Friday, February 18, 2011

A REAL Urban Homesteader

With all of the controversy over on the west coast, I am going to do something very rare and post twice in one day, but just so everyone understands how passionate I feel about the following information, I also want to add that I can't afford to squander posts right now on stuff that isn't really important to me. This is my 475th post, and it's significant ... you'll see why next week, and as a former English teacher, yes, I do very much love foreshadowing ;).

First I have to say that growing 7000 lbs of food on a 1/10th of an acre is pretty impressive - I'll give them that, but ...

... when food grows THREE-HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FIVE DAYS of the year, it would take some very extra special effort *not* to grow something. In fact, if you live in California, and you have a yard and you're not growing some kind of food, shame on you ... no offense.

But when a person is able to turn an urban yard that is roughly 50' x 100' (which is the typical sized urban yard in most east coast cities) into a sustainable food production oasis, complete with farm animals, and to do that in the northeast, where the growing season is, roughly, one-third of California, that's AWE INSPIRING ...spiring ... spiring ... spiring. Ahem!

And not only is Patti doing that, but she's also showing other people, through instructional videos and articles, how to do it, too. Her website isn't just a bunch of self-congratulatory blather about how wonderful she is (and she is), but rather it is a series of how-to's on everything from building raised beds, tapping maple trees and boiling syrup to sap (yes, in the city!), installing a pond, planting blueberries, creating an edible walkway, and sharing her design for animal enclosures that fit exactly over her raised beds so that she is, not only making the absolute best use of her limited space, but she's also using her animals to help her till and fertilize her garden beds.

Further, like me, Patti didn't grow up farming. She doesn't have half a century of farming experience on which to draw. She didn't move from the country to the city. She's always been a city girl, and like most urbanites and suburbanites, she went to college and started a career and bought a house and had kids.

Somewhere along the way, something happened, and then, like many of us in this twenty-first century blooming-where-we-are-planted movement, she started as an adult and floundered her way through learning all of the stuff she shows us how to do on her Urban Sustainable Living project.

If we're going to emulate anyone, it should be someone like Patti Moreno, who is one of us, and is really showing a way that we can live and thrive without destroying our world - someone who really has something to offer.

Bravo, Patti ... and thanks for being the voice that we need in these troubled times.

Other Urban Homesteaders of note:

Please take the time to visit any (all) of the above listed sites. None of them have ever pretended to have the answers, but they'll give you an honest assessment of what trying to be more self-reliant, against the odds, is like for them :).


  1. I concur that the Dervaes family has done a great job and deserve all the kudos.

    However, I too balk at them owning the term "Urban Homesteader"... it's kinda like owning a term like "farmer" or "cowboy". I haven't blogged my pique, only because I'm a "rural" homesteader, so to speak.

  2. I sorta outgrew the Dervaes after their movie. It just started feeling like I was being marketed to. In addition it really seemed to lose the instructional flavor I was more interested in. It just felt more like show and tell. Maybe they are a good example for folks that live in their own neighborhood but after this I'm not so sure.

    They sure did burn some bridges.

  3. I love Patti Moreno. She is actually my inspiration. I found the Dervaes's much later. What she does is far more informative and helpful.

  4. Thanks for the nod, Wendy, and the links to some interesting bloggers.

    Darius, I'm really a suburban homesteader. I don't normally declare myself an urban homesteader. But these days Ich bin ein urban homesteader. Know what I mean?

  5. Thanks for your post. This week, it has been a pleasure for me to become acquainted with other "high-density residence-steaders". Hope you find my blog as enjoyable as I have found yours.
    Keep on steadin'!
    (P.S. It's easy to grow tons of lettuce and food suitable for goats. I grow tons of stuff, too, if you count snails, slugs and squirrel-chow.)

  6. Thanks for the mention! Too bad about the corruption of power of some trademark-happy people I won't bother to name... ;O)

  7. I'm really humbled to be on this list, Wendy. We are in more of our experimental phase, but we're surrounded here in the blogging community by so many different people all with unique ways of meeting the challenges at hand. LOVE that your new book is coming out! And we're at a crucial point that you were at years ago of deciding Stay or Go? Either way, survival efforts and collective sharing will be paramount to all our futures..."Joe Citizen" cannot escape the impact world events will continue to have on the supply lines and way of life that for some decades now has been accepted as the norm. I so appreciate the wisdom you share here!


    PS Yes, I'm so over the self-congratulatory sites, and LOVE Garden Girls ideas and program!