One of my all-time favorite articles in the past couple of weeks was written by Lynnae, at Being Frugal. The reason I loved it so much is because it introduced me to a brand new term, called 'Urban Homesteading'. "We are not alone, and we didn't invent this idea. Urban homesteading is a movement, a quiet movement of sensible people making the smart choice of disconnecting ourselves in healthy ways from an increasingly untenable reality and creating our own culture from the ground up. We live better, we eat better, we're saving the planet. What's not to love?"
Urban homesteading is the practice of growing one's own fruits and vegetables (and learning to preserve them), making do with what's around the house rather than running out to 7-Eleven or Target for an overpriced plastic doo-dad, and spending time on making food from scratch, rather than purchasing packaged food. In short, urban homesteading is about frugality!
More people than you think are probably already heading in the direction of urban homesteading. In fact, last week while eavesdropping (because that's the kind of person I am) on the bus, I listened to a very interesting conversation between two women, both of whom raised chickens---both for the meat and for the eggs. They talked about how much better tasting fresh eggs are, and also mentioned that they often sell the eggs they won't use themselves, thereby passing their bounty on to others in their neighborhoods.
Contrary to what you might think, an urban homesteader isn't someone who wants to 'live off the grid', sew all of her garments, or grow cotton to be made into fabric. These aren't tie-dyed hippies with unwashed hair (not that there's anything wrong with that. . .). Instead, urban homesteaders are like the two women I saw on the bus: they looked like they were heading off to respectable jobs downtown, they were well-dressed and well-spoken, and obviously knowledgeable about raising chickens.
In reading further about this growing phenomenon, I came across another website devoted to the topic, called Reality Sandwich, which says:
I would amend that last statement to: "we live better, we eat better, we're saving the planet, and we're saving money". This summer, in an effort to minimize my trips to the supermarket, I'm increasing my 'crop' of vegetables in my little garden. Last year, I feasted on the most amazing tomatoes, and by July I hope to be eating lettuce, zucchini, more tomatoes, and beans! According to this news story, I'm not alone in this; more and more Americans are growing their own food in urban settings.
By the way, if you think you can't grow amazing vegetables on a small lot, see this video, about a seriously green family who grew 6,000 pounds of food on a 1/5 acre lot! To read more about the Dervaes family, check out their blog, here.
I remain fascinated by this topic, for many reasons. It speaks to my growing commitment to frugality and simple living, while being inherently good for the environment. I'll be reading more about this as time permits, and will share any interesting ideas or tips that I discover! If you have any comments about urban homesteading, I'd love to hear them!
"We are not alone, and we didn't invent this idea. Urban homesteading is a movement, a quiet movement of sensible people making the smart choice of disconnecting ourselves in healthy ways from an increasingly untenable reality and creating our own culture from the ground up. We live better, we eat better, we're saving the planet. What's not to love?"