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Urban homesteading

This post originally appeared on the JustGreen Community website.

Small refrigerators, minimal storage and tiny sinks are generally what come to mind when picturing the “urban” kitchen– hardly a place where nourishing meals could be harvested, prepared and stored. However, with the popularity of urban homesteading on the rise, more and more city dwellers now realize that their choice of living environment doesn’t have to deter them from a life of self-sustenance.

Essentially, urban homesteading is when a person or family living in a city/urban environment produces all or nearly all of their own food and addresses most of their other basic needs in a self sufficient way.  Urban homesteaders minimally impact the environment, cleaning their homes without the use of toxins or waste, raising chickens (for the eggs, not as livestock) and ultimately gaining energy independence.

The first step in creating an urban homestead is to start planting. Growing your own fruits, vegetables and herbs is cheaper than buying them from a supermarket, and by growing your own food, you use far less energy and produce less waste. In addition, your crops are almost always guaranteed organic. Check out this beginners guide to starting an at-home vegetable garden, which applies even if your growing space is a balcony or small patio. In fact, here are 66 things you can grow in a container garden.

Have less than green thumb? You can still reduce your home’s environmental impact by collecting excess water and utilizing it elsewhere. In every corner of your urban homestead there are ways to save water for later use. You can start by collecting rainwater (to water those brand new crops you’ve just planted), turning off the water when you brush your teeth, filling the tub halfway or less and installing low-flow shower heads.

As for the laundry, ditch the dryer and harness the power of the sun, hanging your wet clothes out to dry on a clothesline. We’ve known for decades that this is the least expensive, most eco-friendly option when it comes to getting laundry done.

In the end, urban homesteading – whether you live in a sprawling house in the suburbs or a tiny apartment in the city – is about using less energy and reducing your environmental impact.

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