Best Made Guide Bio: Charlotte Sullivan, Urban Homesteading
Urban homesteading is described quite well by the Hussin Brothers, of the America ReCycled project: “The act of transforming a city or suburban home to produce some sort—or all—of its resident’s subsistence needs. [Thereby] reducing environmental impacts and returning to a home based, family centered, self-sufficient, way of life.”
Having lived on both small farms and in various wildernesses, I now find myself living in a home very much connected to the grid. Rather than try to escape this suburban reality, I have embraced it on multiple levels. I try to bring the lessons of the woods and the barn into my house and community. Luckily where I live, “town” isn’t too far away from farm land, so I’ve been able to continue working in agriculture. Working on a farm has allowed me to obtain as much of my food as possible directly from the fields. Throughout the busy, busy summer I’ve canned enough tomato sauce to last myself and domestic partner the winter. Since we are in New England, we also preserved a great deal of fruit. (My knowledge of forested landscapes led us to find gallons of wild—and therefore free—black raspberries and blackberries in scrubby, unmaintained grounds just down the street).
And there are things I do to remind myself of the wilderness life I sometimes miss. For example, once a month I live without electricity. These days always create a wonderful and uninterrupted stillness (no computers and cell phones)! These days have also inspired a lot of backyard grilling, usually whole chickens over a woodfire. This chicken will then last the whole week—both for dinners, or transformed into chicken salad, for lunch.
I would say that anyone can really be an Urban Homesteader. It simply involves coming up with a new economic strategy. Instead of working full-time, for example, I say: try working part time, and see if there’s extra time to make more of what you need. Time is money, is ______ , so just cut out the middle-man. And lastly, I can’t say enough about bike-riding. Ride your bike/get a bike!