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The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,449 ratings  ·  280 reviews

The Urban Homestead is the essential handbook for a fast-growing new movement: urbanites are becoming gardeners and farmers. Rejecting both end-times hand wringing and dewy-eyed faith that technology will save us from ourselves, urban homesteaders choose instead to act. By growing their own food and harnessing natural energy, they are planting seeds for the future of our c

Paperback, Process Self-Reliance Series, 307 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Process (first published April 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  2,449 ratings  ·  280 reviews

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I have to say that I was initially very skeptical of this book; as I perused the table of contents I was nearly convinced that this was just another book for yuppies with yards (YWYs). As I live in a tiny 200 sq. ft. (at best) studio apartment with no land space, no balcony, and only north facing windows, I was certain this book wouldn't have anything useful for me in it.

However, it does have some really great projects and ideas, from growing food to composting, that can be accomplished even by
Michael the Girl
Aug 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
The book radically changed they way I see green spaces in New York, and I have become shocked that so many people have small green spaces and grow no food. For that alone, I consider the book valuable in spite of its flaws.

I gave this book four stars, and I've been talking it up to a lot of people, but honestly I'm still a bit concerned. This book has many grammatical errors. And I know that Process is a really small press, and some of the errors might be typesetting (you get what you pay for)
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A quick look through this book told me I already am familiar with most of it. We have a small urban garden and already do some of the things recommended. What won’t we do? Dumpster diving, eating weeds and giving up our cars. Overall a good primer on ho to be more self-sufficient and use your city land to provide food, energy and also help the environment.
Jan 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009, growing
Finally, a book about the crisis of our world that doesn't make you feel shitty and hopeless! This book is not the be-all-end-all on any one subject, and it cannot save the world. Rather, it is an organized way of thinking about your urban home as a site to support and sustain your family, rather than a place to sleep & keep the things you buy. This book has answers to problems. This book is chock full of solutions. From keeping livestock to gardening to generating your own power and baking your ...more
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
when the energy grid shuts down and we all have to re-learn how to survive in an agrarian society I'll be glad I have this book with me ...more
Naomi Toftness
Pretty good! I don't live in an urban setting but I think I'll gift this to a friend who does! ...more
Dec 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I wrote this review for the Feminist Review blog, where it appeared on March 5, 2009.

Subtitled "Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City," this volume in the Process Self-Reliance Series bills itself as "a project and resource book, complete with step-by-step illustrations and instructions to get you started homesteading right now." It really delivers, both to absolute beginners and to folks who have already ventured into the world of urban homesteading.

The authors start wit
I really enjoyed this little book, despite the huge number of typos (even for an independent press, it was a bit extreme). Great information to get you started gardening vegetables on your patio or in your yard, keeping a few animals, making your own bread, yogurt, and beer, and even dumpster diving (ahem, "urban foraging"). So many fun projects! The authors' can-do attitude and eagerness really come through.

However, be aware that many of the suggestions for graywater systems and the like are de
Jan 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homesteading
I have been reading a few books in this genre recently (Food Not Lawns, The Backyard Homestead...) and this is my favourite so far. The style is accessible but intelligent, and the book covers a wide range of topic from growing food to cleaning. I was also pleased by the lack of doom-mongering and the emphasis on community rather than heading to the hills to save yourself in the upcoming apocalypse that some books (not the above mentioned) seem to lean towards.

However what I liked best about it
Jun 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in weaning themselves from hyper-consumerism
Recommended to Chloe by: BoingBoing!
A rather handy book and one that I'll likely remain reading for quite some time. It's definitely whetting my appetite for getting out of the desert and back into a climate where I'm capable of growing something (note to desert lovers: I'm not saying that things are incapable of growing in the desert, just that I'm not capable of making things grow).

From handy ideas for growing potatoes to how to can and preserve various crops this is a nice fount of information for someone like me who has little
Mar 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think that this is one of the best and most comprehensive guides to urban homesteading/sustainability that I have read to date. The format of this book is great with entertaining sidebars that tell of the experiences of other urban homesteaders with lots of projects and great instructions and graphics. I learned a lot about innovative gardening methods especially designed with the urban gardener in mind. This book covers A LOT and still remained entertaining and insightful. A few things that t ...more
Kim G
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I dug this one. I came to this book looking for a couple of easier things I could add to my list of hippie crap I already do (I garden, I have eliminated most chemicals from my cleaning, I compost) and it was exactly what I wanted. It gave me a few ideas for projects that are relatively simple to implement, and also gave me a few ideas that I can add to my maybe someday list.

I also liked the general tone of this book, it's laid-back and the authors seem to actually understand that many people a
Dec 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kathleen
A lovely book. There's nothing much new for the die-hard old hippie, but it's ALL in here. This is a book a person would like to have on her shelf come the revolution. Or the end of the world as we know it.

Organized in an easy to use fashion, written in a breezy but serious style and full of very high-quality information. Lots of additional suggested reading, lots of small but useful tips.

This one's on my wish list for the permanent collection. I'll shelve it right next to my Mother Earth News A
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading about how some people keep goats in the city, among other things. This book is actually a seriously good reference: having read the chapter about fruit trees, I finally understand the principles behind pruning, and why you might prune differently for a city garden fruit tree than a commercial-production orchard tree. This book gives a really nice mix of why with the what, and uses metaphor and nice descriptive writing to help you understand how to do new things. This is ...more
Feb 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is book is rad. I want to buy it though. I got it at the library, and now I want it as a resource for the "homestead." It makes me want to plant stuff, and move so I can have chickens. I keep reading about the fascinating world of chickens, providing their own kind of "chicken t-v" and I am most intrigued.

PS - I am REALLY enjoying the cleaning section of this book. I made my own soft scrub from their "recipe" and I'll never go back! Delightful. Mine smelled like peppermint. As promised, it
Jun 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
A lot of the non-fiction that I read, in terms of books on cooking / food preservation / gardening / self-sufficiency, etc. are really heavy-handed with the "this is why you should do this" backstory philosophy stuff before they get into how to actually do it. What I really liked about this book was its uber-practical tone - very straightforward. I also really got the sense from this book that the authors are way more interested in encouraging people to try new things, and do the best they can, ...more
TUH is filled with endless possibilities and basic down-to-Earth reconnections to get anyone interested in the applications of Urban Homesteading a go.

Not revolutionary nor new, but wisely refocusing and offering up ideas and information that anyone can apply with even the most basic of backyards.

Check out Kelly & Erik's daily/weekly progress-blog of the Urban Revolution:

: Happy Planting-Harvesting-Eating :
Aug 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
oh how i hate myself for liking this book, really i feel dirty ashamed and embarrassed, i am NOT a hipster... well at least i dont try to be... anyway enough embarassing myself, part of what i like beyond the crazy nasty things they tell you to do (like poop in a bucket and then use it a year later for fertilizer) they drop all these casual zombie references, crazy sweet good info...
so embarassed
Jaimie Franchi
Jul 05, 2009 rated it liked it
This is a fun book. Unfortunately it is absolutely riddled with typos, so I can't really give it over a three. I did find it inspiring, though, and it made me want to read more. They just needed to put more time and/or money into the proofreading. ...more
Andee Marley
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Useful information. Makes me proud to live in a small, efficient house. I think its a matter of time before we have chickens and bee hives. I'm taking Earth Mama to the next level.. ...more
N.N. Light
Oct 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I didn't care for this book for the most part. The premise was appealing but it didn't come across right.

My Rating: 3 stars

Reviewed by: Mrs. N
In my experience with books about gardening/homesteading/living a more sustainable life, this book stands out.
For one thing, its focus on urban living and the specific challenges and opportunities in that setting. Most if not all of the topics and ideas they address are appropriate for city dwellers, particularly those without a lot of space.
For a second thing, it doesn't just focus on gardening and husbandry, aka feeding oneself, but also devotes a lot of space to off-the-grid living techniqu
Ad Astra
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Really, really, REALLY enjoyed this book. There are so many cool projects and ideas in here that are well explained, and come with multiple ways to execute them sometimes. While I own a very suburban, full fledged home (for the first time, go me!) it's great for sparking ideas and has an abundance of references, resources, and things to follow up on even if you are not urban or have large quarters. I highly encourage this for anyone who is looking to do more in their home, switch to creation fro ...more
In "The Urban Homestead", Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen cover various topics in and around the house/homestead in order for one to become more self-sufficient. Raging from topics of farming to transport, many tips, tricks and projects are brought to the readers' attention.

This book is easy to read and to follow. Projects range from simple to extensive, making it a book for every level. Where the project goes above the authors' "skill level", still, the experiences of the authors are given and mo
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quick read — appreciate that some stuff is easy and some stuff is definitely more serious. Took notes re the canning and recipes for own cleaning products (no lemon furniture polish!). Oh! And self watering containers. Also re inspired by the biking argument (cargo bucket bike planning and dreams, y’all!). Great solid and amusing resource.

* “wherever you are now — that’s your homestead.”
* “its a great art to saunter” — Thoreau
* read “how to not get hit by cars” at
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was good but also, I’m worried about the advise given in the book because it basically goes against what farmers say/do. It had some great ideas, I just worry that some of their advise won’t actually work or could harm my garden. The book was written by someone who is still learning (which is fine) but they have zero educational background in gardening and have only recently started their own garden. So my advise: take what they say with a grain of salt until you find another source to ...more
Kendra Kettelhut
Mar 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
For someone who loves being self sustaining and growing my own food, and reducing my impact on the environment this was THE BEST book. It is a resource I will have on my shelf forever. It is chock full of resources; instructs on how to grows your own food, to raising livestock, to reducing the water and energy footprints we all have.

Highly recommend if any of these things are of interest to you and you want to live a healthier life, not just for your own well being, but for the well being of our
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastically curated book of projects that will catapult budding homesteaders into action. Each section is concise and well-explained to empower you to jump in with both feet. Anyone from beginners to advanced homesteaders will find a fun and useful project to take their homesteads to the next level.
Isha Erskine
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed it, as an avid gardener there was a lot of repeat info for me. But I really liked the info on Greywater and urban farm animals. This book is more a how to guide then a story or memoir which I prefer because it humanizes it more. I’d keep it around as a reference book for homestead projects.
Sam Kroll
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pretty good for newbies getting into homesteading. I wish they had gotten into container farming and dumpster diving, as they mention it a bit in their book but don't go too into it. Lot's of book recommendations in here for further research. ...more
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Of course... 1 10 Feb 10, 2010 07:54AM  

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