Does a homestead have to be in the country?

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Everywhere, almost, where we look when the word homestead and homesteading is mentioned it is done so in the same breath with country and countryside.

Now does this mean that you can only homestead in the boonies, on some property in the sticks? Can you only live the “good life” in the country?

To all intents and purposes a homestead can be anywhere, really. It depends on how one defines “homesteading” and “homestead” and the good life can be lived in suburbia as much as in the boonies, only it is on different scales.

Depending on where you live, which country and state, you may owner-build your home and thus can create a homestead even in the suburbs and even in town. As said, it is all a question of scale and perception.

It obviously depends on the local ordinances and rules as to what you can do and those you need to consider before acquiring a flock of hens for the backyard for instance or digging up the front garden to grown food.

Some local ordinances, we all know, are stupid in the extreme, such as where it is a felony to do rainwater harvesting for use in the garden and elsewhere. How come that someone, apparently, owns the rights to the water coming from your roof? The problem is, however, that if you break such laws you can be called to account for it. Therefore do check first as to what you can and cannot do.

In Britain, even though central government decreed, basically, that it is supposed to, now, be a right to be able to install PV panels or small wind turbines, the local authorities still insist that you go through the planning process and more often than not will refuse permission, despite of the fact they should grant it.

There are ways that you can “homestead” anywhere and much of it is a case of what you perceive as homesteading and homestead, as I have said already. A home with some garden space for growing food can be a urban or suburban homestead, no problem. And if your backyard (and front lawn) is not enough for your food growing requirements see whether you can get an allotment plot.

Anyone can can, and the double can is intended. Home canning, in jars; making preserves and jams; drying herbs and fungi; etc. is all homesteading, wherever this may happen.

Reducing your food miles, and otherwise your impact in the Planet too is homesteading.

When you put your mind to reusing and repurposing and even upcycling items of waste into usable and even saleable things then you are also homesteading, at least as far as I, and many others, are concerned.

When you go wild food foraging in countryside and urban parks then you are also homesteading, as far as I am concerned.

Homesteading is not just for the countryside and the boonies; homesteading is possible (almost) anywhere and everywhere.

© 2011