In Praise of Slow Living: Life As An Urban Homesteader
Every morning my husband and I check on our flock of chickens. We go on daily egg hunts and tend to our ever-expanding vegetable plot. I bake sourdough bread and make kombucha. The garden, which started as a small clearing in our yard, has grown with our life here: The more we plant, the more our community grows.
Why We Went Slow
Urban homesteading springs from a need to reconnect to our past, our home culture, our language, and our cuisine.
Fast-paced city living focuses on our role as consumers: We are defined by the products we choose. Urban homesteading shifts the attention away from consumption and turns it to creation. I make as much of what we need as I can: I create my own labels and make enough food to enjoy ourselves and have some left over to share. My cupboard still contains store-bought staples, but meeting this challenge builds my sustainability muscle.
Slow, Not Easy
Slow living can sometimes feel like a juggling routine. For example, I need to pick up a few items for my jam-making session, which requires pumping up my bike tires, finding the appropriate footwear, and peddling to the nearest store. Every project requires a stepwise process and pre-planning. Tackling multiple projects means managing enough processes to fill a spreadsheet. Simple living is not without challenges.
Community is an important part in our homesteading life. If I make bread or pickles for my family, it’s just as easy to make extra for my neighbors and, of course, a jar for the potluck. If I have unwanted books, I give the neighbors a chance to adopt them before hauling them to the thrift store.
The year we decided to become chicken-keepers my husband and I organized a community build, calling on friends and neighbors to help build our chicken coop. We had lots of good food and live music. The chickens kept the children entertained, the coop was built, and we all got plenty of fresh air and exercise.
From clothing swaps and repurposing workshops to community building, there is room for so much life within our ever-expanding circle.
Recommended Reading for Slow Living
The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City
Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World
The Power of Just Doing Stuff: How Local Action Can Change the World
- Indigenous Medicine & Culture,
- Nature Conservation,
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