If the past few years have taught us anything is that the world can take big turns in the blink of an eye, being prepared for the unthinkable is a requirement not just a luxury, and the supply chain is so unreliable that we much find ways to reduce how much we rely on it. This has pushed even those in the cities to look at homesteading and urban homesteading is taking off.
If you are a beginner and looking at what you have in front of you wondering how you can start homesteading without land you will love this guide and much of my content over the next few months while I give you comprehensive guides on getting started with urban homesteading for a thriving garden, city-friendly livestock, and home preservation to allow you to stockpile food at a fraction of the cost, earn some extra money, and turn your home into a mini homestead.
What is urban homesteading?
Urban homesteading is a lifestyle choice that involves transforming a city or suburban home into a self-sufficient property. This concept is based on the principles of traditional homesteading, but it’s adapted to an urban environment.
Urban homesteaders aim to live sustainably within the confines of the city, reducing their reliance on commercial goods and services. They often grow their own food in backyard gardens or even indoor container gardens, raise small livestock like chickens or bees, compost their waste, and may even generate their own power with solar panels or wind turbines.
The goal of urban homesteading is not only to live more sustainably but also to reconnect with nature and the process of producing food. It’s about taking control of one’s footprint on the environment and making more conscious, sustainable choices.
The extent of urban homesteading can vary widely. Some people might have a few potted herbs on a balcony, while others might transform their entire property into a mini-farm. It’s all about doing what you can within your means and the limits of your living situation.
Why you should Dive into Urban Homesteading
Urban homesteading is a fantastic way to embrace a more sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle, even in the heart of a bustling city. Here are some reasons why you might want to dive into urban homesteading:
Sustainability: Urban homesteading promotes a sustainable lifestyle. By growing your own food, composting waste, and using renewable energy sources, you can reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier planet.
Healthier Food: When you grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs, you know exactly where your food comes from and how it’s grown. You can avoid pesticides and genetically modified organisms, leading to healthier and fresher food on your table.
Cost Savings: While there’s an initial investment in setting up your urban homestead, over time, growing your own food, raising chickens for eggs, or using solar power can save you money on grocery bills and utilities.
Resilience: Urban homesteading skills can make you more resilient and less dependent on commercial goods and services. You’ll be able to provide for yourself and your family in case of disruptions like food shortages or power outages.
Connection with Nature: Urban homesteading allows you to connect with nature, even in a city environment. Gardening, beekeeping, and other homesteading activities can provide a sense of peace and fulfillment.
Community Building: Sharing your harvest with neighbors, participating in farmer’s markets, or teaching others about urban homesteading can help build a sense of community. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and contribute to your local community.
Educational: It’s a fantastic way to teach children about where food comes from, the importance of sustainability, and the value of hard work. As a homesteading family, we have found so many amazing learning opportunities.
Remember, urban homesteading doesn’t have to mean doing everything at once. You can start small, perhaps by growing a few vegetables or herbs in containers, and gradually expand your activities as you gain confidence and experience. Every little step towards self-sufficiency makes a difference!
Baby steps for homesteading beginners
Starting a homesteading lifestyle can seem overwhelming at first, but taking baby steps can make the process more manageable and enjoyable. Here are some beginner-friendly steps to get you started:
Start a Vegetable Garden: This is often the first step for many homesteaders. Start small with easy-to-grow vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, or cucumbers. If space is limited, consider container gardening or vertical gardening.
Herb Gardening: Herbs are generally easy to grow and can be grown indoors on a sunny windowsill for a simple kitchen garden. They’re a great addition to your cooking and some can be used for natural remedies.
Composting: Composting kitchen and garden waste is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden.
Cook From Scratch: Start with a few simple recipes and gradually expand your repertoire. This can help reduce reliance on processed foods and can be healthier and more cost-effective.
Rainwater Harvesting: Collecting and using rainwater can help reduce your water bill and is great for watering plants.
Raising Chickens: If local regulations allow, consider getting a few chickens. They’re relatively easy to care for, provide fresh eggs, and can help with summer pest control.
DIY Skills: Learn basic DIY skills like sewing, basic carpentry, or soap making. These skills can save money and increase self-sufficiency.
Energy Efficiency: Look for ways to reduce energy use in your home, such as using energy-efficient appliances, insulating your home, or using a clothesline instead of a dryer. This will help you save money on your power bill.
Remember, homesteading is a journey, not a destination. Don’t feel like you need to do everything at once. Start with one or two things that interest you the most, and as you gain confidence and skills, you can gradually incorporate more homesteading practices into your lifestyle.
Simple Things you can do to get started urban homesteading.
Urban homesteading is all about making the most of the space you have and becoming more self-sufficient. Here are some simple steps to get you started:
Container Gardening: If you don’t have a lot of space, container gardening is a great way to start growing your own food. You can grow a variety of vegetables, herbs, and even small fruit trees in pots.
Vertical Gardening: Make the most of your small garden space by growing plants vertically. This can be done using trellises, wall-mounted planters, or even pallet gardens.
Squarefoot gardening: If you have more space to work with you can use square-foot gardening to help make the most of your garden space.
Rooftop gardening: If you have the space available you can grow a lot of food in raised beds and potted gardens.
Composting: Even in a small space, you can compost your kitchen scraps. There are many compact compost bins designed for indoor use. Composting reduces waste and provides nutrient-rich soil for your plants.
Rainwater Harvesting: Collecting rainwater is a great way to conserve water. You can use it to water your plants. There are many stylish and compact rain barrels available that are suitable for small spaces and you can easily make your own DIY rain barrel using a garbage can.
Indoor Herb Garden: Growing herbs on a sunny windowsill is a great way to have fresh herbs on hand for cooking.
Beekeeping: Believe it or not, urban beekeeping is a thing and it’s a great way to help support the local ecosystem. Be sure to check local regulations first and ensure that no one in your home has a bee allergy.
Preserving Food: Learn how to preserve food by canning, freezing, and dehydrating. This is a great way to make the most of your harvest and reduce waste.
DIY Products: Try making your own household products like soap, cleaning products, or cosmetics. This can save money and reduce waste.
Energy Efficiency: Look for ways to make your home more energy-efficient. This could be as simple as using energy-saving light bulbs, insulating your home, or using a clothesline instead of a dryer.
Community Gardening: If you really don’t have any space, consider joining a community garden. This is a great way to grow your own food and connect with your community.
Foraging: Learn to use sites like Falling Fruit and phone apps like Plantnet to help you forage for wild edibles even inside the city. Before we grew our own mulberry bushes we would forage for mulberries in the alley near our home.