A lot what we discuss on Old Fashioned Families is the more traditional kind of homesteading–meant for those who are living on their own plot of land, usually a little ways away from the city. But there are many different kinds of homesteading, and living out in the country isn’t necessary to be considered a homesteader!
Today, I wanted to share some tips with you about becoming an urban or apartment homesteader. It’s not quite the same as if you owned your own farm, but don’t be mistaken–there are still plenty of things you can do, and lots of work! Here are nine tips to help you become an urban or apartment homesteader:
1. Don’t stress it! Urban and apartment homesteading is different than more traditional country homesteading. You’re living in the city, so there are going to be limitations. Do what you can, and don’t stress or obsess over what you can’t do. Every little bit counts, and that’s what urban homesteading is all about!
2. Grow what you can, where you can. You’d be surprised what you can grow in small spaces. And, really, smaller gardens are easier to take care of anyway! If you live in an apartment, you can grow herbs, veggies and even some fruits in containers on your windows or balcony. If you have a house in the city, then you can create a small garden in your backyard. If you have a small backyard, consider mixing flowers with your vegetables and putting the garden in the front yard!
3. Visit local farms. There are some things, like corn, that you simply won’t be able to grow in your urban setting. Check and see if there are any community gardens in your area or invest in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in your area. For a one-time fee, you can have fresh veggies on a regular basis to help cover what you can’t grow yourself.
4. Know your urban livestock options. Check with your city or municipality to see what livestock can be raised in the city. Many cities allow chickens and rabbits or even bees, and you can easily raise these in a backyard without too much fuss. Unfortunately, this option generally isn’t viable for apartment-dwellers.
5. Preserve your food. Whether you’re growing your own food, particpating in a CSA program or simply buying food from a farmer’s market, learn how to perserve your own food through canning, freezing or dehydrating your food. You can save tons of money in the winter by taking advantage of what’s in season during the summer and fall months.
6. Cook at home. If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know all about home cooking and why it’s better for you. If you do nothing else on this list, cooking as much as you can from scratch is a great way to become not only more healthy but also more skilled for when you can have a homestead of your own!
7. DIY what you can, but don’t sweat it! A big part of homesteading is making do with what you have, and a lot of times DIY projects can yield even cooler results than what you would buy in a store. But, living in an apartment or small house in town can sometimes make DIYing larger projects hard. Do what you’re able to do, and what you’re comfortable with and don’t worry about the rest.
8. Make it at home. There are a lot of things you can make at home from natural cleaning products to homemade bread, soap or cheese. Not only will these products be better for you and the environment, but they can be a lot of fun to make as well, and will help you become more self-sufficient. Did I mention a lot of times it’s cheaper too?
9. Don’t get discouraged! Just like more traditional homesteading, urban/apartment homesteading looks different for everyone. Some people make everything from scratch and have a garden taking up half the back lawn and chickens taking up the other half. Others simply shop at farmer’s markets and make their own soap, and call it good. And that’s ok! There isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for urban homesteading, so do what you feel comfortable with and what works with your budget and location. Sometimes the little things can mean just as much as the big things, so don’t get discouraged into thinking it’s all or nothing.
So, are you an urban homesteader, or do you have any tips for those new to homesteading? Share with us in the comments, or join us in the forums!