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The homesteading movement is taking root across America. For some it has meant selling their suburban home and moving to the outskirts of town, while for others it means looking for ways to bring the “farm life” to wherever they are because their circumstances make living anywhere but the city impractical.
Fortunately, living in the city does not mean that one must give up the dream of homesteading. It just means you look for ways to homestead in the space you have. By implementing the following habits, you can begin homesteading –even If you live in town.
Small Scale Farming
Take advantage of your porch, balcony or even window sills, if nothing else is available. Gather containers and start planting your favorite veggies, herbs and even berries. There are many great ways you can utilize the space you are in. For instance, you might take an over the door shoe rack, hang it on a porch wall, fill each pocket with soil then plant herbs or small veggies such garlic, onions or even potatoes. You can also use fun pots and buckets to plant other veggies in or get some window sill planters. Any of these are a great place to begin when you want to grow your own food.
Learn how to can your own foods. From tomatoes to green beans and peaches to apples, knowing how to preserve the fruits, veggies and herbs you have grown is extremely satisfying. Other food preservation methods to learn would be the proper way to freeze produce, drying produce, herbs and meats, and salt curing meats.
Meet Your Local Farmers
No matter where you live, it is likely that there is a local farmer’s market. They will be able to provide you with items you may not have room to grown, as well as have foods such as eggs, dairy items, local honey, and fresh meats. Better yet, they are a great source for learning more about homesteading and the assorted practices.
Learn to Cook/Bake
The more food items you can make from scratch the better prepared you will be for homesteading. Start now learning how to make your own bread, start doing more cooking meals at home and less dining out, think through your week and plan meals that can be used multiple ways so that. For example – the carrots you use on Monday can be repurposed for a meal on Wednesday. Purchase heavy cream and learn how to turn it into butter -this totally doable and will wonder why you ever thought it necessary to buy butter.
Make Your Soap and Cleaning Supplies
Making your own soap is fun and surprisingly simple. With just a few basic items, you can make a variety of types of soap and for much less than store bought, too. Better yet, it will clean better and help your skin be healthier. Other homemade products that homesteaders frequently make are window cleaners, polishes, stain removers, laundry soap, and all –purpose orange cleaner.
Reduce Your Waste
Start giving more thought to consumable items and the trash left behind. Think about how you can get multiple uses from a single product purchases. For instance, living in the city may make it difficult to raise chickens for eggs. However, should you buy eggs at the store, opt for those in the paper-like cartons, then when the eggs are gone, the cartons can be turned into plant starters or used to grow bean, broccoli or other sprouts that are great in salad. Other options include using coffee grounds or egg shells as fertilizer, using sour milk in baking and finding ways to repurpose packaging.
Learn how to Sew
Learning the basic skills needed to sew on a button, hem a pair of pants, or perhaps crocheting or knitting will be helpful as not only can it help your clothing last longer, but with practice, you can possibly make your own clothing or household items like blankets, quilts, drapery and others.
Forgo the Dryer
If possible, hang up a clothesline and start letting your wash dry in the fresh air. If a clothesline is not possible, get a foldable drying rack and air dry items inside.
Become the Ultimate DIY-er
From plumbing to carpentry, and masonry to welding, the more skills you can do without calling in a professional the better. Not only will you save money but you will have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself.
Homesteading can be done in any place. You just have to be intentional in your approach to living. By growing and preserving your own produce and supplementing your garden as needed, you can begin a homesteader’s lifestyle, even if the only land you have is what is found in the container garden on your back balcony!
Josh and Liz live in Atlanta with their dogs and are slowing starting to grow their business, Wild Cow, in order to be able to head to greener pastures.