Simple Tips To Start Your Own Urban Homestead

The Urban Homestead is a part of the growing movement of city-folk across North America who are seeking to reconnect with the land, live simply, and eat locally – right where they already live.

“Urban homesteading is all about re-learning basic skills that most of us have exchanged for ‘convenience,’ and feeling more connected to the items and processes that sustain us, bringing those things from faraway factories back into our own hands.”

Here are some simple ideas to get started, just doing one thing is a step forward to creating your own little piece of heaven.

~ Start gardening and/or plant fruit trees ~ you can do this even if you don’t have a yard, by using planters in windows, on a balcony or rooftop. You have a yard but think it’s too small…Think again, garden boxes, fences (vertical gardening), side yards and front yards are ideal.

~ Start Composting ~  Save your unused produce, egg shells, coffee grinds, leaves etc. as composting is turning waste into something valuable for gardening and is easier then you may think.

~ Reduce, reuse, recycle ~  We already know that recycling is a very important step to reduce household waste, but also think about buying items with less packaging, reuse plastic bags (better yet use canvas bags for shopping) etc.

~ Make, make do and become “reskilled” ~ Start restoring, repurposing, reclaiming, and, most importantly, refraining from being too caught up in consumerism.

~ Eliminate toxic chemicals in your home ~ Upgrade to nontoxic green household cleaning products or if the mood strikes make your own from vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice etc.

~ Reduce Electricity ~ Use energy efficient appliances and unplug when not in use, turn lights off when you leave the room and during the day let the sun shine in for both light and warmth, only use the dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load.

~ Use less water ~ Collect Rainwater ~ Install a rain barrel collection system, this will also help reduce a higher water bill from your gardening; turn the tap off while brushing your teeth, take shorter showers and only fill your bathtub halfway; hand wash dirty dishes with minimal water use.

~ Start preserving food ~ Kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha are examples of the many  foods you can ferment yourself using the lacto-fermentation method; these foods introduce beneficial bacteria into our digestive systems, and they’re very easy to make at home.

~ Make other homemade goodies ~ Bake your own bread, make your own soup broth, there are many ways to make such goods with minimal time and maximum flavour and nutrition.

~ Source what you can’t grow and buy local ~ Especially at a great farmer’s market – fruits and veggies, eggs, meat, locally roasted fair trade coffee, breads, dairy, clothing, honey, toys, furniture, and so much more.

~ Take part in the 100 mile diet ~ Make connections with local farmers, join a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture), go fishing/hunting (responsibly of course), go foraging for the wild edibles in your area (stinging nettle, wild mint, lambs quarters, chickweed, sow thistle, cattail).

~ Other Urban Homesteading ideas ~ leave your car behind and carpool, walk or ride a bike; hang dry your clothing; adopt a pet instead of buying (look at rescue shelters); have backyard chickens (if you can in your area as Winnipeg city dwellers are sadly prohibited to do so), start beekeeping; involve your children; create your own solar powered energy system.

~ Most Important ~ LOVE what you are doing, start small and know that everything you need is already available to you.

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