Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Urban Homesteading

Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen include a chapter on Livestock in their book, The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Media, http://www.processmediainc.com/, $16.95). In an urban setting, that leads off with chickens and ducks, but also includes rabbits, pigeons, quail and bees.

Their folksy, direct style clearly covers the basics of small livestock keeping, in perspective of a comprehensive single volume on the subject. Their advice covers every possible question I could think of, from gardening and composting to cooking, baking and preserving food, water and power alternatives and transportation. Their blog provides a current commentary on their experiences, http://www.homegrownevolution.com/. We’re all learning all the time.

The Urban Homestead is the kind of book everyone can find useful. Those who are already involved will surely find helpful new ideas – I’m now confident I can recognize a ladybug larva, an effective aphid control bug, although the hug they recommend might be difficult. Those who are complete newbies can get started, and those who simply want to make some conservation changes will find things that can serve their lives now and prepare them for a bigger step in the future.

“Never put off homesteading because you think you are in the wrong place,” they advise. Even if you live in a windowless box, or in the most tight-assed planned community ever conceived by a black-hearted developer, there are ways to homestead. Even if you can’t grow food in your own backyard, you can forage for edible plants, tend a plot in a community garden, preserve and ferment foods, whether they are from a farmers’ market or a dumpster dive. You can lessen your dependence on the car, or build community in your neighborhood. The homestead is about much more than just growing food.”

Thanks, Kelly and Erik, for this excellent addition to helping us all become more self-sufficient.

No comments: