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What is Urban Homesteading ?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 11
Location: Ozark
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An urban homestead is a household that produces a significant part of the food, including produce and livestock, consumed by its residents. This is typically associated with residents’ desire to live in a more environmentally conscious manner.

Benefits Of Urban Homesteading

* It helps you to learn homesteading skills & gain more precious knowledge of growing own food.
* Raising farm animals
* Helps to implement appropriate, alternative technologies & transportation.
* And helps you to build a more homegrown community.

Thanks.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2064
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Hi Ray. Thanks for starting this thread.

I have often thought about the livestock part of this equation. Where I live, of the animals usually thought of as livestock, it is legal to keep fish and rabbits. I am currently looking to get a pet rabbit for my better half and I, because I can grow an awful lot of what it will eat in the city as green manures and naturalised ornamental garden, which will return to me directly as mulch, adding fertility to the gardens that produce my food.

In a legal urban situation, all a rabbitry can provide is faster nutrient cycling and fertility, companionship, and for some specific breeds, fibre, although I have heard horror stories about how French Angoras will choke on their own hairballs if you don't groom daily or more frequently.

When I do fish, it will depend on the scale, but in the city, I want to use those 1000L liquid transport containers, hopefully three of them, placed in a row in the shade beside the house, with the shared sides cut away and sealed to produce a 3000 L tank. I want to do a trout or salmon-based system (difficult, I know, because of the salt water nature of part of the salmon life cycle, but certainly possible), with at least one feeder fish species to provide food and to control insect larvae in the tank, and with a catfish species cleaning up the bottom and providing a secondary food source.

To this tank I would add a black soldier fly larvae composter, with a larval drop chute into the tank to feed the fish.

I would also use a sedimentation barrel system, wherein I would keep filter feeders, maybe some variety of freshwater clam. Should this ever need cleaning out, I would apply it, again, directly to my garden as an amendment, or to my compost pile.

If leaving the legalities aside, I would definitely consider keeping rabbits for meat, although I have difficulty with the concept personally, as I have owned them as pets before. Still, they can put on a lot of weight from comparatively little feed.

Chickens are the obvious one here. How many chickens would it take to supply a family of four with eggs daily for a week, considering the ability to freeze the excess in times of heavy production?

Backyard beekeeping could be a boon to people and bee populations alike, as cities have some of the greatest diversities and longest periods of flowers and trees in bloom of many habitats, and rarely are they as severely sprayed as in agricultural settings, though there are obvious hazards to be considered. Still, the potential returns are manifold.

Space is obviously an issue, but goats could easily provide milk in an urban environment. As grazers, getting enough hardy graze for them would be more challenging than sheep, and as herd animals, I wouldn't ever want to keep less than two female dairy goats, but on anything but a tiny lot, it should be possible to grow at least a portion of their food.

With the fondness for lawnspace inherent to some city dwellers, sheep could be a good fit.

Mushrooms can easily be grown on sterilised wood chips. The sterilisation would need to be done by the batch, probably in the oven, but wood chips in many urban environments can be had for free, provided you can take enough of them to be worth a trip with a truck.

Pigs could even be used, although I would personally expect only the smallest types to be suitable for urban backyard use. Still, they would definitely reduce the volume of organic waste transported to landfills. Hell, the need for cheap and healthy food for pigs and chickens could easily create a market for food scrap collection, like perhaps, I don't know, a token amount of eggs delivered in exchange for a bucket of food scraps from neighbour to neighbour.

I would expect there to also be a run on used coffee grounds, as worms love them, and chickens love worms. But imagine the effect if grocery stores could, instead of throwing away the produce they can't even sell at a discount, bag that stuff for pickup, or for an even steeper discount, to feed people's backyard chickens and pigs at home?

I think it important to note that it's very unlikely that anyone could do all of these, together, on one urban homestead. There just isn't room or time enough to keep livestock and have a garden, even if you are deriving the animal feed from the waste stream. But everyone can do one thing, and they they can barter the excess between themselves.

I expect the effect of all this commerce, whether it takes the form of bartering backyard-produced goods for animal feed, or a more generalised form of trading, as seen in situations like local Bunz pages on facebook, where you can buy or sell literally anything, and the currency, if not barter, is usually transit tokens or tall boys of beer, will be a greater social interconnectivity due to the increased inter-reliant nature of the urban homesteading community.

Basically anyone who contributes or interacts with urban homesteaders will be engaging in some amount of urban homesteading themselves, and it might draw them in. If they trade a bucket of food scraps for eggs, and they love those eggs, well, they might not be able to do chickens themselves, but they might do backyard beekeeping, or they might keep a garden, or brew beer, or do some other homesteading activity that produces a surplus feedstock for someone else's system, and so they will feed someone else's system to be able to get more of those eggs.

I think urban homesteading could be the greatest way to spread permaculture and to reconnect urban life on the village level.

-CK
 
Ray Henry
Posts: 11
Location: Ozark
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Hello Chris.

Thanks for your valuable feedback. As per my opinion no two homesteaders are exactly alike. Some can’t wait to get backyard livestock, some are excited to start a small garden, and some want to create an integrated permaculture food forest. There are still others who don’t keep a garden or animals at all, but rather focus on fiber arts, from-scratch cooking, preserving, and making their own household cleaners  and toiletry items.

So what you think about that ? Any opinion ?
 
pollinator
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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You can go as far as your council bylaws and cranky neighbours. You have to get together with your neighbours to fight for lifestock in the suburbs. The council otherwise hears only those who complain about lifestock, they never hear from the people who like it.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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I think what I brought up is one of the big things people don't think can really happen in a city.

It is also the kind of thing, along with intensive gardening, that can use waste streams and produce food for eating and barter and feedstock for other processes.

I think cooking from scratch and crafts like knitting are important, but these types of activity aren't making use of vast food and nutrient waste to feed and clothe others.

I think that the ideas I sketched out are not only worthwhile in and of themselves, but also the kind of large-scale change that has a cascading effect on how we view ourselves and live our lives.

I think that, in an era where kitchens have become tiny unboxing and microwaving spaces, I think it would be amazing to have people learning to cook from scratch again, but I think that more likely to happen after the sea change that sees us all producing food, or trading for it with someone who does. It will then come in a form that requires cooking from scratch, and people will have no way to benefit from it unless they regain the lost talents of preparing food from raw goods.

-CK
 
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When thinking about animals in an urban setting, I always suggest considering coturnix quail. They are quiet, small, do not smell very bad, and lay tons of eggs. We keep ours on our deck and our fridge is overflowing with eggs in the summer.
 
expectation is the root of all heartache - shakespeare. tiny ad:
Wild Homesteading - Work with nature to grow food and start/build your homestead
https://permies.com/t/96779/Wild-Homesteading-Work-nature-grow
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