I used to live next to some urban homesteaders.

What an interesting lifestyle! They did everything they could themselves. Whatever they could do to stay off the grid, not spend their money in stores, and live a simple life, they did.

They were beekeepers, gardeners, scavengers of old useful stuff, and they heated their house entirely by fire.

The freedom of do-it-yourself has inspired many to reach back to the old days when everyone in this region were homesteaders, and a Loveland family is doing it as well as anyone ever has.

Mother Earth News names the Jeremiah Sailer family one of its 2014 Homesteaders of the Year. The magazine profiles the family in its August-September issue, on sale July 22.

Photo by Christa Tippman

Jeremiah and Sarah Sailer, along with their four daughters, live on one-fifth of an acre. They have a greenhouse and grow a vegetable garden twice the square footage of their home, plus raise meat rabbits and chickens. The family estimates it grows half of its food.

In addition, the Sailers built a chicken coop, three rabbit hutches, a greenhouse, and a unique pantry and drop-down “bridge” over a staircase themselves, using repurposed and salvaged materials.

The family began homesteading and gardening when health issues arose, as a way to keep within a tight budget while relying on dietary and natural treatments. Sarah makes the family’s household cleaners and personal hygiene products to reduce chemical exposure. She also home-schools the children, so the whole family explores and learns self-sufficiency topics together.

“Jeremiah and Sarah took a tough situation and, by doing more for themselves and committing to a simpler, healthier lifestyle, turned it into one where everyone thrives — right in the middle of town,” says Jennifer Kongs, managing editor of Mother Earth News.

Mother Earth News sought Homesteaders of the Year nominations from its readers, online audience and through social media, with a focus on stories about do-it-yourself projects. Each winner’s profile illustrates a different way to live a satisfyingly simple, self-reliant lifestyle.

The magazine also named Glenn Maresca and Kelly McCormick of Duette, Florida, and Andrew and Leslie Gibbons of Elkport, Iowa, as Homesteaders of the Year.

Each Homesteader of the Year wins a selection of books from Storey Publishing, a speaking slot and tickets to attend a Mother Earth News Fair, T-shirts, and a lifetime subscription to Mother Earth News.

The Homesteaders of the Year award kicks off International Homesteading Education Month in September. Mother Earth News and Grit magazines sponsor this celebration of modern homesteading. They have created an online hub where anyone can register tours, workshops, open houses or other events, and both titles will promote Homesteading Education Month throughout the summer. Individuals, organizations and companies offering products for self-reliant living are invited to participate — both by signing up to host an event and by using the online listings to find events to attend. Current and would-be homesteaders can also enter the 2014 Homesteader Giveaway.

Mother Earth News is accepting nominations for the 2015 Homesteaders of the Year. Nominations with at least 500 words and three photos should be sent to Letters@MotherEarthNews.com with the subject line “Homesteader of the Year.”