Not your ordinary backyard garden. How one FoCo woman is turning her home into a sustainable homestead

Michelle Hall

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Joseline Capre started her homestead in November 2021(Photo/Michelle Hall)

(Forsyth County, GA) Joseline Capre saw the vision in her dreams, night after night, month after month, year after year. A house on an acreage of land, rows of fruit trees, berry bushes and raised garden beds. The food on the table is the literal fruits of her labor. Today, Capre’s dream has become reality and she has just begun to bring to life the homestead she envisioned.

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Capre stands among her fruit trees and berry bushes(Photo/Michelle Hall)

“This vision every night of waking up at two or three in the morning and having to ask the lord ‘is this what you want of me?’ was so apparent,” described Capre. “Then the pandemic hit. And that’s when I knew we needed to have a source of food in the house. And I told my husband we need to move; we need to find acreage and build a homestead. And that was what happened.”

Just get started. Just do it. Just plant something," Joseline Capre urges everyone to try growing your own food.

It didn’t happen overnight. The Capre family sold their home in the James Creek neighborhood in the southern part of Forsyth County in 2020 and spent a year and a half looking for the right site to homestead. The family of five ended up finding it with a six-acre property in western Forsyth County.

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Capre keeps journals of her agricultural studies(Photo/Michelle Hall)

“That year and a half that we were looking for the property I was studying every day,” Capre said. “It almost became like my second job. Studying agriculture, studying how to cultivate, studying soil, studying water, the sun, different kinds of plants. I was watching Youtube videos. Books. I just became a sponge of knowledge. It became very apparent that was what my next path was going to be.”

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Capre has vegetables growin in six raised beds.(Photo/Michelle Hall)

Since moving in November 2021, Capre has planted 11 fruit trees, nine berry bushes, nine grape vines, and a variety of vegetables and herbs in six raised garden beds. She starts her planting process with seeds in cups that she keeps in her kitchen under grow lights until they’re ready to be transplanted in the garden.

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This shelving unit has been equipped with grow lights to get from seeds to seedlings(Photo/Michelle Hall)

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Companion planting is pairing flowers (here, marigolds) with vegetables to ward off pests(Photo/Michelle Hall)

Capre knows this homestead dream will take years to complete. As with a business, you need to have the patience, finances, time and a plan to make it successful.

“You don’t come into a property and think from today to tomorrow you’re going to have a homestead,” Capre said. “A lot of people will sit on the property for a whole year and watch the property. Pay attention to where the water is flowing. Pay attention to where the water is not going. Pay attention to your sunlight – what do you need more of, what do you need less of? And then from there come up with a plan.”

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Capre labels her crops so she can easily identify what is growin(Photo/Michelle Hall)

Not sure what a homestead is exactly? As described by Daniel Mark Schwartz on his website "Offgrid Permaculture," it’s like a farm but on a much smaller scale. The goal is to produce food for your family to eat; homesteaders don’t typically sell their crops. Many homesteaders live off the grid, meaning their water comes from a well, their electricity comes from solar powered generators and their food comes from their yard. Homesteading is like practicing Earth Day every day.

“You want to be able to create a lifestyle that you are less dependent on the supermarket and more independent on what you create,” explained Capre.

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Capre staggers her lettuce crops. She plants one row of four plants a week so that she never harvests more than they can eat.(Photo/Michelle Hall)

In addition to growing her food, Capre has learned how to cook from scratch during the pandemic, relying on very few ingredients from the grocery store to feed her family. She plans on adding chickens, goats, and a hog to her homestead in the future. She also cleans with only natural products – baking soda, vinegar, water and essential oils – and wants to learn how to make her own soap, all in an effort for her home to be sustainable inside and out.

Have a five, ten year plan just like any business. What do you want to do every year to get that homestead going?" Capre advises on starting your own homestead.

Her interest in sustainability began as a child growing up in New York. Capre said she was always making something or learning about cooking. After getting married and moving to New Jersey, she started gardening by growing tomatoes in containers. Through the years she added more container gardens and more types of vegetables to grow. Capre knows not everyone has the calling to create a homestead, but even growing just one thing will make a difference.

“Just get started. Just do it,” Capre urged. “It doesn’t matter the size of the property. It doesn’t matter if you live in an apartment. It doesn’t matter your resources. Just plant something because that one thing is enough for you to eat. Anything that you do will source something else that you can eliminate.”

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Capre finds joy getting her hands dirty while working in her beloved garden(Photo/Michelle Hall)

Watch Joseline Capre demonstrate how to plant chive seeds in this video.

If you have a news tip, please email michelle.hall@newsbreak.com

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Journalist, storyteller, and editor. I love sharing stories and finding the right words to help others write their own.

Cumming, GA
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