The idea of a little farm in a big city sounds daunting to some, impossible to others, but to bloggers who are reclaiming their bit of city green space and saying no to Big Farm, self-reliance is not only possible, but the preferred way to live a rich and rewarding life. A small movement of people are eschewing the outsourcing of their everyday needs and are choosing, instead, to produce as much of what they need at home, transforming tiny plots of land into thriving gardens, raising chickens and goats for eggs and milk, canning, preserving, cheesemaking, soapmaking, and any other project on which Mother Earth News has advice. And, in true 21st century form, they’re blogging about it.
Why urban homesteading? To be honest, it’s nothing really new. Asians and Cubans have been growing food in big cities for decades. Community gardens have thrived in many urban areas. But as awareness of environmental issues grows, and as the origins of food become harder and harder to trace the further we get from farm to table, many city-dwellers have chosen to take matters into their own hands, producing for pennies what they had to rely on others to procure. Documentation on the internet makes sharing information readily available. It’s also a feasible alternative to moving completely off the grid. For those who enjoy the benefits of urban life, such as culture, nightlife, and public transportation, it’s a way to stay grounded in the city.
You may have heard of Pasadena, California’s Dervaes family. They’ve transformed 1/5 of a residential acre into a blueprint for urban homesteading. They grow 350 types of plants which yield 6,000 pounds of food per year–from a 1/10th of an acre garden, which supports not only their family, but provides income for the four adult family members living at home through their Dervaes Gardens food supply business. In addition to their produce, they have chickens, ducks, and goats which supply milk and eggs, and have incorporated several sources of energy, including brewing their own biodiesel, to futher increase their self-reliance. Their online journal can be found here.