Have you ever built a solar powered food dehydrator in your garden? Do you know how to make your own household cleaners without using toxic chemicals? Can you repair any major toilet problem and reduce water usage with fixes that cost nothing? Have you ever made your own wine or beer from plants in your garden? Thought about raising chickens in the city?
Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen have simple advice for living simply and comfortably even if you don't own a lot of land (or live in an apartment). In a humorous, easy-to-read manner, they offer advice on composting, gardening, home brewing, and saving greywater, among other things. The Urban Homestead was a gift from my friend, who bought it for me after she read it. My fiance and I have both read it, and it is wonderful! It is incredibly comprehensive on how to reach a new level of self-sufficiency without buying land and moving to the country. There are several ideas in this book that I have always wanted to do, but was unsure of how to accomplish cost-effectively. I plan to buy a few copies of this book this year and hand them out to friends and family for birthday gifts. I hope they read it and continue the trend.
The Urban Homestead includes several suggestions for incorporating permaculture into your city garden, including a practice called "Three Sisters." This is where you plant corn, beans, and squash all together, and the beans climb up the corn stalks and they shade the squash. The corn and the squash will sap nitrogen from the soil, while the beans will replenish it. It was such a great idea that I can't wait to try it.
For further information, check out Coyne and Knutzen's blog.