urban homesteading: part 1

There are a bunch of courageous, motivated, and maybe a bit crazy (which in this case I admire!), people returning to an agrarian way of life. What’s different about some of these folks is that they live in an urban setting. In the next few days, I’ll tell you about these brave souls venturing into a life of city farming.

Manny Howard, Brooklyn, NY

I can’t remember if I’ve already written about this guy whose honest attempt at farming in Brooklyn proves a bit more challenging than he expected. With the goal of eating as locally as humanly possible, Manny Howard vowed to only eat food he has grown in his 800 square foot backyard (a luxury many urbanites don’t have). I won’t go on and on about it, because his POV is much more hilarious (and heartbreaking). Here’s an excerpt from the New York Mag article:

In those giddy, delusionally hopeful first days, as The Farm took shape in my mind, I had occasional moments of clarity. I realized, for example, that there are things I need that I could never grow. So I allowed myself what I considered three reasonable exemptions: salt, pepper, and coffee beans. Beyond that, I identified dairy, cooking oil, and bread as the biggest conundrums. Because it was March already, it was too late to plant wheat, which has a winter growing season. Okay, no bread. As for dairy: It is illegal to have a cow or a goat in New York City, but I figured I could at least hide a goat in the garage. Was it worth the risk? Cheese would be nice, but have you ever put goat’s milk in your coffee? Black seemed the way to go. Finally, cooking oil: I didn’t have enough garden space for all the plants I’d need to produce vegetable oil, so I’d have to make do with animal fat of some kind. A pig, maybe? Duck fat was another good possibility—I could confit everything.

Read the whole story.

Listen to an interview with Manny on NPR.

(Image source: Margot Adler, NPR)

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