How to Make City Streets More Friendly

Laughter, lively music and lip-smacking appreciation of food from many cultures animates St. Anthony Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota, as a crowd whoops it up at the Better Bridges Bash. Even chilly temperatures and gusty winds can’t dampen folks’ enthusiasm — nor does the unpromising location right next to the roaring traffic on the I-94 freeway. That’s the point of the event: to better connect neighborhoods on either side of the freeway by improving the bridges and to explore ways to make the area more friendly to people when they are not in cars.

Salvaging Campus Trees for Education

Indiana University of Pennsylvania's groundbreaking "Harvest to Use" program uses a portable sawmill to salvage campus trees for education and community projects.

Woodworking Arborist Salvages Urban Trees

Working as an arborist in Colorado, Ryan Baldwin saw an opportunity to salvage city trees destined for the dump into usable lumber for woodworking projects.

Oregon Company Salvages Urban Timber

After seeing beautiful trees in Oregon going to waste, Seth Filippo realized the Pacific Northwest had a huge underutilized resource in urban wood.

We Live on Planet Mother

Land-based people have a global culture of relationship with nature. This powerful experience of interconnection is extremely valuable too turn us away from the colonized food system.

The Importance of Community for Homesteaders

Homesteading is built upon a foundation of self sufficiency, but community is just as important. There is so much more to homesteading than the individual pleasure associated with it. There is true joy and friendship in the shared labor of land.

The Growing Economy of Salvaged Urban Wood

Megan Offner of New York Heartwoods is salvaging downed and damaged city trees to redirect material from our waste stream, decrease greenhouse emissions, and fuel the demand for local wood products.

Gardening While Renting

Gardening includes permanent features like raised beds, perennials, fencing, and soil building. How can one think permanently when renting is all about the temporary?

Becoming (Accidental) Urban Farmers

An urban homestead is as unique as the individuals who own the property. Our homestead developed slowly. In fact, my wife likes to joke that we are “accidental homesteaders.” We did not buy our village home nestled on 1/16th of an acre with the goal of becoming urban farmers, it just sort of happened, out of necessity.

Our Summer with a Community Garden Plot

While this young couple had dreams of buying land to start their homestead, they were still stuck in an apartment in the big city so they rented a community garden plot. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Find ways to accomplish your goals and do what you love!

Farming at Every Scale

Did you know you can grow potatoes in an apartment? Whether you live in an apartment or on a hundred acre farm, you can take steps towards self reliance and lifestyle independence. Living with limited space doesn't have to be a setback towards homesteading, and there are many creative ways you can take advantage of your space to get the most out of it.

Agroecology Techniques for the Fall

How do we apply life-changing agricultural practices in under-served urban areas? This is a brief sketch of agroecology in the urban, Southeastern region of the United States. Agroecology, food forestry and permaculture all begin by developing small densely planted, oxygen rich, microclimates that when linked in clusters or chains across and area drastically increase biological diversity and plant food production.

How to Find the Right-Sized Town for You

The first question on the path to creating a sustainable homestead is: Where should I live? Find out how population and topography characterize a town and use a simple method to map your region and locate and research the right-sized town for your home.

Folk School Redefined: The Homestead Atlanta

Resiliency education, if it is to be effective, should reach the masses and this poses the most difficult challenges in an urban setting. The Homestead Atlanta is a folk school dedicated to empowering communities in the city of Atlanta, Georgia. Workshops include useful heritage crafts and new age sustainability innovations to offer a curriculum designed to integrate fruitful skills into the everyday.

13 Signs You May Be an Urban Farmer

When I first started gardening in this place, I was surveying my four by ten raised bed of greens with pride one afternoon. “You really are a farmer, not a gardener,” a friend observed. Take this short quiz to see if you are a gardener or have slid into the realm of "urban farmer."

Urban Food Sovereignty is Our Goal

Assisting urban residents in moving toward local food production is an innovative strategic plan for resilient growth. This blog post will outline some of Grow Where You Are’s core projects and outreach methods in an effort to share best practices for developing local food systems in communities that are most in need.

Farming on a Tenth of an Acre in Town

You do not have to have “land” to farm. You can farm where ever you are. A 10th of an acre is enough and, on some days, more than you would want to can handle. Make the best use of your space, care for your soil, be thrifty with water and enjoy the garden and the fruits of your labor.

Grow Where You Are: Community Partnerships Support Local Food Production

Grow Where You Are is a social enterprise focusing on assisting communities in creating local food abundance systems. After creating small-scale urban food systems nationally and internationally for over 15 years, we see that even the most effective systems can be easily dismantled without land security. We propose supporting local growers in a transition to home ownership with a dynamic web of community partnership.

What Your Garden Can Teach About Cities

Shifting our built environments from the current linear blocks of car-centric urban sprawl to more integrated human-scale and life-sustaining organisms is not much different in principle than turning a concrete yard into a permaculture plot. We have to think in terms of arrangement of vital nodes, distance between interdependent threads, paths of least resistance, utilizing existing natural conditions, and maximizing water, energy and food sources.

Urban Community Green Spaces

Urban community green spaces are an essential component of our built environment. Their significance is becoming more and more apparent to city planners and urban residences all over the United States.

Suburban Permaculture Transforms Neighborhoods

“You don't have to move to live in a better neighborhood.” Half of all Americans live in suburbia. It’s true that suburbia is on the receiving end of a lot of social, economic and environmental criticism with much of that criticism well deserved. While some of these criticisms may be justified, at the same time, suburbia offers enormous potential to become a critical new frontier for deep changes in our culture and economy through principles of suburban permaculture.

Gourmet Garlic: Turbans

Is your growing season a bit too short for gourmet garlic? Turban garlic cultivars may be the solution!

Steadfast Garlic

Garlic is resilient, easy-to-grow, highly nutritious, and a natural antibiotic.

Legal Front Yard Gardens Go Beyond Containers

St. Paul, Minnesota, not only allows front yard gardens and promotes growing vegetables in containers, but encourages residents to beautify the boulevard with plants, including edibles.

Urban Beekeeping

Keeping bees with neighbors in the city or the burbs.

Building a Cheap Greenhouse

HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel shares how she built a cheap greenhouse out of mostly scavenged materials - and how you can, too.

How to Turn Suburbs Into Food Paradises

Ziggy Liloia examines two poignant books, Paradise Lot and Gaia’s Garden that turn the idea of needing lots of space to grow ample food on its head.

Dental Surgery On a Rabbit!

Using rabbit hypnosis and a pair of wire cutters we successfully perform dental surgery on one of our does.

Urban Meat, Part II: Pigs

Pigs can be a great source of healthy and humanely-raised meat in an urban setting thriving on the leftovers of humanity.

Living a Resilient Urban Life Good Food Festival & Conference partner Vicki Nowicki shares her experience living, learning, and teaching on her suburban permaculture homestead.

City Food for City Bees

Bee populations in urban settings are increasing, but urban settings aren’t set up to provide lots of forage for honey bees... or are they?

Bike Boom More Than Just a Fad

The growing bike boom may be more than just a fad. It may be a full-blown movement toward a more sustainable mode of transportation.

Avoiding Urban Beekeeping Problems

OK, you’ve got a start: where to get equipment, groups to join, classes to take, and mentors to hook up with. Now’s the time, before you have bees, to take a long hard look at some of the rest of the things you need to be thinking about.

Cycling Tour to Benefit TREE Fund

The week-long STIHL Tour des Trees is an international cycling tour combining natural beauty, camaraderie and fundraising for the benefit of urban trees.

The Urban Food Forest: A Groundbreaking Trend in Urban Agriculture

Urban food forests and public gardens provide communities with an edible landscape for everyone to share. These public fruit forests are the new trend in urban agriculture and play an important role as sustainable local food systems in their communities.  

HOMEGROWN Life: The Making of a Hugelkultur Bed

Hugelkultur is nothing more than making raised garden beds filled with rotten wood. This makes for raised garden beds loaded with organic material, nutrients, air pockets for the roots of what you plant, etc.

What is Mycorrhizal Fungi?

I asked Heather, the Marketing and Customer Service Specialist over at Thrive, a few questions and here’s what she said about mycorrhizal fungi.

The Amazing Serviceberry

Introducing the serviceberry, a beautiful landscape tree or shrub suitable in much of North America, to the edible landscape. Serviceberry -- or sarvis -- comes in many regional forms and produces edible berries.

What is an OMRI Listing?

Organic is a phrase that’s tossed around and abused a lot by marketers these days. Not all “organic” products should be treated equally.

The Lazy Urban Gardener's Safety Net

So, what do you do if you neglected to start your veggies way back in January or February? You had good intentions but there always seemed to be something that stole your attention. Now it’s the planting season and you have nothing to plant...

Growing Tomatoes Without Chemicals

When you ask people if they want chemicals in their garden or on their food, most will say no. They want to limit their exposure to the chemicals and pollutants.

Rooftop Beekeeping Photography

If you have ever thought about beekeeping photography then this article is perfect. Geoff Fitzgerald talks about his motivation for the topic and what got him started on the rooftops of Brooklyn. There are also some fantastic urban beekeeping photos.

My First Time: A Garden Connection With My Grandpa

My first blog for MOTHER EARTH NEWS takes me back to a time when I didn't know I had a love of gardening. One of my first gardening experiences came during an unlikely encounter with my curmudgeon grandfather.

The Future of Urban Gardening

Learn about the advantages of urban farming from those who are leading the way. The benefits include improved food production, increased revenue sources and reduced energy use.

Tips for Seed-Starting Success

You want to start your urban garden from seed this year, but you're not sure where to start because you’ve only started from transplants.

Wild Man in The Suburbs!

Jerry is no ordinary guy. Don’t be fooled by his rather gruff exterior. Laughing eyes, and a twitch at the corner of his mouth, quickly verify that humor lies within! This wild man in the suburbs has some interesting hobbies which keep him well fed!

Visiting Grandpa on His Urban Farm

Carmen Ortiz shares stories of visiting grandpa on his urban farm where she learned to milk cows, avoided the outhouse and gained an appreciation for gardening.

Easy Tips for Starting Your Seeds Indoors

One way to get a jumpstart on the growing season is to start growing your seeds indoors. For most of you it’s still cold outside. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get a headstart on getting your garden started for the new year.

HOMEGROWN Life: The Potato Bin Experiment

After a completely miserable potato harvest this year we’ve decided to pull them out of the ground and do them in boxes made out of pallets. That way we can use weedblock under them to eliminate the whole bindweed issue. So today, the boxes went up.

New Chick on the Block

The Front Yard Coop Supplies Innovative and Elegant Chicken Coops to Meet Rapidly Growing Interest in Raising Hens.

4 Recipes for Your Summer Harvest

It’s the middle of summer and you are likely enjoying the harvests. There is` so much to do with all that fresh and flavorful produce, but what should you do?

Living HOMEGROWN: Am I Doing This Right?

I am the Flock-Tender here on I am keeping a chronicle of my experiences learning, living, and growing a homegrown lifestyle fresh out of college. Am I doing this life right?

A Home in the City, a Homestead for Life

Julie Lavigne relates her grandparent’s home in the city, a modern homestead for their time, and proves you can live a self-sufficient lifestyle in an urban setting.

DIY Seed Starter Pots

It might be the middle of the summer, but you should start thinking about getting your fall garden ready. If you don’t have much space, to plant everything outdoors, then you can certainly start your seeds indoors.

Food Waste in America

We are taught when we are kids not to waste food, but it doesn’t seem as if that lessen has stuck with us.

Gardening Doesn't Have to Be Expensive

People often dismiss gardening as an expensive hobby that they can’t afford. While that can be true, it doesn’t have to be. There are way to make gardening cheap.

Urban Farms Bike Tour = Sunday Fun Day Adventure

Kansas City has a thriving city farming scene, and recently hosted an urban farms tour to showcase several of the city’s market and community gardens. One of our editors pedaled along with a bike tour group to see what the city farmers have to offer.  

The Politics of Gardening

Some people use gardening as an escape from the trials and tribulations of the real world. It’s their time to get their hands dirty, connect with the earth and just be in their garden.

Growing Food as a Family

Parents will often say that they don't have time to grow their own food because they have kids. Don't let kids be the excuse. Instead make them part of the experience too. It's what families have done since the beginning of time. The past 100 yea

Two Ways to Use a Shipping Pallet in Your Garden

When you are apartment gardening in a small space, you are forced to be creative due to your space constrictions. Most traditional pots and containers might not work, so you become reliant on reusing objects to better fit your space.

Organic: What Does It Mean to You?

When you say “organic” most people think of elitists that are buying over priced food because they think that they are better than others. What does the “organic” really mean though?

Backyard urban beekeeping

Deciding on urban beekeeping may just mean hosting a hive - some of the honey and none of the work!

The Spiritual Side of Growing Your Food

A post by Maria Rodale called A Harvest of Healing got me thinking about how gardening and growing your own food is much more than what you harvest.

Suburban Homesteader From Down Under

I am new to America, and new to the suburbs, having previously lived in rural Australia. I now live in suburban Indiana. During the past two years I have been trying to set up an "urban homestead" for our family. The neighbors are curious and amused.

Backyard Wild Morels

Finding wild morel mushrooms growing in our urban backyard means plenty of marvelous meals.

How To Make a Self-Watering Container

Containers are great for those that are gardening in small spaces. Though there is the fear of not knowing when or how often to water them. This is why I started to make my own self-watering containers.

Three Ways To Reuse Soda Bottles in Your Garden

Growing your own food doesn't have to be an expensive activity. There are plenty of ways to cut back the costs and be earth-friendly as well. You can do this by giving a second life to items that have outgrown their initial purpose.

Food Prices Might Be Rising, But You Can Do Something About It

In the United States, we are feeling the effects of the rising food prices as well. When you take a deeper look into the prices, it’s not the food that is causing the price to rise. It’s everything else that goes into getting the food to your plate t

Small Space Gardening That's Affordable

Regardless of how little space you have, you can grow some of your own food. Space is just an excuse. By building a self-watering container or soda bottle planter you can maximize the space that you have. You don't have to have a huge garden - growi

How Did America Lose Its Connection With Food?

While there are many events that have lead us to where we are today in terms of food, there are some things/events that stand out the most in my mind. Growing your own food is one way to reverse the trend.

Foamy Shampoo Bar Recipe

Skip the packaging and synthetic chemicals and learn how to make your own, cold-processed shampoo bars.

Reconnect With Your Food and Grow Your Own

When you grow your own food, you not take a step towards self-sufficiency. You also make a move towards better health and whole new relationship with your food.

The Nature of Garden Giving

Can’t have a garden of your own, but you want to garden? Urban Garden Share allows you to do exactly that!

Good Wood

Simran Sethi looks into the furniture and logging industries.

Urban Agriculture and Garden Training

Amid mounting concerns over food security and sustainable food systems, the rise of urban gardens and agriculture has been on the rise. Due to a paralleled increase in the numbers of people interested in learning how to garden, programs in urban agriculture at colleges as well as nonprofit urban garden training programs have sprouted up across the country.

Coffee Chaff Chicken Coop Litter

Coffee bean chaff — the light, airy husks blown off the beans during roasting, can be used as chicken coop litter, mulch and compost. Chaff can usually be found for free at local roasteries.

Homesteading in the Urban Wilds

 Lyanda Haupt talks about the challenges and rewards of protecting her chickens and garden from local wildlife.

Urban Homesteading: Settling In

Using natural products, such as grass clippings and homemade organic fertilizer, can turn the worst clay soil into an acceptable growing medium.

Urban Homestead: Moving In

Moving to an urban homestead is a challenge, but the boxes are getting unpacked and the birds are at the feeders.

Urban Homestead Home

Making the move to a historical neighborhood will offer an opportunity to develop community ties and try some new gardening techniques.

A Mangrove Valentine from New Caldonia

Photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand captures a verdant mangrove swamp shaped in a perfect heart — just in time for Valentine's Day. 

Self-sufficiency British Style

The Self Sufficient-ish Bible and accompanying Web site offer some universal tips for urban self-sufficiency.

Sustainable City Living

The book Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-It-Ourselves Guide is a collection of skills, tools, and technologies usable by urban residents wanting to have more local access and control over life's essential resources.