Besides bringing some immediate joy, focusing on what you CAN do will put you ahead of the game if you ever realize your dream to make that "move to the country". I was just listening to a video clip of Eliot Coleman who mentioned that at one time, 1/16th of the land inside Paris was covered with urban gardens. Wow. Imagine how that would transform a vast area of cement and buildings! If that's possible in a grand city like Paris, it's possible in your corner of the world.
If every single home practiced just a few things in order to grow SOME of their own food, it would revolutionize lives. There's lots one can do in a community, but what can you do in your own apartment?
1. Grow balcony gardens. There are so many ways this could be done, but unfortunately, few utilize the space that they DO have! To help you out, I've created a pin board with just photos and links for Balcony Gardens. Before you begin, just check your HOA and city's ordinances to verify what you can and can't do in your small space.
|Inside Urban Green|
2. Keep a worm hive. Compost kitchen scraps and make nutrient rich soil for potting plants and window boxes to grow more food. This can be placed in a corner of a balcony, on a porch, or even in a laundry room. If you manage it really well, you could even put one in a closet. I find mine stays odor free unless I don't lift the lid. (These can be purchased as well since most apartment dwellers don't have access to wood working tools.)
|MiaU and One20Farm|
3. Put up your own food. By utilizing farmer's markets, urban homesteaders can build up their own larder. All you need is some canning and dehydrating equipment as well as some storage space, which can be found just about anywhere. Even a temporary wall unit will work and create that pantry feeling on one wall of your dining space.
4. Install an indoor clothesline. There are several ways to do this, but an indoor clothesline is green, keeps you from being in the laundry mat as long, prolongs the life of your clothes, and allows you to be less "dependent" on electricity. And it gives you that "line dried" feeling to your clothes. Not much space? It can even be hidden in a cabinet!
|Just About Home|
5. Add a skill. Many homesteading skills are things done right inside the home. Utilize your library or the internet and pick one thing to master this coming year. Here's some ideas to get you started...
• making soap
• candle making
• spinning and knitting
• learning herbal remedies
• growing mushrooms (another balcony idea!)
• culturing dairy products (including cheese!)
Just because you're living in the city, doesn't mean you can't live a homesteading lifestyle. Yes, you may be limited, but the time invested in these 5 areas certainly aren't wasted. Your family will experience the benefits immediately and you'll be that much more connected to the land.