How to Create a Sustainable Urban Homestead: Embracing City Gardening and Mindful Living for Sustainable Wellness

In the era of rapid urbanization and a growing concern for the environment, sustainable living practices are gaining significant attention. Urban homesteading, suburban farming, and city gardening are emerging as viable solutions for individuals seeking to reconnect with nature while living in urban environments. By embracing these practices, urban dwellers can create their own sustainable oasis, fostering a deeper connection with nature, promoting ecotherapy practices, and implementing mindful living. In this blog post, we will explore the steps to create a sustainable yet accessible urban homestead and experience the benefits of sustainable wellness.

Understanding Urban Homesteading and Sustainable

Urban homesteading refers to the practice of self-sufficiency in an urban setting by growing food, raising animals, and utilizing renewable resources. The way we define homesteading here at Corvus Botanicals goes even further. Self-sufficiency is not enough – we must cultivate sustainable communities, leaning on each other and fostering a spirit of reciprocity. By adopting sustainable living practices, individuals and communities can reduce their carbon footprint, conserve resources, and enhance the overall health of their communities. The concept of sustainable wellness encompasses not only physical well-being but also mental and environmental well-being. It encourages individuals and communities to establish a harmonious relationship with nature while embracing mindful living.

Assessing Space and Resources

Creating a sustainable urban homestead starts with assessing the available space and resources. While traditional homesteading might require vast plots of land, urban homesteading adapts to limited space constraints. Assess your outdoor area and spaces in your community, whether it's a backyard, balcony, or rooftop for individuals. Unused land space at your local church, condo/apartment, workplace, or an abandoned lot owned by the city can be turned into a community garden (or p-patch depending where you live). Determine the space’s potential for gardening, or even raising small livestock, and implementing renewable energy systems. Evaluate the resources available, such as sunlight, water sources, and soil quality, to maximize productivity. Also, consider the community members around you and ways you can incorporate reciprocity. For example, maybe your neighbor has a house on a lot where they can raise chickens and share their eggs with you, and in exchange you share some soap and bread you make in your condo kitchen. The possibilities are endless!

City Gardening for Sustainable Food Production

City gardening plays a crucial role in sustainable urban homesteading communities. Though you have to get a little bit more creative, utilize various gardening techniques, such as container gardening, vertical gardening, and raised beds, to optimize space utilization. Select plants that thrive well in your region and consider their water and sunlight requirements. Embrace organic gardening methods, including composting, crop rotation, and natural pest control, to minimize the use of chemicals and promote a healthier environment. Additionally, consider joining a local community garden (or creating your own) to expand your gardening options and foster a sense of community.

Raising Animals in Urban Settings

Raising animals, even in urban environments, can contribute to a sustainable urban homestead. Depending on local regulations, explore options such as keeping backyard chickens for eggs, rabbits for meat, or bees for honey and pollination. Ensure you understand the legalities, space requirements, and appropriate care for each animal. Implement sustainable practices in animal husbandry, including providing adequate space, proper nutrition, and ethical treatment. But let’s say you are in a condo or apartment; some folks love worm composting for their small space, but its also OK if raising animals is just not right for you. It is not a requirement to be an urban homesteader. You are still an urban homesteader even if you can’t raise animals or have lots of land. Your homestead will still thrive you’re your community still needs your unique contribution.  

Implementing Renewable Energy

Sustainable living goes beyond gardening and animal husbandry. Integrating renewable energy systems into your urban homestead can reduce reliance on fossil fuels and lower energy costs. Consider options such as solar panels or rainwater harvesting systems. Conduct a feasibility study to determine the most suitable renewable energy sources for your location, taking into account factors like available space, budget, and local regulations. Don’t overthink this one, though. This doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Even just conserving the water you already produce in your home can go a long way. For example; capturing gray water from your shower with a bucket and watering your non-edible plants with that. Every little bit helps!

Nurturing Nature Connection and Ecotherapy

Creating a sustainable urban homestead provides an opportunity to reconnect with nature and experience the therapeutic benefits of ecotherapy. Allocate spaces for relaxation and mindfulness, such as a meditation space at a local botanical garden or a reading nook in your home surrounded by greenery from your own indoor plants. Engage in activities like bird-watching, nature walks, or simply spending time outdoors to foster a deeper connection. In the words of author Robin Wall Kimmerer from my all-time favorite book “Braiding Sweetgrass,” she says “Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.”