Friday, November 9, 2012

Inspiration Friday: 5 Achievable Goals for Every Urban Homestead

Homestead Revival: 5 Achievable Goals for Every Urban Homestead
Many believe that to homestead it's necessary to move out to the countryside and live on a few acres. If it were only possible for everyone, I think it might be heaven on earth! My heart goes out to all the urbanites who crave for some space to fulfill their homesteading desires. Sometimes we just need to "bloom where we are planted".

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.

Design Sponge
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
• sewing
• 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. 


  1. I am so enjoying your blog posts. I have three community garden plots but desire more space for gardening in my own yard. These ideas, especially the clothesline are wonderful. I've wanted a clothesline for awhile now. My mom had a beautiful growing up. I remember her getting upset when we would play in the clean sheets. Smiles.

  2. Great post and so true ! I moved back to the country as I was raised in the country and missed it soo much it's in the blood for me , I like the piece and quiet and all the nature , the dark sky's with billions of stars that you can see, the space and long walks through the woods and gardening ! I have seen some city folk do just this with gardens and are homesteaders in the city . I think it is a great idea no matter where you live ! Have a good day !

  3. As always this is such an inspiring post. You are so right and we can all do a few of the things you mentioned..I wish I could do them all.. smile..
    Have a great weekend...

  4. Thanks for your encouraging words and ideas. We've lived on a very small property close to Lake Erie and are surrounded by houses on 3 sides. That hasn't stopped my growing lots of herbs, flowers and vegetables! We grow enough vegetables for fresh eating, canning, freezing and dehydrating. We also have a plot in a community garden. Hoping to put in some more raised beds at home so we can move away from the community garden. We always wanted more property, but now I don't mind our space at all now. I love the location and enjoy people around us. It's the best of both worlds for us. Thanks again for the inspiring words! Blessings, Nancy at livininthegreen

  5. Oh, following your Pinterest board on balcony gardens too!

  6. Amazing ideas. Living in the city is toxic. That's why it's a great idea to grow fresh veggies in your garden.

  7. I live in a very poor trailer park, but my postage stamp lot with growing spaces on the north and south side in what I call "ghetto buckets" and I grow enough for myself to can, dehydrate and have plenty extra to give to the homeless shelter and the Salvation Army pantry.
    It can be done, it just takes a little planning, and making use of plants that are made to live in small spaces, and utilizing growing spaces other than the ground and making use of vertical space up.
    My next year's garden will include mushrooms, and fingerlig potatoes in my ghetto buckets.
    Where I live is the typical image of poor and unsavory, but since I cannot change where I live for now, I have to make do how I live.
    Maybe someday I can live where I could have a little more space, which I would be in heaven.
    Wonderful post today.

  8. I live in a condo (with three kids!) in the city. When God started nudging me toward this lifestyle I knew nothing about gardening (I never had land growing up either). I am a bit of a nerd :) so I took out literally 50 books from the library and went nuts. I reused coffee cans and office waste cans as planters and then something cool started to happen, people started giving me thier cast offs :) God was providing everything I needed. I grew over $200 of organic, non-GMO, heritage, veg that year on my balcony about the size of the one in the picture on your post. And I knew nothing! Lots of things didn't go well but I still ended up with the equivalent of a grocery trips worth of produce over the year. It IS worth learning while you are living in the city!

  9. I never thought to build a clothesline indoors...however with our very long (and cold!) Maine winters, it seems like a great idea! Now if I can figure out where to put it...

  10. This is an awesome post! I have a few friends with small spaces that I will recommend it to. Thanks!


  11. Plastic wormbins are easy to make out of rubbermaid totes, free directions online...

  12. I love your ideas and enthusiasm. Here is a link for an indoor (!) easy, home made worm bag out of polarfleece:

    Instructables is a most fanstastic website if you want to learn how to do thing yourself - anything! It is amazing what is on that site - I frequently loose a few hours of time looking at all the amazing things you can make...
    Cheers, Yasmin

  13. Love the balcony garden. I want to do something like this along the side of my business. Edible landscaping!

  14. I love these tips. I live in the city, but try to live as naturally as possible. If only I could have chickens!

  15. what are those little clear boxes on the ground, between each planter in you Balcony Garden photo?

    1. Mona, It's not my photo or my balcony, but I believe those are solar lights.

  16. An easy, fast, inexpensive, delicious homesteading skill is making your own yogurt or greek yogurt. You don't need any fancy equipment, and success is almost guaranteed.

  17. Hi, I really enjoyed these tips. I live in the city, but try to live as naturally as possible.
    Rooftop Gardens New York City


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