The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne


The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne is an essential handbook for those interested in self-sufficient living in the city. The book covers various topics such as growing and preserving your own food, raising chickens, gaining energy independence, and cleaning your house without toxins. The authors provide step-by-step projects, tips, and anecdotes to help readers get started with homesteading immediately.

The book proposes a paradigm shift that will improve our lives, our community, and our planet by growing our own food and harnessing natural energy. It is written by city dwellers for city dwellers and is copiously illustrated with two-color instructions. The book also points readers to the best books and internet resources on self-sufficiency topics.

Useful takeaways from the book include:

  • How to grow food on a patio or balcony
  • How to preserve or ferment food and make yogurt and cheese
  • How to compost with worms
  • How to keep city chickens
  • How to divert grey water to your garden
  • How to clean your house without toxins
  • How to guerilla garden in public spaces
  • How to create the modern homestead of your dreams

Overall, The Urban Homestead is a delightfully readable and very useful guide to front- and back-yard vegetable gardening, food foraging, food preserving, chicken keeping, and other useful skills for anyone interested in taking a more active role in growing and preparing the food they eat.

What I Liked

Everything – it was one of the most practical & useful books that I’ve ever read. It was packed full of interesting, vetted ideas – and written for people who want to pick and choose to slowly start moving in the direction of self-sufficiency. I got a rain barrel because of this book I also love their approach of getting all the benefits of city living without the dependence. It is much more sustainable for humans to live densely in cities…but it’s even better if we can live sustainably in cities without sucking up resources. I like how this book really leans into that idea. You don’t have to take up 10+ acres (which is literally unsustainable for 8 billion people) to practice less consumption.

What I Did Not Like

It was written in 2006 and some technologies and techniques have evolved and gotten better. Also, YouTube homestead how-tos are a whole genre.

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