1) Stay In One Place
Decide to make a commitment to one place. Become passionately attached and attuned to your surroundings. Learn what your community needs, discover what you can offer, and get involved.
2) Observe, Reflect, Then Act
Take the permaculture approach of observing your surroundings and reflecting on what you can learn from Nature’s example. Although it can be tempting to quickly advance your homestead, taking your time and reflecting on the long-term goals before taking action can help avoid many mistakes. Once you know your place and have set your goals, you can act with wisdom and confidence.
3) Grow Some Food
A simple way to start reconnecting with the land, cycles, and seasons, is to grow some food. The desire for healthy food is often the catalyst for making a more complete shift into a sustainable lifestyle. Plant a few tomatoes or create an elaborate edible landscape; just find some time each day to be outside with your hands in the soil.
4) Start Becoming Re-Skilled
Become well versed in homesteading skills – preserving food, making soap, mending clothes, knitting socks, chopping wood, fixing your bicycle. These are valuable life skills that save us money, allow us to move from being consumers to producers, and reconnect us with our past. Discover the wide range of knowledge that is available, often for free, in your city. Learn from your elders, set up an apprenticeship, take workshops, attend lectures, volunteer with a community project, devour resource books at your local library.
5) Get Rid of Your Car
Try an experiment by leaving your car at home for one week and making your regular commutes by alternate methods. What did you discover? Did you strike up conversations with other pedestrians? Did you feel more energized? Was your stress level reduced? Become familiar with the many transportation options your city has to offer – walking routes, bicycle paths, bus services, carpooling networks, car sharing organizations.
6) Reduce Your Energy Consumption
How much energy does your home consume each month? Get to know what the major sources of electrical consumption are in your house – washers, refrigerators, dryers, and older furnaces. Use your appliances wisely, and make a decision to reduce your energy consumption in your daily life in these areas.
7) Make and Make Do
Go way beyond reducing, reusing and recycling. Add in restoring, reviving, reinventing, repairing and, most importantly, refraining from unnecessary consumer purchases.
8) Involve Your Children
Urban homesteading is a daily lifestyle filled with rich educational potential, and can be immensely fun when shared by the whole family. Allow your children to be a full part of the homestead, with special tasks that are all their own. Collecting eggs, watering the garden, baking bread, and tending the worm bin are all situations ripe for learning new skills, building confidence, and generating meaningful discussions.
9) Engage your Community
Urban homesteading is not about achieving self-sufficiency. It’s about building a network of skilled, resourceful, ecologically minded people in a community, who can share their knowledge with each other. It’s about developing a resilient city where people can rely on each other as needs arise.
10) Work with Joy
Emma Goldman has been quoted as saying, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” Amid the demanding bustle of daily life on our urban homestead, we need to remember to take time for celebrating, working mindfully, and including elements of beauty and art. Only if we do our tasks with joy will we be able to sustain the long-term goals of our homesteading life, and inspire others to join us in this movement.