The best of both worlds – City living with an Urban Homestead!
If you love the convenience of Urban or Suburban living, but want to be able to supplement your family’s food, an urban homestead or hobby farm may be the perfect solution. Living in the city offers many advantages. You are closer to entertainment and will likely have a shorter commute to work. However, a smaller yard may have you thinking it’s not possible to grow your own vegetables or raise your own chickens. While some neighborhoods will restrict these activities, (check your HOA guidelines!) many are becoming open to the idea of small scale farming. The idea of “farm-to-table” living is gaining popularity and with that comes the desire to provide your own food or share within a community. Neighborhoods are popping up that offer community gardens where neighbors work together to grow a garden and then share the crops. If you don’t live in the country and your neighborhood doesn’t provide a community garden, you can still create an urban homestead in your backyard.
Start with a pocket garden:
Even if your yard is small, you can reserve enough space for a raised garden bed or a planter garden. Referred to as a “pocket garden”, a small corner of space is sufficient to grow a variety of vegetables. Only plant vegetables that you and your family enjoy eating on a regular basis. This will save you a trip to the grocery store and you’ll be sure not to waste what you’ve worked hard to grow. Your environment also plays a factor, so be sure to check your agricultural zone to find out what will grow best in your area. USDA Plant Hardiness Zone.
Build or purchase a chick coop (and some chickens!):
If you love scrambled eggs for breakfast or you bake frequently, you may enjoy having access to fresh eggs in your backyard. There are many DIY projects to build a chicken coop or you can search your area for a pre-made one.
You only need a few chickens to get started and you may be surprised by how much they can produce. If you end up with extra eggs, don’t worry, your friends and coworkers will be happy to take them off your hands!
Fresh eggs are not the only benefit of backyard chickens, though. They offer natural pest control, great compost for your garden, plus, they make pretty cute pets!
Plant an indoor herb garden:
Choose a selection of your favorite herbs and plant an herb garden in your kitchen. Fresh herbs purchased at the grocery store can be overpriced and may not last long once you get them home. An herb garden in your kitchen will provide a variety of fresh herbs and can double as stylish décor.
Plan ahead for winter months:
Preserving fruits and vegetables in the summer months is a great way to cut your food budget in the winter and provides your family with tasty and healthy meals year-round. Be sure to add labels to your jars with the date and rotate older jars to the front of your pantry.
Pick a house plan that fits your needs:
The size of your yard shouldn’t limit your ability to grow fresh and healthy food for your family. With an urban farmstead, you can carve out small spaces inside and outside that will make a big impact.
When choosing a house plan, consider one with a large screened porch. Even if you don’t have yard space, you can place a few planters on the porch to grow your favorite veggies. A design with a large pantry will offer plenty of space to store jars and offers a cool and dry place to keep root vegetables. A gourmet kitchen makes it fun to prepare meals and provides enough counter space for everyone to get involved.