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January 9, 2009

Urban Homesteader

I read the article (How You Can Start a Farm in Heart of the City) that was quoted by Dave in an earlier post. That is exactly what I am – an urban homesteader. This paragraph is me:

Before you start thinking that you have to move somewhere else to grow your own food, take another look around. With a couple of notable exceptions, American cities sprawl. They are full of wasted space. As a homesteader, you will begin to see any open space as a place to grow food. This includes front yards as well as backyards, vacant lots, parkways, alleyways, patios, balconies, window boxes, fire escapes and rooftops. Once you break out of the mental box that makes you imagine a vegetable garden as a fenced-off parcel of land with a scarecrow in it, you'll start to see the possibilities. Think jungle, not prairie. The truth is that you can grow a hell of a lot of food on a small amount of real estate. You can grow food whether you're in an apartment or a house, whether you rent or own.

Do you have 4' ? 8' feet of open ground? If you don't have a yard, do you have room on a patio or balcony for two or three plastic storage tubs? If you don't have that, then you could get a space in a community garden, a relative or neighbor's house, or become a pirate gardener, or an expert forager -- some of the tastiest greens and berries are wild and free for the taking.


I do exactly what this says. I look around at every available space and wonder why there is nothing growing on it. The concrete triangle of wasted space at the beginning of the street I live on upsets me because there is nothing on it – just concrete. If we owned the house? The grass would be gone bye bye IMMEDIATELY and fruit and veggies would be there. That is why I keep saying I could not live in an apartment and when we move it has to be somewhere with a garden or space for one.

-- Sudeep

Update - This post inspired the creation of a new blog: Growing the Garden

Local Food

We grow some of our own food in a small garden. Our garbage largely goes into a compost pile. This is in a regular neighborhood. So I thought I would pass this along: How You Can Start a Farm in Heart of the City,

Once you taste lettuce that actually has a distinct flavor, or eat a sweet tomato still warm from the sun, or an orange-yolked egg from your own hen, you will never be satisfied with the pre-packaged and the factory-farmed again.

. . . When you grow some of your own food, you start to care more about all of your food. "Just where did this come from?" we'd find ourselves asking when we went shopping. What's in it?

It's not just about flavor and health and quality. It's also about local control and about putting carbon into the air. Food that is shipped means carbon going into the air. Food from a giant supermarket is more money going to the corporate system and away from local farmers.

I stopped buying imported olive oil when I realized that this is something that is very heavy that is being shipped across the planet. What's the point of that?


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