How to Become a Modern Homesteader

Save money, eat more healthfully, and help the planet.

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Container gardens can be an ideal first step for people who live in apartments and have access to outdoor space; you might also want to think about sharing someone's yard. Lisa Munniksma, managing editor of Urban Farm magazine, recently started a low-maintenance salad garden on her outdoor deck in Lexington, Ky., that includes lettuce, tomatoes, cauliflower, cucumbers, peppers, and basil. Her upfront expenses were only about $30, which covered an armful of terra cotta pots, soil, fertilizer, and seeds. The diminutive garden yields a surprising amount of produce, she says, "and there's satisfaction in saying, 'Look what I did myself.'

Gross likes the fact, too, that homesteading in the city is environment-friendly, maybe even more so than in a rural area, since you use fewer resources and leave such a small ecological footprint. Plus, she notes, conscientious urban homesteaders can get access to tools and supplies without a whole lot of driving. Not only is homesteading good for the pocketbook, Gross says, it's also "good for you personally, it's good for community, and it's good for the planet."