Learning to Homestead-What You Can Do in an Apartment


Urban homesteading is a different beast than the way that my parents do it with 75 acres in the country.

It has to be, and it presents interesting and novel logistical problems not otherwise faced by people on established rural homesteads. In some ways it’s easier-you [generally] have a water source, some form of garbage removal, and at least theoretically speaking a steadier, definite access to sources of a guaranteed crop via a market.

However you’re also facing space concerns, pollution concerns, sometimes security concerns, and potentially distinct concerns that homesteading in other areas may not-one of my friends wasn’t allowed to grow vegetables because the plants attracted vermin. And I…well I live within 20 miles of Love Canal and I don’t exactly trust our soil quality.

What you can do in your apartment is also going to depend on what your apartment offers for space and storage, as well as green space access and local laws. A duplex with a backyard is probably going to have more options for use than my one bedroom with no accessible green space. There are ways of making it work-including a skills share where you ask for lawn space from someone in exchange for produce-but generally speaking you can do -something- with your space.

Homesteading Projects that are Apartment Friendly [Though Not Necessarily Every Apartment]

  1. Microcanning
  2. Scratch cooking
  3. Dehydrating
  4. Interfacing with local growers through CSAs and farmer’s markets
  5. Container gardening
  6. DIY cleaning supplies
  7. Depending on type of apartment (a larger duplex or rental house with a yard and coop space) chickens and other urban friendly animals
  8. Convert to cloth products-kitchen cloth is generally pretty easy to transition to, you could also jump to family and mama cloth depending on your comfort level
  9. Trade and barter networks
  10. Fermentation
  11. Fiber arts
  12. Minor household construction [depending on rental agreement]
  13. Raised bed gardening
  14. DIY beauty and body supplies like scrubs
  15. Composting [depending on rental agreement]

The trick to urban homesteading is to use the resources in your community. You’re probably not going to have a lot of space for gardening, so use a farmer’s market, or even just a good sized supermarket. It was pointed out to me once that you’re still helping a farmer pay bills when you buy tomatoes. I buy my broth bones from a local butcher. I use co-ops and markets for local honey. There may be trade offs-Buffalo doesn’t currently allow chickens and even if they did, they would have to live in my bath tub but we do have farmer’s markets with eggs. I can still cook and can and I have herb buckets every season.


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