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Monday, May 19, 2008

The Urban Homesteading movement. . . . .

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'.

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:

"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?"

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!

7 comments:

Meg from The Bargain Queens & All About Appearances said...

Great post! My husband and I are trying to head in that direction. O.k., we already have a back yard garden, some fruit trees, and a chicken coop that's almost ready for the two chickens we're allowed to have here. We're really excited about living more frugally and being more self-sufficient. But looking at us, I don't think anyone would think we were urban homesteaders. (Perhaps that's part of the fun of it, though.)

Finally Frugal said...

I think that's what I love about it too, Meg! That anyone (you, me, the ladies on the bus) could be increasing their self-sufficiency without being considered 'weird' or on the fringes of society. . . .Maybe frugality and urban homesteading will become (or maybe already has become?) the mainstream!

Meg from The Bargain Queens & All About Appearances said...

It's definitely catching on around here. After a few years of living in our current house, we are just getting to know our neighbors. But wouldn't you know, they're doing the same thing! In fact, I got seedlings from two of our adjacent neighbors! There's at least three of us that have gardens and compost piles, and we're about to become the second out of the three to have chickens.

We do live in a rather hippie town, but I wonder how much this is happening elsewhere. At any rate, it's a good sign.

Keri said...

Your posts are so informative and the links lead to some awesome sites. I've been reading about urban homesteading for the past hour or more.
Your site has really inspired me to want to recycle and start planting foods and what not. My mom has already started a garden.

Finally Frugal said...

Hi Keri! I have to admit, I'm a little addicted to this particular topic. The idea of it is brand new to me, and you're right---there are so many great sites out there to explore! Great to hear from you!

marci357 said...

Actually, I don't know that Urban Homesteading is that new.... some of us still have our "FOXFIRE" book series from around 1970, and old copies of our "Mother Earth News" from then :, "Living on a Few Acres" by the USDA from 1978, Creasy's "Edible Landscaping" from 1982, and even "Five Acres and Independence" from 1935.... just a few of the dog-eared books in my collection :)
I am just happy to see that the 'next generation' has picked up the theme and is running with it also :)
From one of the 'older' crowd :)

marci357 said...

and let's not forget Victory Gardens either :)

"Everything old is new again" :)

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