Homestead plan in an urban setting is a term which can refer to various things. It can refer to programs by the government to help people settle into homes in the city. On the other hand, homestead plan can also mean the practice of sustainable agricultural techniques.
Through the years, there has been a steady increase of the urban homesteaders due to the conscious desire of the people to live in an eco-friendly environment.
Homestead plan in the city encompasses a wide range of ideas. It includes reducing power consumption through the use of alternative resources. Aside from relying on big companies to power the homes, some homesteader chooses to use solar power and windmills to produce electricity. They also harvest clean drinking water from the rain.
Homesteading also includes the use of alternative means of transportation such as the use of bicycles and buses. Some houses also produce biogas from organic materials to power their automobiles. On the other hand, some would raise poultry animals, do edible landscaping, and practice self-sufficient living. They produce their own food for the family or the neighbors when there’s a surplus.
These are some of the aspects of homestead plan in the city which makes modern families save monetary resources and promote healthy living.
In sum, an urban homestead is a revolutionary plan onwards simple and sustainable living. In this article, we’ll tackle how to start the urban homestead setting and what are its benefits to the family.
History of Urban Homestead Plan
Homesteading concepts and the maintenance of a garden is universal. It has been common since the Roman times. During this period, a small homestead is a norm and commercial farming did not exist, according to From Scratch Magazine.
During the World War I and World War II; victory gardens, immigrant gardens, and the inner-city community gardening began to exist. Families throughout the world have found ways to grow their food in the inner city of the urban areas even in limited space.
In the new millennium towards the 1990’s, the principles of self-reliance were incorporated in urban environments. John Seymour, according to From Scratch Magazine was one of the influential people to emphasize small-scale farming in homesteading.
Benefits of Urban Homesteading
Building self-sufficient lifestyle in the city brings various benefits. Here are some of it:
Building urban homestead in the community can help bring families and communities together by working towards one goal that shall be beneficial for everybody. In addition, it creates more productive and better-living conditions for the current and future generations.
Aside from this, building urban homesteads can empower people because they’ll have the freedom and security to produce their own food. They will be more active to participate in food production and food preservation.
Furthermore, it teaches people on how to be self-sufficient and be practical to think of ways to combat hunger. Waste materials are being transformed into compost and free spaces in the cities are being utilized to productive farm.
Lastly, it can create more jobs and income for the family. It can make a productive local economy that does not need to import food supplies from far away places.
Building gardens in the urban space can make the city green. It can help clean the water by using the rain and by building filters to purify it. Urban homesteading also teaches people to save water consumption by recycling it for cleaning the house and watering the plants. It can also clean the air by planting vegetables, fruits, and trees that can produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.
Urban homesteading can also stop soil erosion and removal of the topsoil. The biodegradable waste materials that we have inside our homes can be converted into compost which will create as fertilizers for our plants.
It can decrease carbon footprint by using alternative modes of transportation. There is also minimal power consumption through the use of energy efficient appliances inside the house.
It can increase the amount of food grown locally. A healthy diet will be promoted for people of all ages. Food poisoning, obesity, and other diseases will be prevented just by eating the right kind of food. According to research, a healthy gut will create a good body and this can start by eating food produced from your backyard.
Ways to live in urban homesteading
The above-mentioned benefits are just a part of the bigger effects of homesteading in the community. In this portion, we’re going to discuss ways on how to start living in an urban homestead setting.
It takes proper planning and preparation to live a self-sufficient life. Moreover, it is a continuous process and the lifestyle changes do not happen overnight. Here are some of it:
Food production in urban homesteading starts with the conversion of the soil. One can try mulching, composting, vermiculture, re-mineralization, use of animal manure, and effective micro-organisms. As soon as the soil is ready, begin to plant fruits and vegetables in your garden.
Harvest your produce and learn how to preserve it for future purposes. You can start canning, drying, freezing, fermenting, and brewing. Perishable goods have a short shelf life but if it’s processed accordingly, it can stay for longer period of time.
Some produce of urban homesteaders is being sold in local markets. These products are organic and affordable thus it is becoming popular nowadays.
In urban homesteading; reduce, reuse and recycle is essential. The idea is to minimize waste products in a day. Small things matter in urban homesteading.
To do this, learn to use second-hand items or give life to old stuff you have at home. You can repaint old shelves, chair, and other furniture instead of buying new ones. In addition, you can also think outside the box and give a stylistic design to your old clothes to avoid buying new garments again.
Use paper bags instead of plastic when shopping for groceries. Also, recycle water bottles and turn them into something useful.
Meanwhile, convert your biodegradable wastes as compost. Combine the leaves, vegetable and fruit peelings, old newspapers, and top it with soil. The compost will create a healthy fertilizer for your plants. Make sure to water your compost from time to time to help in the decomposition of the materials.
Water is important inside our home. We use it to clean our house, water the plants, and to nourish the body. There are many ways to try in creating a self-sufficient water system in an urban homestead plan.
The first one is to build a water well. This can be done by digging a hole in the ground, installing pipes on it, and pumping water above. Permits must be secured in the local offices to install a water well.
The next option is the installation of rainwater collector. This system will collect rain water and convert it to safe water with the use of filters. Rainwater can be used for watering the plants, cleaning the house, and even for cooking.
For gardening; water irrigation, grey water, and mulching are one of the most effective systems that you can try. For efficient consumption of water in your urban homestead, you can wash the dishes by hand and avoid doing it in running water. You can also have an outdoor shower so the garden can utilize the water you’ve used cleaning your body.
Apart from producing food, urban homesteading also teaches people to live with minimal energy consumption and find alternative resources.
Some of the alternative sources are solar panels and windmills. Solar technology was used since the 1950s for industrial purposes. This technology works by harnessing the sun and turning it into electricity. It requires the use of solar panels that we sometimes see in the fields or rooftops. When the sun shines on the panels, the cells on it absorbs photons which create an electric field that enables electricity to flow.
Meanwhile, wind turbines collect the wind and transform it into electricity. This technology can be set-up by professionals at your home. On average, wind turbines measures about 80 feet that can generate a 5-kilowatt capacity to support energy requirements at home. It costs around $10,000 to $70,000 depending on the installation expenses.
Apart from these alternative resources, urban homesteading also requires the wise use of energy. This includes the use of low voltage and high-efficient appliances, rechargeable batteries, LED lights, and manual hand tools. It is also recommended to do household chores manually without relying heavily on electricity. This includes washing and drying clothes under the heat of the sun, cleaning room manually without the use of vacuum, and preparing foods with kitchen tools that have no electricity.
Finally, the house must also be set-up according to the weather condition of the place. It must have a high ceiling and big windows to allow circulation of the air especially during summer season. It must have a fireplace that can warm the family, especially during cold nights.
Modes of transportation in urban homesteading must be eco-friendly too. In short-distant places, it is advisable to walk, jog, or use the bike. In long distances, perhaps one can use the buses or trains instead of private automobiles because this can minimize your carbon footprint.
Apart from the use of buses and trains, carpooling has been the newest trend today. This is the sharing of a private automobile with strangers unto the same destination. Carpooling can reduce fuel costs and help create a better environment.
Meanwhile, the Urban Homestead.org created their own biogas to fuel their automobiles. It involves brewing of biodegradable wastes and turning them into diesel. This is also a great source of diesel for it uses organic matter, it is eco-friendly, and it is self-sufficient.
Apart from fruits and vegetables, you can also raise your own poultry in urban homestead setting. All creatures great or small have a part in the natural cycle, even the farm animals.
You can raise chickens, goats, rabbits, and ducks in the city too. To do this, fence your lot first to make sure that the farm animals will never wander on your neighbor. Then, build a pen for your farm animals. Make sure that it is ventilated and it is dry. Provide your animals with enough food and clean their surroundings regularly. You can also convert into fertilizer their waste materials.
You can eat your farm animals or sell the eggs and the meat at the local market. There are homesteaders who are a strict vegetarian and wouldn’t want to eat meat thus they trade their produce to their neighbors.
Lastly, living simply is the key onwards a successful urban homesteading plan. Our forefathers have survived to live simple and self-sufficient for many years, and you too can do that!
To do this, learn few things by yourself at home. Learn how to make your own meals so you can prevent eating at expensive restaurants. Study how to cook delicious meals and bake pastries for the family.
Next, bring entertainment inside your home. Start reading books, painting, or doing crafts. You can also start learning about animal husbandry, marcotting plants, or flower arranging. This knowledge will not only be entertaining but in the long run, this could be a source of passive income for you.
Instead of traveling to faraway places, consider staying inside the house and bring your friends. Do home socializations and family reunions instead.
Do the household chores manually. Repair the things on your own, cut your own hair, repair the bike, sew your old clothes, fix the leaks at the roof, and do your own laundry. It is also helpful to orient yourself with herbal medicine and the basics of emergency preparedness and survival.
Open a store that will allow the community to barter goods with each other. Trade your excess food produced with things that you need inside your home.
In sum, urban homesteading is an old concept which is gaining popularity again today. It is linked with people’s desire to live simply, avoid the chaotic city life, and the expensive lifestyle everybody is dreaming of. Urban homesteading is a process and it will take several years to see the effects. However, every step of the way is worth it since you are changing for the best.