Thursday, February 10, 2011

Urban Homesteading

Do we know how to do anything our grandparent's knew how to do? Practical things like sewing, baking, building things, keeping a garden, fixing our own cars? These things seem silly today to most because they are considered domestic. But there is a lot to be said about the home economy - for doing things ourselves. I went to daily mass this morning and the priest even talked about it. He told us of a study that was done about housewives where if you have one person staying at home doing stuff around the house that we currently pay other people to do or skip all together for convenience sake, we can save a household up to $800 a week! This includes savings in costs associated with child care, home maintenance, clothing, cooking, entertaining, laundry, lawn care, cleaning, repairing things, you name it! Now, I'm not saying everyone should become housewives, not that there is anything wrong with that, but I'm trying to make the point on how much domestic knowledge we've lost over the years because we are too busy or unwilling to do these things.

I follow a lot of blogs and I keep reading all about urban homesteading. Urban homesteading is like living in the country but in the city. Its focus is to be more self reliant for the things we need and to depend less on traditional ways of getting things and services (aka the store or hiring someone else to do it). It's a way to build up these lost domestic skills to help us save money as well as be prepared for disturbances that might come up in life (aka power outages due to storms, weeks without power, financially hard times, etc). People who urban homestead think a lot about healthy food so they grow it themselves even to the point of digging up their front lawn to put in a garden or filling up their apartment patio with vegetable planters and herbs. People who urban homestead are mindful of their energy use so they'll hang their clothes to dry instead of tossing them in a dryer. They drive less. People who urban homestead raise chickens and rabbits, grow fruit and nut trees, and may even put in beehives for honey. They'll take their fruit and make country wines, take their cabbage and make sauerkraut, and go urban foraging for wild food that is already growing in the city. They will also compost their food scraps to use in the garden throughout the year. Instead of buying new clothes all the time, they'll find terrific deals at thrift stores. Instead of buying beauty and cleaning supplies, they'll make thier own homemade recipes that work just as well.

Yes these things take time. But they are enjoyable. It not only saves money but it reclaims some home time that many of us lack because we are too busy running around. Much of what we run around for to begin with is all stuff we have to work even harder to pay for in the end by working extra hours or on weekends. Much of what we depend on in our daily lives is a direct feed from large companies that all too often dictate more about America than individual citizens, mainly because of the consumer decisions we tend to make. I am interested in urban homesteading because I believe it gives me a political voice. I am choosing to live more simply, I am building my resilience to the ever changing economic currents, and am able to rely less on external sources for what I need and more on local producers, my community, and my own skills.

If you are interested in learning more about urban homesteading let me know! If you want to learn more you might want to tune in to a podcast this Friday night on the Prepper Podcast. The host will talk about how she began her homesteading journey as well as homesteading lessons her and her guest have learned along the way. Tune in if you can!


  1. I think this is a really good idea. I like the idea of not buying into some of those products that you think you need. Especially the cleaning supplies. I'm gonna check out this podcast. Thanks for the tip!

  2. The podcast is called a New Life on the Homestead. There are several others but that is the one I listened to.