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Homesteading Skills that City Dwellers Can Learn

by Tiffany in The Homestead

Homesteading Skills that City Dwellers Can Learn - naturemoms.comI love living in the city. I tried the whole rural farm and rural living thing (twice) and it just wasn’t for me. I hated living so far away from civilization. I hated how much time was taken from us by having to commute to jobs in the city. I hated the critters… aka the mice when we lived among cornfields in Ohio and the rattlesnakes when we lived on a mountaintop in Arizona.

I adore nature and spend lots of time outside and we choose a place to live based upon how close we are to nature… it is just that we also choose a location in or extremely close to the city too. We are city dwellers who love our nature walks AND our museums and cafes. I read recently that by 2030¬†two-thirds of us will be living in cities so apparently more and more of us are choosing city life.

Choosing to live in the city does not mean we can become dependent upon all that cities offer though. We can’t allow ourselves to get lazy and eschew the skills handed down over generations even if we already see that happening. Many inner city kids today have no idea how food is grown and they are horrified to learn it grows in dirt (GASP!) City folks in general are forgetting the basics such as how to mend your clothing, grow your own food, or even cook a decent meal with fresh REAL ingredients. When we lose these skills we lose freedom. We lose our very ability to take care of ourselves and our families. We become reliant on others for our basic needs and that is very, very sad. Also kind of dumb.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. The concept of urban homesteading allows us to recapture some of those skills and learn to take charge of our own lives and health. We may not find it practical to learn how to milk a cow or sow a field of winter wheat but there are many things we can learn and practice in the city. In fact if you look, you will often find classes being taught where you can learn these skills. Every major city I have lived in has had a place where you can take sewing classes for instance. Do a little research and you will find that there are many homestead skills you can learn and use even if you live in the big city. Here are a few of them:

Make soap
Sew and mend clothing
Refashion thrift store finds
Lanolize wool
Make and use cloth diapers
Needlework – crochet, knitting, cross stitching, quilting
Canning Food
Buying food from farmer’s and u-pick farms
Composting – bin, indoors/out, worms
Reuse and repurpose what you have
Collect rain water
Small scale gardening and container gardening
Bake sourdough bread
Cook from scratch
Ferment foods (kraut, pickles)
Make vinegar
Makes mixes and condiments form scratch (taco seasoning, mayo)
Make bone and vegetable broth
Grind your own wheat or corn
Sprout nuts, seeds, and beans
Make jams, jellies, preserves, and salsas
Render lard and tallow
Make your own pet food
Make laundry detergent
Wash clothing by hand, wringer, drying racks, clothesline etc.
Fishing and cleaning a fish
Learn to shoot
Hunt wild game, clean and dress them
Forage for wild edibles
Grow herbs
Aquaponic and hydroponic growing (small scale)
Use cast iron
Cook in a dutch oven
Cook over an open flame
Make cheese and butter, sour cream, and yogurt
Make kombucha and kefir
Make candles
Bee keeping
Keep chickens
Keep rabbits
Natural methods for bug and pest control
Build and maintain fences
Use essential oils and herbs in home remedies
Make herbal extracts, infusions, poultices, and tinctures
Use solar energy (also solar powered gadgets)
Car maintenance (change oil, tires, etc)
Basic plumbing, electrical, and carpentry skills

Do you have any to add?

  • paigewolf

    I love this! I live in the city and like to consider myself an “urban homesteader!” In so many ways it is greener than living in a rural area – we almost never drive and live in a small space!

  • Anna @GreenTalk

    My next adventure is making soap. Love this list.

  • SippyCupMom

    I love all of these ideas! I really would love to do a ton of stuff on this list. Maybe I’ll try making m own laundry detergent first.

  • I am a tree hugging farm girl stuck in the burbs of Atlanta! I love all the diy, make it yourself stuff. Although, I would miss Starbucks if I had to leave!

  • Lindsay

    Love this! There are so many great country traditions and lessons that can be used in urban and suburban life. It’s inspiring to see a growing movement of people taking up some of “gradma’s best traditions” as our friend Anne Brock would say!

  • bethbot

    Great list! So many things that we can DIY for a huge savings (and lower impact on the environment). Now if only I could find the space and time!

  • Living on a budget we do many things for ourselves, grow food, maintain our vehicles and do our own handy man work. I like to use things over and over again so I sew and patch things up too. Imagine if the entire world went back to that way. So much less waste

  • Ashley @ Cute as a Fox

    That is a pretty comprehensive list! I know that we do some of those things, but other’s I would really like to try. I really like that people that urban homesteading is becoming popular. It is so important to be self reliant.

  • Ourfamilyworld

    That’s a huge list. I have never thought of all these things to make at home. I am a city girl too!

  • I love lists and this is a cool one. It’s fun to see which ones I’m already doing and others that I’d like to give a go.