Communities across the country are approving municipal codes that make it much easier for residents to be more self-sufficient.
Growing herbs and tomatoes on your balcony, pots on your patio full of heirloom vegetables, cultivating a small plot in a community garden, turning your yard into a food source for your family, raising backyard chickens– there are no rules for the size of your “homesteading” effort.
Believe it or not, people are returning to a lifestyle of self-sufficiency lived by many of our great-grandparents. And it’s taking place right now in backyards across urban America. The best part? Anybody can do it.
While raising your own produce may seem daunting at first, a little research and planning make even the smallest space rewarding and productive. A modern homesteader doesn’t need acres of land. It may be 1/4 acre or perhaps a 5,000 square foot backyard or even less! Residents of townhouses, patio homes or apartments may have decks, balconies or fire escapes that can serve as the perfect personal small plot. Even several sunny windows can be the extent of a garden. Take advantage of planting in pots and hanging baskets to produce something that you grew… no grocery store required.
Communities across the country are approving municipal codes that make it much easier for residents to be more self-sufficient. Examples of what your own community may allow are: chickens, beehives, miniature goats, and rabbits. All of these creatures can adapt and fit into a backyard setting. Clucking, buzzing, and bleating are becoming common sounds in neighborhoods across America. Imagine gathering fresh eggs daily, enjoying honey from your hives, and drinking a glass of milk fresh from your goats? Local food does not get any more local than this.
Composting and canning are skills that easily fit in the modern homestead. Composting is basically plant recycling. Plant materials naturally decompose with the assistance of water, oxygen, and heat. Vegetative items, which normally would be destined for the landfill, can be returned to your garden in the form of compost. Once the compost is ready, it can be applied to garden beds adding much-needed organic matter to improve the structure of the soil– and it’s free!
Canning is also making quite a comeback. Cooperative extension programs and local chefs are teaching the art and science of canning and all types of homesteaders are taking pride in ‘putting up’ their own tomatoes, jellies, jams, and pickles. To ensure you eat what you harvest, plant what you like and then preserve your harvest for the winter months.
Backyard homesteading is within your reach, whether you garden, keep bees, raise chickens, compost, or milk your own miniature goats. The size of your property doesn’t matter; it’s what you do with what you have that makes a difference. Modern homesteading is here to stay.