John provides not only inspiration but also practical guidance for anyone looking to embark on a similar path. As we face increasing global challenges, the story of the Rose Oasis serves as a beacon of innovation, resilience, and community spirit in the modern homesteading movement.