Urban Homesteading

*Spring is traditionally a time of planting — getting the herbs and vegetables arranged and settled in so you can begin reaping rewards by the time summer really hits its stride. But for others, “planting” takes on a whole new meaning. Homesteading has been around since, well, the country began; but it’s undergoing something of a renaissance. Whether that’s due to tea partiers, agribusiness, the economy or all those things, publishers are responding in kind. This spring we’ll see a deluge of books devoted to becoming self-reliant when it comes to food. Even if all you have is just a window planter, you’ll find plenty of ideas. The two words city dwellers will want to look out for are “urban” and “homesteading.” Don’t believe me? Here’s a rundown of titles: Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Urban Homesteading, Urban Pantry, Growing Food in Your Urban Home, Your Farm in the City: An Urban-Dweller's Guide to Growing Food and Raising Animals, City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing (already out), Modern Homestead: Grow, Raise, Create, The Edible Front Yard (also already out) and finally, a book for kids: Watch Me Grow!: A Down-to-Earth Look at Growing Food in the City. Who needs a farmer’s market? *Warmer weather also means it’s time to dust off the grill and start enjoying that smoky flavor that only gas, briquettes or hardwood charcoal (choose your weapon) can provide. You can certainly load up on all the fancy, chef-branded grilling accoutrements at your local chain store, or you can save a few bucks by heading to the restaurant supply stores and get pro equipment. They’re more than happy to sell to the general public. While you won’t find grates, baskets or “kiss the cook” aprons, you will find sheet pans, heat-resistant spatulas, tongs and oven mitts. Prices are generally the same or less for these items, but you’re likely to get much better quality — these tools are designed to work instead of just looking cute hanging off the handle of your preferred cooking vessel. Most stores will also have a section for used equipment, which is where the real deals are. You can find restaurant-quality sautee pans, scoops, ladles and all sorts of stuff for much, much less. Yeah, it may be battered and a little jaunky looking, but it’ll stand up to punishment and you won’t break the bank. Check the phone book or the Google machine for “restaurant supplies” to find the closest provider.

posted at 02:53 pm
on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

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