What is Urban Homesteading?

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In this modern age of supermarkets that sell everything you could ever need, what on earth is Urban Homesteading anyway, and why would you live like that?

Raised planters on an urban homestead containing pepper plants, and a watering can next to them

What does it mean?

Urban homesteading in essence is a simpler (but not easier) way of living more self sufficiently, by growing some of your own food, cooking from scratch with real ingredients, and thinking and preparing for the next and future seasons, such as preserving food for the winter months. My husband says it’s ‘grow your own, cook your own, eat your own’

Why would I go to all that trouble?

The events of the past 3 years have seriously shaken the trust of a lot of people in the systems that we’ve lived by for a many years.

The things we took for granted fell apart, and we were left with bare shelves, fights over necessities and a general mistrust of others.

We grow our own food and have been for a while, so when the shelves were bare, the pandemic hit, followed unusually hot weather, we were prepared. We had been storing food and toilet paper in our pantry already. So when there was a run on toilet roll, (I cannot believe we live through a run on toilet roll, pardon the pun) we had some in the pantry.

When there was a flour shortage, we buy in bulk online and store it in the pantry in large buckets, so we didn’t run out.

Urban Homesteading doesn’t mean doing everything!

Now, I’m NOT saying that we don’t use the grocery store anymore. We do.

I’m not saying we don’t eat junk sometimes. We do.

I’m not saying we grow everything we eat, have everything we use in storage and are off grid with acres of land. (That’s the dream, but not the reality, YET)

Urban homesteading is a way of becoming a producer rather than just a consumer. In this modern day, we can buy everything we need. Food, treats, entertainment, flowers, gadgets, whatever you can think of, we trundle to the store and buy it in.

We’re finding now though that that comes at a cost.

Convenience comes at a cost. We only want the best quality straight carrots, shiny apples and largest potatoes. Most of us don’t realise that they are not the norm. Some supermarkets have jumped on this and produce the Wonky Veg ranges, which is great. However, if you’ve ever pulled a carrot from the soil, you will see that they come in all shapes, sizes, colours, and varieties. We are missing out on the joy of a knurled purple carrot! 🙂

Purple carrots covered in mud

But why work so hard when we can just buy it?

We all work hard. We work hard day after day for other people. Each of us give our time, efforts and talents to a boss, a company, an idea, all for a day’s pay. The majority of people can be replaced in 2 weeks.

Choosing to put time and effort into the one place you cannot be replaced, your home, your family, is the most rewarding work there is.

I heard a comparison recently. Working hard for something you don’t care about it called stress. Working hard for something you do care about is called passion.

We’ve lost our Passion.

There is joy and passion found in self reliance.

Victory Gardens

During WW2, ordinary folk were encouraged by the government, (of all people,) to turn their gardens into veg plots. This was not only to help provide food for the families, easing the food rations situation, but also it was thought that growing food would help moral. Helping towards the war effort, AND having the produce at the end was thought to make people feel like they were contributing.

Bonus fact: did you know that the first supermarket didn’t arrive in the UK until 1948! before that, your veggies were in the garden or the town green grocers. Now most of our fresh food is out of season and travels half way across the world to make it to our shelves. This is not good for us OR the environment!

I can hear the cries now. ‘But we’re more advanced now, Kimberley, we don’t all have time to do that.’

Advanced… Let’s just think about that for a second.. We work 40 hrs a week, put our children into daycare and school so we can earn more money to spend more on cars, tvs, holidays, trips, clothes, subscriptions, gadgets, clubs, gyms, restaurants, take aways and are we any happier?

We have any and all information at our fingertips at all hours, and we are more depressed, more anxious and more confused than at almost any other point in our history. I don’t know that I would call THAT advanced.

So is Homesteading the answer?

How can growing some lettuce and tomatoes in my back yard make everything better?

I’m not saying it can, in and of itself.

But when you put a seed into the ground, care for it, and wait for it to grow, something happens.

It forces us to slow down.. It forces us to watch. To anticipate something good. In this world of instant gratification, where we don’t wait more than 3 seconds for a text reply, it forces us to WAIT.

When we watch something grow, we see how what we do matters. We can affect change. we can feed and water the seed and it grows. If we don’t, it won’t. We don’t wait for things to happen to us, we take action.

a purple pack choi seedling surrounded by mulch

What if…?

In a world where things happen to us and we have little control, the most rebellious thing we can do is grow a garden. Or learn to cook. Or make a natural cleaner. Or store rainwater. Or homeschool our children.

Taking responsibility for our life and what happens to us is not something that we are taught now, but what if we did?

What if we stopped looking to others and took a step towards educating ourselves. Not in the useless debt ridden degree kind of way. (of which I have one of those, too)but in the ‘skills I can actually use to survive’ kind of way.

What if we mended clothes instead of throwing them away when they have a hole in them. (There are tutorials for everything on the internet, so it’s not the lack of skill that is the problem.)

What if we grew salad for us and our neighbours, instead of buying enough for ourselves and throwing it out when it spoils?

What if we made our own natural cleaners that help our health AND the environment?

What if we baked bread and made cheese and yoghurt in our beautifully decorated Pintrest worthy kitchens?

What if we started fermenting the veggies we grow to reduce waste and increase our gut health and energy levels?

What if we knew what was in our food so we could see what was making us sick?

What if…

So what is Urban Homesteading…

I’m not saying a small city home with a small back yard producing some of their own food and making their own life can change the world… but what if?

It’s not just me. There are many more people who want to live a more sustainable lifestyle even in towns and cities. Check out this guide from Samantha Greene over at Homesteading tips 101 for a step by step guide to Urban Homesteading: Embracing Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency In The City

5 thoughts on “What is Urban Homesteading?”

  1. Lots of great points! I would like to add to the “why do all this if you can just buy it?” Really, you can’t. I grow tons of veggies on my homestead that are varieties you can’t find in the store. I select them mostly for their flavor. The varieties in the store are chosen only for their shelf life and transportability, not because they’re the best tasting.

    • Absolutely right!! There is NO comparison between store bought and home grown in the taste department. We did that with strawberries this year, direct comparison and the sweetness from the strawberries we grew was second to none! Store bought: bland!


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