Make 2011 the Start of Your Own Suburban Homestead

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years
Forget covered wagons and dusty prairie towns. As we look out over the coming year, unemployment is still at staggering rates, the cost of food still rises and the economic forecast still gives us the jitters. But, it’s not too late to take your life into your own hands and control. Your little suburban lot has more potential than you give it credit for. From growing your own food to raising your own livestock to living a more simple less complicated life, start this new year by taking action to develop your own homestead—right in your own backyard. Along the way, you’ll be building a sustainable, self-reliant and self-sufficient life.

Homesteading intrigued city residence as early as the 1880’s. Decades later city dwellers planted Victory Gardens, raised chickens and made their own clothes to help provide their family’s basic needs. So why not you? Why not now? Why not on your postage-stamp sized lot? Creating a productive “mini farm,” with all the hallmarks of a larger farming operation could be just the action that helps you and your family weather these uncertain times.

While these 10 key elements make up the “perfect” suburban homestead, individual family situations vary greatly and many of these elements can take years to fully implement. Therefore, any suburban homestead should be considered a work in progress, with new elements incorporated periodically to achieve the final goal.

1. Use available space to grow your own FOOD on your suburban lot in an appealing landscape. Depending on the square footage of a house, placement on the lot and climate zone, 50% or more of a family’s diet can be grown on less than half an acre.

2. Raise small LIVESTOCK for food and manure. Chickens, rabbits, ducks, even sheep and hogs can be raised successfully on suburban lots if housed and cared for properly.

3. Collect RAINWATER and GREYWATER to use in planted areas. Reduce indoor water consumption by practicing water conservation.

4. Live SIMPLY as our forefathers did. Learn simple basic homemaking skills, including cooking from scratch, baking, food preservation, sewing and knitting.

5. Be your own HANDYMAN. Learn to make home repairs, build needed homestead items and perform vehicle maintenance rather than hire it out.

6. Commit to REDUCING WASTE. Use up what you have before buying more, make do with what is on hand or do without, compost kitchen scraps to make more soil and re-purpose unused items to new useful ones.

7. Use alternative ENERGY sources like solar or wind along with practicing energy efficiency and conservation to reduce usage.

8. Use alternative TRANSPORTATION like public transit, walking or bicycling and FUELS like bio-fuels to reduce the use of petroleum.

9. Work from HOME if possible, earning a living from the land or from a home-based business.

10. Practice the art of NEIGHBORING. Suburban homesteading is a community-based lifestyle. Instead of striving to profit monetarily from helping neighbors or the community lend a helping hand for free.

Make 2011 the year that you and your family take control of your lives. Select a few elements and jump on in. You’ll soon find out that you’re not alone.

Creative Commons License photo credit: [ Mooi ]

4 Responses to “Make 2011 the Start of Your Own Suburban Homestead”

  1. Lori says:

    What a great article!!! I am new to the whole homesteading and self reliance thing but am so eager to learn. Thank you so much for your blog. I know it is going to help me a lot!

  2. Author says:

    Thanks Lori. Glad you are finding our information helpful. And – feel free to chime in anytime with topics you’d like to learn more about.

  3. Jessica says:

    Wonderful site! I am eager to start my own suburban homestead, but this year will be focusing on containers since we are in a rental. Do you have any suggestions for renters who want to get a homestead started but want to make it transportable for when they move into a home of their own?

  4. Author says:

    A large part of homesteading is a state of mind. You can begin no matter where you live. From learning about livestock to cooking more from scratch they are all skills you can take with you. Check out our In The Garden archive. There are a few articles on container gardening. The In The Barn archives has many posts about raising chickens which also might be helpful to you.

    Good Luck and Welcome aboard!

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