How to Farm in the City; Urban Homesteading

Usually when we think of a homestead or a small farm we think of a hand hewn cabin in the wilderness or an old farmhouse on at least 30 acres. This is not always so and, in reality, most of us could “farm” right where we are now, using the resources we have available to us. We don’t because of our fears, our misconceptions and our lack of education on the subject. Perhaps some of us would even admit that we like the idea of growing our own food better than the actuality of it!

However, families across the United States, as well as other countries, are breaking the ground for urban homesteading. Watch this interesting video of one family in California that is not only growing their own food but making money at home by selling what they produce to local restaurants.

A Long History

Actually this is not a new concept. Kitchen gardens were a matter of necessity in cities long before the advent of grocery stores. Most homes had a small courtyard area where they kept a garden and perhaps a few chickens and goats. If they had a bigger space a dairy cow might be added. As the United States grew towns formed around common areas that were used to graze livestock during the day.

During World Wars I and II Victory Gardens cropped up all over the world. It was essential to send the commercially grown food to the battlefields to sustain the military and people were encouraged to grow their own food to make the food go farther. Commonly rabbits, chickens, ducks, and goats were kept on suburban plots to take care of the families needs. It was a source of pride for the homemaker to display the fruit of her labor on the pantry shelves- jars and jars of home canned fruit, vegetables, and even soups and meats. Try to imagine the flutter and fuss amongst local Homeowners Associations today! In some places it is against the rules to have an outside clothesline!

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Like the article mentioned, it wasn’t that long ago in history when such a life was considered “normal.” Taking “steps backwards” to return to a simpler more sustainable way is now a growing trend. Eco practices that would have a few years ago been considered “fringe” are now hitting mainstream!  Amazing, huh.

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  1. marye says:

    thanks for linking to my article. We are in the midst of trying to do the same thing, albeit on 2 acres. WOuld prefer 200 acres, but, well you know!
    Love your site.

  2. Anais says:

    Hello Marye

    Thanks for mentioning PTF. I just happen to stumble on the article when I was researching VICTORY GARDENS.

    Great article! I like the references to past growing, canning and conservations efforts.

    2 acres! Wow, we could do some serious damage with two acres. Imagine, if what we are doing here on a 1/10 x 20?

    One can dream… and dream… and dream.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. marye says:

    We could do alot more but our city has over built along our creek in the past few years and turned us into a flood plain, where once were were not. About two years ago we were gathering animals and putting horses up on the road, tied to mailboxes, as well as hauling goats and sheep into the laundry room in chest deep water. :/ ::please imagine a mad face:::
    I am amazed at what you have been able to do, and now that I have found your site..will follow you closely. You are an inspiration.
    But I would stillr ather have 200 acres. 😛

  4. Anais says:

    Oh, dear. Not good. Flooding can really inhibit one’s ability to make such a property productive and useful. That’s too bad … the implications of such development having on your property. Wonder if there’s anything you/ the city can do?

    So good luck with your land search. And keep your head above water. ::wink::

    If you find 200 acres somewhere’s let us know… perhaps we’ll join you (there will certainly be enough room!) LOL


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