4 Low-Cost Ways to Homestead in the Suburbs
You can homestead from anywhere—even the suburbs. Learn four simple, low-cost ways to get started on your journey.
Oftentimes the words “homestead” and “suburbs” seem to be opposites of each other. It can be difficult to navigate wanting to live a more self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyle while living in an environment that is fast-paced and all about hustle. That said, there are several ways you can live out your homestead dreams while living in a suburban area.
Ready to Homestead in the Suburbs? Here's How to Get Started
1. Get connected with your local farmers' market
We're lucky to live in a small city that's surrounded by a “rural buffer,” which means that if you drive about 20 minutes from the city center, you’ll hit green pastures, vegetable gardens, and livestock galore. This means that our local farmers' market is flourishing every Saturday morning!
Attending your local farmers' markets is a great way to support your local economy and family farms, and the products are often far higher quality than what you can get at the grocery store. Supporting local farmers also reduces your carbon footprint, as the food doesn't need to travel as far to reach your plate. It’s a win-win for everyone.
If you aren’t sure where your closest farmers' market is, Local Harvest has a tool to help you get connected. You may be surprised to learn what local farming communities you can support, even if you live in a more urban area.
2. Learn how to sew and mend your own clothing
In our consumerist society, knowing how to sew on a new button or repair a small tear in your jeans has become somewhat of a lost art. Despite how daunting it may seem at first, sewing is a rather beginner-friendly hobby that has relatively low start-up costs.
You don’t have to launch straight into sewing your own dresses and aprons from scratch: simply purchasing a sewing kit to have on hand for any minor garment repairs is a step in the right direction. If you want a more creative outlet, embroidery hoops or knitting are some other ideas to consider. Not only do these things help reduce fashion waste, but they also encourage upcycling. Plus, you get to learn a new skill that will be helpful to have on hand!
3. Make your own bread
Remember that one loaf of sourdough bread you made in April 2020 when breadmaking was all the internet was talking about? Let this be your reminder that sourdough is actually a low-cost way to be more sustainable in the kitchen!
Since I began working with sourdough just last month, we've saved hundreds of dollars just on bread alone. Sourdough can be used to make sandwich bread, pancakes, muffins, and more. The best part is that you don’t need to buy a sourdough starter, and if you don’t know anyone locally who has one to share, all you need to make your own is flour, water, and patience.
It typically takes anywhere from 5-7 days to get your starter active enough to bake with. Perhaps the best part of sourdough is that you can adjust it to fit your schedule. You can feed your starter in the morning, evening, or the middle of the day. You can even keep it in the fridge if you don’t have time to feed it every day!
For busy suburban families, sourdough can seem overwhelming, but it's flexible, resilient, and adjusts to fit your family’s needs.
4. Support local businesses and artists
Let’s be honest, sometimes the homesteading revival can feel more like a TikTok trend than a return to traditional ways of interacting with our food, families, and homes.
The “homestead” aesthetic is on the rise, which means many folks are revamping their interior design. When it comes to shopping for home decor, many folks will run straight to HomeGoods or Amazon. However, this is the perfect opportunity to connect with your local makers and to support artists.
While local art and home goods tend to be on the pricier side, the trade-off is receiving a piece that's handmade and unique to you. No one else will own that same piece of decor. Now that’s charming and eco-friendly.
Above all, it’s important to remember that “homesteading” is a broad word. Find what works for your family, what piques your curiosity, and encourages you to live a more sustainable, regenerative life. No two homesteads look identical: that’s the point! Find one thing that's exciting to you and give it your all.
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