Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Many of the people who read Mother Earth News are interested in self-sufficiency, growing their own food, making food from scratch and raising animals for meat or fiber, if space (and laws) allow. However, many of those same readers also, like myself, live in the city. We enjoy the benefits of farm life and city life, adding in the convenience of urban transportation, diversity, great restaurants and access to world class arts.
But, there are drawbacks. Legal restrictions. Neighbors that are too close that may not appreciate your activities. Lack of space to plant an orchard or raise a milk cow. The list goes on. Many of us dream of living further out to do the things we really want to do when, really, most of the things we want to do can be accomplished right in our own backyards.
Growing a substantial amount of food just means the willingness to convert a lot of your yard into food growing spaces. If you are fortunate to live in a city like Seattle that has forward thinking laws, you can raise rabbits, a half dozen chickens, a couple of dwarf dairy goats and some bees. What else do you really need?
All the other activities we think of when it comes to being self-sufficient can be done no matter where you live - cooking and heating with a wood stove, cheese making, home brewing, soap making, bread baking, canning, sewing, knitting, etc. Again, the list goes on and few things prevent you from doing them besides, perhaps, funds and the gumption to do them.
If you call yourself an urban farmer or homesteader and dream of the country, what do you wish you had or could do differently? Is your wanderlust for more space really just holding you back from creating what you really want in the space you already have?
Photo credit: Linda N.