Introduction to Urban Homesteading:
Homesteading is the practice of transforming a suburban or city property, into a site that is capable of producing some or all of the food needs for its residents, while reducing its environmental impact through self-sufficiency. Examples could be as simple as a vegetable garden, or as involved as a complete farmers market grown, cultivated, and sold in heart of a populated area. Not every person is going to be willing to give up their comforts for a simpler life, but we can all have a part. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Growing Food: This is usually the first logical step in any urban homesteading project. You have to be able to eat to survive, and food can be expensive these days. Think about how much money you could save each month if you grew even a portion of your food yourself. Try to come up with a plan that will allow you to grow at least half of your daily diet on your own property.
For some of us who have lived on fast food for so long, that figure may seem like a daunting task. It may require a complete change in your lifestyle and eating habits, but homesteading is not simply a hobby, it’s a way of life.
Limiting Your Waste in Urban Homesteading:
Limit Your Waste: Reducing your carbon footprint is a major factor in homesteading. It isn’t enough to grow a few vegetables and think you’ve saved the planet. You have to consider how much waste you’re putting back in as well. Recycling has a tremendous impact on the environment, but it doesn’t end with just throwing your paper and plastics into the bins for someone else to worry about. Find ways to make use of everyday items before tossing them into the trash. You can even start a compost pile for organic waste.
Conserving Water through Urban Homesteading:
Water Conservation: Water conservation is another important step in homesteading. Collecting rain water is a simple way of water conservation. Humans have been collecting and storing rain water for a variety of uses for thousands of years. With the advent of fire, and then electricity, some ingenious folks have even developed low tech systems for heating barrels of rain water for showers. Even if you’re just collecting rain water for watering the garden or general uses around your home, every little bit counts.
There are even systems you can put to use for reclaiming grey water. Grey water is waste water that comes from normal day to day activities such as bathing, washing dishing, and laundry, but contains no fecal matter. Grey water accounts for up to 80% of the average household waste water. Recycling this valuable commodity could be an important part of your homesteading project.
Urban Homesteading Alternative Energy:
Alternative Energy: Using alternative sources of energy can have a dramatic impact in your urban homesteading plan. Solar and wind power are much more popular and cost efficient than they were just ten years ago, and that trend is only improving. Harnessing the energy mother nature gives us naturally is not only green, but in some markets can actually earn you money if you generate more power than you use.
You can also consider changing the way you travel around town. Chances are in an urban environment, most of the places you travel to on a daily basis are reasonably close. Rather than using your car or truck, consider biking or walking to and from these destinations. Taking advantage of public transportation is another great option to reduce your impact on the environment.
Urban Homesteading Self-Employment:
Work for Yourself!: If you are going to strive to be truly self-sufficient in your urban homesteading project, why not try to build an income around your home. Teach yourself to do your own maintenance rather than pay someone else to do it. There was a time when people had to take care of themselves, they didn’t have a choice. Technology and society may have made our lives easier, but they haven’t taken away our ability to survive on our own if we have to.
Start off with the small stuff, fix a leaking pipe, and repair that broken window or rotting doorframe. You might just amaze yourself at how quickly you learn these skills. You can also learn basic homemaking skills. You’ll soon be growing your own food, if you aren’t already, learn how to preserve it for long term storage so you can rely on your own food stores over the winter months.
Homesteading is not a thought process; it’s a way of life. It’s based on a sense of community, and living off the land a lot of hard work. It may not be for everybody, but if you are truly committed to the project, you will find countless ways to provide for yourself and your family. There is a whole wealth of knowledge available to you out there, don’t be afraid to search it out! Nothing beats the satisfaction of self-sufficiency!
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