What is urban homesteading?.

Urban homesteading has been gaining popularity in recent years as more people seek to live a more sustainable lifestyle. But what exactly is it?

Essentially, it’s the practice of growing your own food, raising animals, and making your own products in an urban or suburban setting. While it may seem like a daunting task to start homesteading in the city, it actually is achievable with the right knowledge and resources.

When I first became interested in homesteading, I thought it was a wild dream for the future, not something I could pursue while living in the suburbs. Then one day I decided I was just going to do what I could where I was anyways, and I discovered there’s a lot of homesteading you can do in town!

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What is Urban Homesteading?

Urban homesteading is a lifestyle pursuing self-sufficiency, sustainability, and a connection to your food and the land, all in an urban environment. It’s a way of life that encourages people to live in a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way, by growing their own food, raising animals, and even using alternative energy sources.

Defining Urban Homesteading

Urban homesteading is a term that has been used to describe a wide range of activities, from growing vegetables in a small backyard to keeping chickens and bees in an urban environment. The goal of urban homesteading is to become more self-sufficient and sustainable in an urban environment, by using the resources available to you.

History of Urban Homesteading

The concept of homesteading has been around for centuries, but it has gained popularity in recent years due to the growing awareness of environmental issues and the desire to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

In the 1970s, the term “urban homesteading” was used to describe a government program that allowed people to buy abandoned properties in urban areas for a nominal fee and turn them into homes and gardens.

In current times, it’s anyone that pursues homesteading while living in an urban or suburban environment. You don’t have to live in the country or have a huge plot of land to grow food; it may just take some more creativity to figure out how!

Benefits of Urban Homesteading

Urban homesteading has many benefits, including reducing your carbon footprint, saving money on groceries, and providing a sense of community. By growing your own food, you can reduce the amount of fossil fuels used to transport food to your local grocery store.

Additionally, raising your own animals can provide a source of fresh eggs, milk, and meat. Urban homesteading can also bring people together and create a sense of community, as people share their knowledge and resources with one another.

And there’s the huge sense of accomplishment when you sit down at the table and can say “I grew that!” or “I made that!”

Getting Started with Urban Homesteading

three herbs planted in pots

Assessing Your Space

The first step to starting your urban homesteading journey is to assess your space. Whether you have a large backyard, a small balcony, or even just indoor space, you can still grow your own food and raise animals.

Consider the amount of sunlight your space receives, the soil quality, and any zoning restrictions or homeowner association rules that may apply.

Choosing Your Homesteading Activities

Once you have assessed your space, it’s time to choose the homesteading activities that are right for you. Some popular options for the urban homesteader include:

  • Composting to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil
  • Gardening and growing your own produce
  • Raising chickens for eggs
  • Beekeeping for honey and pollination

Acquiring Necessary Skills and Knowledge

As I have continued homesteading, I’ve discovered that it really is a journey of life-long learning. So don’t be scared if you’re faced with learning something completely new! Every homesteader is on this learning journey with you.

Take a look at the kind of skills that are used on a homestead, and decide what you want to learn. If you’re a beginner, you want to start small and incorporate these skills into your life gradually.

Set your goals, and then start! If something doesn’t work the first time, you’ll learn something from the experience. All of us go through this, not only as homesteaders, but just as we live life.

And if you need help, you can always read a blog or books (your local librarian may become your new best friend), watch videos on YouTube, join a Facebook group, or find someone in your community. Gardeners and homesteaders alike love to talk and share what they’ve learned with others!

Challenges of Urban Homesteading

A fluffy lavender Orpington chicken is walking on the grass in a yard.

Legal and Zoning Issues

One of the biggest challenges of urban homesteading is navigating legal and zoning issues. Many cities have regulations that restrict or prohibit certain types of homesteading activities, such as keeping chickens or bees, or growing certain types of crops. Homesteaders may need to obtain permits or variances to engage in these activities, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

In addition, urban homesteaders may run into legal issues if their activities cause problems for their neighbors, such as noise complaints or property damage. It’s important for homesteaders to be aware of local laws and regulations, and to communicate with their neighbors to avoid conflicts.

Limited Space and Resources

Another challenge of urban homesteading is working with limited space and resources. Urban homesteaders often have small yards or balconies, which can make it difficult to grow enough food to sustain themselves. They may need to get creative with their gardening techniques, such as using vertical gardening or hydroponics to maximize their space.

Urban homesteaders may also have limited resources, such as water or soil, which can make it difficult to maintain their gardens. They may need to invest in rain barrels or other water-saving technologies, or purchase soil amendments to improve the quality of their soil.

Community and Social Challenges

Finally, urban homesteading can present community and social challenges. Some neighbors may not understand or support homesteading activities, and may view them as unsightly or disruptive.

Homesteaders may need to educate their neighbors about the benefits of homesteading, and work to build relationships with them.

Urban homesteaders may also face social challenges within their own communities. They may need to find like-minded individuals who share their values and interests, and work together to advocate for homesteading-friendly policies and practices.


Urban homesteading is a lifestyle that is gaining popularity in urban areas with very good reason. It’s a satisfying way of living, even if it’s not easy!

It can mean growing your own food, raising chickens, and making your own household products. Urban homesteading is a way to live a self-sufficient life in the city while reducing your carbon footprint.

While urban homesteading may not be for everyone, it offers many benefits. It allows individuals to have greater control over the food they eat and the products they use. It also promotes sustainable living and reduces waste.

Urban homesteading requires a commitment to learning new skills and making lifestyle changes. However, the rewards are worth the effort. By embracing urban homesteading, you can create a more sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle while reducing your impact on the environment.

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