Urban homesteading is becoming more and more popular, for preppers and non-preppers alike. The truth is there is nothing better than being able to provide your family with fresh, healthy food and it doesn’t get any fresher than out of your own backyard.
Even if you do not have much space, anyone can become an urban homesteader with the proper practices and techniques. Whether you have 1/10 of an acre, or a square mile of property, these practices will help you sustain and support your family in ways you hadn’t dreamed possible.
- Grow Your Own Food
This is the first thing people think of when they consider homesteading, and rightfully so. Growing your own food to eat and to preserve is the most prominent aspect of sustainability.
You’ve probably heard of successful homesteaders who have made accomplishments like growing over 2 tons of food in 1/10 of an acre and this is possible, but the first step is to grow for your own space. Consider the amount of ground and space you have first, then you can plot and plan your garden accordingly. If you space is small, consider researching bio-intensive gardening, which includes special treatment for the soil and strategic, close planting, to enable gardeners to make the most of the space they have.
- Use Alternative Energy Sources
Most people don’t immediately think of energy even being needed for gardening, but it does play a factor. Especially for gardeners who live in cooler areas or want to grow year round, you should consider the power sources that are providing light and other atmospheric conditions to your plants. You should always opt for solar power to bring the needed energy to your crops. Not only is solar power clean and efficient, but it also is there for you in uncertain times and will always be available if you have to go off the grid.
- Keep Farm Animals for Food and Fertilizer
For those who have not raised animals before, this can be the most intimidating part of homesteading. It is important for you to identify what your comfort level is with raising animals to be used for food. Most urban homesteaders raise chickens, and if they have the space, goats which can provide eggs and milk for your family. While some do raise animals for meat, it is not something for all homesteaders. However, if you do decide to, it is usually fairly easy to find a packing or processing house that will help you butcher the animal to easily feed your family. Though you might consider learning this skill yourself for worst case scenarios.
The added bonus of farm animals, is their waste can also be used around your garden. Manure from your animals will help your crops grow, without potentially harmful chemicals… not to mention it’s completely free.
- Practice Waste Reduction
Waste reduction in your garden helps you create a more sustainable homestead. Most plant waste can be reused in mulch. More commonly, urban homesteaders have composting heaps or bins in which they can also make mulch from their regular household waste. This is another way to create sufficient, and free, supplies for your growing garden.
- Live Simply
Living simply is good for everyone around us. Reducing our impact on our planet is especially important and comes naturally with urban homesteading. If we reduce our extravagances, we find it is easier to prepare and provide for ourselves and our families. In the case of disaster, being comfortable in living simply will also make it easier for your family to adjust in any scenario.
- Collect Rainwater
Water is a renewable resource, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t run low, or even run out. For those that live in drier climates or warmer temperatures, this is even more important. Collecting rainwater not only provides you with free water, but it also represents the very center of sustainability, the issue that lies at the very core of urban homesteading. In addition, having a water supply for your animals and garden apart from organized water systems and irrigation ditches, prepares you even better if a disaster strikes.
- Be a Good Neighbor
In the world, as it is being a kind and generous neighbor not only helps to create goodwill, but it can also increase the variety of your garden and stockpile. Say you grow amazing zucchini, but don’t have a chicken coop; a neighbor who has eggs may be more than willing to trade with you. This gives you more access to a variety of crops and foods that you may not be able to do all on your own. Good neighbors make gardens better and food tastier.
Now many preppers practice operational security or OPSEC, and may not want to let neighbors into their gardening practices, but that could be more of a detriment than a benefit when it comes to gardening. Remember, you can still keep your stockpile fairly secret while having a successful homestead. The benefit of its recent popularity is many non-preppers also practice urban homesteading, meaning you can freely grow your garden without any suspicion.
- Do it Yourself
Don’t hire anyone to take care of your garden, you don’t need it. If you truly want to be sustainable, you have to be able to do it on your own. That means building what you need too. The knowledge is worth almost as much as the harvest itself will be, especially in an SHTF scenario. Most importantly, pass the knowledge down to your children and make sure they know how to grow and provide food too.
Urban homesteading is popular for a reason. Even without a disaster scenario in place, the world is precarious enough that having a sustainable garden today, could be the key that saves families from starvation or malnutrition. For preppers, it becomes a two-fold benefit: not only are you providing food for your family and your stockpile, but you are also arming yourself with a skill that is invaluable in a post-apocalyptic world. And let’s be honest, most of us find gardening kind of fun anyway. A hobby that can save you and your family’s lives? Sounds good to me.