Urban Homesteading and Survival

| 2/28/2013 11:51:07 AM

With the recent devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy and her wicked Nor'easter stepsister that blew in on her heels, people living along the east coast have seen horrible damage to personal property. Perhaps most vicious of this onslaught—next to the total devastation of certain coastal homes—was the loss of power and lack of fuel for transportation—which has affected millions of people's ability to heat their homes, and gain access to food and fresh water.

aquaponicsFor those of you who haven't been to Better Farm for a visit yet (where we provide the public with a "living laboratory" to discover a variety of methods for gardening and homesteading applicable to any living situation), here's a suggested "survival" list for those of you living in suburbs and cities. Utilizing these suggestions is great way to up your preparedness in the case of a future disaster. And as an added bonus, the bulk of these ideas are guaranteed to lower your carbon footprint in general.

• Go Solar. Imagine never having the power go out. Ever. If you've got an extensive solar set-up at your home (and a battery bank as back-up), you don't ever have to worry about being looped into the grid. Forget needing fuel or natural gas for your furnace or hot-water heater. Forget losing your computer power. Forget the lights going out. With all the incentives—along with the recent, dramatic drop in cost—it's getting increasingly difficult to explain why not to go solar.

• Buy a Solar Generator. While any backup generator is a good idea to have around in case of emergency, solar generators are great because they don't rely on access to fuel.

• Buy a Solar Charger. Your cell phone is crucial if you need to call for help, so make sure it never loses power. Solar Chargers have seen a big drop in cost—get one now to avoid ever being without access to help.

• Install a Wood Stove. You should check the zoning laws in your particular town or city, but in many places having a wood-burning stove can make all the difference in the world when the power goes out. They heat more efficiently than any fireplace, you can cook right on top of them, and they make a great addition to any home.

• Harvest Your Rainwater. While some places in the Southwest have actually outlawed rainwater harvesting (yuck!), most places won't bust you for installing a barrel at the bottom of your gutter system's downspout. This water is great for irrigation on your garden, but can also serve in a pinch for showering, washing dishes, general cleaning, pet water, and even water for your own consumption (if you have purification tablets—be sure you know what to treat for).

3/20/2013 3:43:00 PM

Great advice! Look here for a solar power backpack, so you can charge your mobile devices and be able to store what you need for whatever emergency comes your way. www.jbullivant.com/christinecastaldo

Ed Essex
3/6/2013 3:54:00 PM

This article is full of good advice. I hope people pay attention. Ed Essex

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