Urban Homesteading?

The statistic shows the degree of urbanization in Canada from 2010 to 2020 and details the percentage of the entire population, living in urban areas. In 2020, 81.56 percent of the total population in Canada lived in cities. https://www.statista.com/statistics/271208/urbanization-in-canada/


I follow homesteading accounts on Instagram and I am inundated with images of farm houses and bucolic scenes with chickens and goats and expansive land. It is in wild contrast to what I am working with. I have a postage sized lot that is slowly getting more and more crowded with outbuildings due to lack of storage in the home.

When we first moved to this place I was so excited to have a sunny yard to be able to grow food in. I made up two garden plots and grew food fairly successfully for...a few meals but not for setting up a decent pantry or food stock. I became quite discouraged with the outcome of my vegetable garden. I spent more money on trying to grow what little food I grew than if I bought it from a grocery store or farmer's market. While the quality and flavour was sometimes better, it wasn't always better! It was disheartening. I longed for more land (still do to be honest) but I am thankful for the home we have, especially in today's crazy housing market and housing crisis.

A couple of years ago, I decided I wasn't going to grow my own food. While everyone during the pandemic went crazy with food gardening, I went the other way. I had a strong sense that it was more important for me to grow food for the wildlife. I wrote a brief post about this here https://www.urbancottagecreations.com/post/a-grocery-store-for-mrs-sparrow-and-her-friends My dilemma was how do I feel like I am still "homesteading" when I can't even grow enough food to satisfy my yearning to homestead in the traditional sense. Since it's not worth my money or time to grow food, I can instead, support local farmers and our farmers' markets. I can buy a bunch of beets and can them myself. I can buy pickling cucumbers and make pickles.

I can go pick berries, I can pick wild apples, I can stock up on meats and I can pick wild herbs for herbal remedies.

There will always be farmers growing food. If an apocalypse does happens, then I can return my entire little yard back to food growing. In the meantime, I am hoping I would have stocked up on some food to last us for the short term.

Setting up a pantry and food stock has always been important to me. It brings me comfort. Since our renos are on hold, we don't really have a proper set up for food storage. I have a shelf of canned goods and an ugly cabinet in an ugly closet with disorganized food in it. I am really hoping to change this once the renos are done...if they ever get done.

My point is you can homestead in the city, the burbs or the country, even if you don't have the space or physical ability to. It's a mindset, it's adapting and working with what you have. You can buy food, jars of pickles, jellies, jams, sauces, grains, vegetables for freezing or fermenting from the farmer's market and more! You can display the jars in the meantime you eat through them. You can make a pantry cupboard look good with nice storage containers. Canned goods, homespun fabrics, warm lighting, wood accents, bring that country homestead feel to any home, any where.

While I am inside the house with the decor, the feel of our home, performing the tasks of homemaking (canning, cooking, baking, knitting, crocheting, stitching and sewing) these satisfy my craving to live in the country, for the most part. When I step out our door this time of year however, I deflate. I am in the city with no leaves on trees yet, brown grass, garbage from the winter strewn everywhere, and I go into a funk. I don't like early spring. It's ugly. I feel like I am deluding myself most of the time. I slip into a temporary depression until I see leaves on trees and bees buzzing and butterflies flitting. I am still in the city but my small garden makes me feel like I'm not. Even if I hear my neighbour's dog barking incessantly or kids screaming or car alarms, my garden helps me get through those temporary noise pollution moments. By planting trees and bushes along the perimeter of the property I hope to not only get more privacy but to block out light pollution as well. I am trying to build up a green oasis where we don't see any neighbours even if we hear them.

Photo from a few summers ago

Homesteading is a state of mind, homesteading in the city requires great imagination and will to adapt and reinvent what it means. I have a wild imagination and determination to make it come true but I'll be honest in saying I go through times when I am defeated. I turned 56 two weeks ago, and in my years of living with my imagination and my funks, I know that I always come through the other side of those funks and keep on trying to make my homesteading

visions become reality.

I wish you all a home you can feel cozy and safe in and wish you grace and peace in all aspects of your lives.



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