Sustainable living has become a popular option for those seeking a more self-sufficient lifestyle. Also known as urban homesteading, this movement has become a way of life for those who have suffered economic trouble through loss of a job, illness or the accumulation of too much debt. Others choose this lifestyle to reduce their carbon footprint and cut their dependence on mass production.
Urban homesteading covers a large range of sustainable living options. The most common forms of urban living methods are food growth and preservation, animal husbandry and waste reduction and recycling or re-purposing materials. Most people start out with one or two options, and build up over time from there.
Food Growth and Storage
Growing your own food is the most common starting place for people wanting to immerse themselves into the urban homesteading movement. Sometimes it’s not about being completely self-sufficient, but simply increasing that ability in an easy, doable way. Gardens have always been a part of our culture in both recreational and sustainable living. Because gardening is so popular, gaining information and help through friends, family and public resources is easy. It is also one of the easiest methods for those living in apartments and homes with small yards to achieve a measure of independence.
Food storage through canning, freezing, and dehydrating are also important aspects of homesteading. Learning how to store the excess food from your garden helps maintain a self-sufficient lifestyle during seasons when you can’t grow food due to weather.
Chickens are the most popular animal to start with when beginning your homestead. There are specific regulations in place regarding farm animals in an urban setting. You will want to check with your local city hall to find out the laws before you make plans to buy chickens. If there is an ordinance against these animals, another option is to rent space from someone in rural area close to you so that you still benefit in the way of fresh eggs and meat. It might even be possible to barter with the land-owner with the offer to give him some of your supply in lieu of cash. Other popular animals on the urban homestead are sheep, goats and rabbits.
When you raise your own animals, the meat, milk and eggs not only save you money, but it allows you get away from mass marketed, genetically modified and nutritionally deficient foods. Depending on how much you raise, you can also sell or trade some of what you produce. This is a good way to earn money, or help others while also providing for yourself.
Other Homesteading Options
Homesteading isn’t just about food. Most people see it as a way to live better, more green lifestyles. They often recycle, or re-purpose materials instead of dumping them into already full community trash dumps. Items that aren’t used for another job on the homestead are often donated, sold or bartered.
Those who have the time, skill and necessary room on their homestead use renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. Solar power is the easiest option because the panels can be fitted on the roof of the home. While it isn’t likely that this option will allow for complete self-sustainability, it will reduce costs associated with energy needed to support the homestead itself.
No matter how much you can do, if you’re interested in urban homesteading, there are a variety of options. It doesn’t take much room to grow some of your food. Many people have been successful growing food in windows or on their apartment balcony. The main thing is to decide what you want to do, research the options, and then take the first step. You can always do more in the future if that’s what you decide is best for your personal situation.