- Author: Betty Homer
Urban homesteading has been picking up speed, especially in the Bay Area, in the past few years. People, both young and old, are re-discovering skills once regarded as common knowledge by our grandparents and the generations before them. Skills such as tending a garden, growing edibles, cooking, keeping bees, raising animals (e.g., chickens and goats) cheese making, canning, preserving and fermenting foods from the garden, and basic carpentry, are all making a come-back. Indeed, urban homesteading has become so popular, that even mainstream corporate America has caught on. The posh San Francisco-based retailer, Williams-Sonoma, has even taken notice and developed their own line of homesteading products called “Agrarian” (I won’t go into it here, but that move has been met with controversy among urban homesteaders).
While there are a great number of resources on urban homesteading, for those starting out and wondering if this lifestyle is for them, the Institute on Urban Homesteading located in Oakland, California, is offering a (paid but affordable) tour of 7 different urban farms/gardens located at private residences in the East Bay on June 9, 2012 from 11 am - 5 pm. I had the pleasure of attending a tour of 3 urban farms last year to observe the creativity and ingenuity of people who squeeze utility out of every inch of their urban space to grow and raise their own food sustainably (see pictures below). Although utility tends to come first in managing an urban farm/garden, with beauty secondary, some of the urban farms on the tour were/are as beautiful as they were/are useful.
For more information, see http://iuhoakland.com/events.html .