What Is Urban Homesteading?
What is an urban homesteader?
Hippie? Nope. A fancy name for “pretending to be a farmer in the city?” You’re getting warmer.
I’ll bite, what’s the homesteading part about?
“Urban” homesteading reaches that demographic of people who yearn to be more independent than urban life would seem to allow. It’s for those who find the idea of a simpler, slower pace with less “stuff” and more sweat equity earnings appealing.
It’s freeing to know that you can whip up a loaf of bread and save yourself a trip to the store. Walking out to your backyard or balcony and picking fresh produce just a few steps from your back door without having to spend costly fuel to purchase a $4 head of lettuce opens up a whole new sense of control over your financial well-being.
Learning new skills on your way to becoming a Jack-of-all-trades, following in the frugal self-sufficient footsteps of the original homesteading men and women fulfills the soul somehow. It reinforces our inherent worth to know that we are capable of doing the hands on work to take care of our loved ones and instills satisfaction and confidence in our ability to be useful and productive on a foundational level. At least for me it does.
Knowing how to cook on a wood stove and manage a wood fuel resource, if a winter storm knocks out the utilities, so that we can stay cozy and well fed while the weather rages on outside our four walls produces a well of calm strength within, knowing we can conquer most any situation.
Acreage or a few square feet?
Most of those I’ve spoken to with this inclination, dream of someday owning a large piece of land complete with sweeping fields of grazing animals, wide open skies and grinning faces. Is this best option for all of us?
What about those who would like to have one parent homemaking and the other already has a good job where a significant commute every day is just not reasonable. Then there are those whose children are older and fully integrated into a school, community and extracurricular activities. How about those who choose a smaller dwelling because of skyrocketing housing costs?
Sweat Equity earnings
Sweat equity can be accomplished in some fashion in any setting you choose. I would argue that there are many benefits to homesteading where you’re at. Fire coverage for example is a fantastic benefit, also, ambulance services. How wonderful to know emergency services are just a phone call away when you realize too late you should have used that feed stick while using your table saw.
Amazon and Walmart will ship right to your door. I have saved a lot of money having items from my “Everything Pantry” grocery order delivered right to my house free of charge. I order my groceries while sipping coffee at my dining table between doing chores and don’t have to spend extra time driving across the city, let alone fuel in my vehicle.
This method also helps keep the budget on track because you’re not funneled down isles of items you don’t need. Our Walmart strategically bakes delicious smelling goodies on site and you can practically see the people floating to the bakery led by cookie fumes like Toucan Sam in the Fruit Loops commercials of the 90’s.
How about running water? How about filtered running water, on tap, that doesn’t need expensive water softening units that always make you feel soapy and heavy metal filters to be safe? I remember many a trip in my childhood to the nearby Provincial Park to fill up water jugs with the hand pump because the geriatric well pump on our property decided to give my dad grief yet again.
Keeping it interesting
If your kids are anything like mine, who constantly complain of boredom, urban settings usually have an abundance of free entertainment opportunities for families within a short distance to keep the day-to-day exciting for the kiddos while not devouring too much of your fuel budget. Many larger centers have liquidation stores that sell food and household items from insurance claim and fire sales etc. at deep discounts which really support a frugal budget.
The short and sweet of it
Urban homesteading comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s all about saving money by doing what you can to fend for yourself where you’re at. Maybe you can turn your lawn into a garden that will provide you with all your produce each year. Or, maybe you have an extra closet in your condo that you can convert into a light garden with micro greens and container carrots. Perhaps your city ordinance allows for hens and meat rabbits. Maybe you learn to subsistence hunt and find a corner in your townhouse to fit a small chest freezer and store canned meat in bins under the bed in the spare room.
Manage your mindset to turn your square footage into your own slice of “urban” homesteading paradise and take more control over where your hard earned cash goes.
Until next time,