I am a farmer trapped in a city-person’s body, torn between love of urban and yearning to grow vegetables, keep bees, preserve food. I know there are a lot of us around.

Why should it be either/or? Although I’ve been figuring out country ways in my small city apartment for years, a new book has opened my eyes to possibilities I never thought of, and gives the wherewithal to do them.The Urban Homestead, Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City, is a sweet, practical, hands-on guide for city-folk, no matter what their real estate might be: from studio apartment to brownstone with garden. It is written by Kelly Coyne and Erick Knutzen, “city-dwelling farmers” who share their learn-by-doing insights, info and enthusiasm on their blog Homegrown Evolution, whose motto is “vegetables, chickens, hooch, bicycles and cultural alchemy”. (The book is also an excellent resource for anyone needing solid info about gardening, canning, preserving, and other tools of self-sufficient living.)

My favorite line in The Urban Homestead: “No matter where you live, there is always somewhere to grow food.” This is not the stuff of pipe-dreams; the book offers a huge amount of usable info. Compelling subjects include:

Strategies for Growing Food in an Urban Setting
Urban Foraging
The Homemade Speakeasy: From Mead to Moonshine
How to Ride [your bike] In Traffic
Cleaning the Urban Homestead
Build a Rocket Stove

Read the Introduction and First Chapter here.

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3 replies on “creating your (urban) homestead

  1. You don’t need much to grow a lot. Even indoors, you can grow all sorts of herbs, as well as miniature peppers, etc.

  2. I think you should start this misadventure with Coyne and Knutzen’s “Essential Project 2″… vermiculture… “worms like fruit and vegetable table scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, plain pasta and cooked grains, your basic vegan diet.”

    I fully expect a breakfast of champions recipe calling for night crawlers within he month.

  3. So, you’ve been into the book, have you? hmmm…I know a guy named mudhut who turned his Brooklyn Yard into a farm to see if he could eat what he’d grown for a month…wrote about it in New York Magazine, after he’d served up some of his chickens for dinner, couldn’t get his rabbits to mate, and lived like a wild man for months, jeopardizing his marriage…in My Empire of Dirt http://nymag.com/restaurants/features/37273/. Is that you, brother?!

    Worms are swell, though they haven’t found their way into my apartment yet. I did eat some meal worms once (and some crickets), as a challenge to myself when I had a big-number birthday.

    (Admin is really Sally – got to change that somehow).

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