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Modern Homestead: Grow, Raise, Create Paperback – May 10, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


“Filled with beautiful photos and illustrations, Wilkinson tells pretty much everything anyone needs to know to get started in sustainable living, especially in urban and suburban areas. It’s a compact resource that should be kept handy, with a valuable index for looking things up.” —Jim Ewing,

“This is a comprehensive starter-kit for creating a homesteading lifestyle in a simple and inspiring way… From growing your own food in the smallest urban space, to a larger urban backyard plan, Modern Homestead will give you the information, instruction, and inspiration you need to get going- or to expand. Enjoy!” —Spirituality and

About the Author

Renee Wilkinson: Renee Wilkinson is the creator of, a popular website dedicated to urban homesteading, edible landscape design, and sustainable living. With a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and garden spade in hand, she has been inspiring urbanites everywhere to get their hands dirty in their own city homesteads. Currently Renee is completing a graduate degree in landscape architecture to further revolutionize urban green spaces. She lives blissfully on a tenth of an acre city lot in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and three urban chickens Pearl, Maude, and Florence.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555917488
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555917487
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #461,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

As a sixth generation Oregon homesteader, I have a fascination with watching things grow and getting my hands dirty. My homestead is a tenth of an acre plot in Portland, Oregon, where I blissfully live with my husband, daughter Juniper, three chickens and four ducks.

The goal of my writing is to share stories about the life of a modern homesteader, in all its triumphs and failures. We can celebrate together the first seedlings and collecting that first egg from our backyard flocks. I rely on the advice of my homesteading grandparents and friends to get me through the head scratching moments, which I will be sure to pass along.

Let's learn from my mistakes together and share knowledge to make our homesteading lives richer. Now go get those hands dirty!


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shala Kerrigan TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
There are a lot of books out there about getting started in homesteading in urban environments now, and the truth is, I don't think you can have too many because a lot of them offer different approaches and information.
This book is great for beginners. It's easy to get overwhelmed when you're first getting interested in trying to grow more produce for your dinner table or when you're considering taking the next step in homesteading.Renee writes in an easy and clear way. It's so easy to read that I spent a day in the sun with a choice between this book and a trashy novel I was reading and wound up happily reading this.

It's in bits and bites, and she recommends that you start with what you think you can realistically handle, then lays out methods to handle it. Where to go to get information, how to set up a garden club to exchange ideas and seeds, and how to start planning and planting. She offers practical suggestions for planting in very limited spaces and how to find the best areas for sunny plants in those spaces.

Then she gets into livestock. Are you able to have chickens? She gives plans for a minicoop that will fit on some balconies. It's sized for bantam sized chickens and includes a worm bin for compost. She gives lots of practical advice about how to raise chickens and care for them. Then gets into other things like ducks, goats and beekeeping,what kind of space, time and supplies you'll need to raise those.

The final section of the book is recipes, for cooking seasonally out of your garden or farmer's markets, jams and other food preservation methods, non-toxic cleaning supplies and beauty items.

One of the things I love about this book is how down to earth it is.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By love2quilt2000 on June 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has been earning its keep on my bookshelf! I have been wanting to start a "real" garden for several years now, but it's hard to know where to begin when you weren't raised on a farm. This book caught my eye in the gardening section because it's really pretty, it covers a ton of info and I liked the writing style. It's very easy to understand and enjoyable to read.

We have a postage stamp yard and the book has lots of ideas for small spaces. The "grow" chapter has some helpful garden plans. It's nice just to have someone tell me what to plant where and how much can fit into a raised bed. The "create" chapter has lots of easy recipes which have been fun to make and it's been good practice for me to get used to cooking fresh. I'm looking forward to drying and canning later this summer. I love that it includes the "raise" chapter on keeping chickens and goats, but we're not quite there yet. I'm glad I don't have to buy another book in a year or two though when we're ready to think more seriously about chickens. Really happy the book got me started and I think I'll use it a lot over the years as the garden plans grow!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Theresa H. Wright on April 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book has it all....from raising chickens to vegetables to canning in an easy to follow book. It's the modern city lot farming book that covers a lot of territory in a fun read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Story Circle Book Reviews on January 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
This reviewer can readily be classified as an "old hippie" so that much of the homesteading advice out there today is stuff I practiced in the 1970s. But Renee Wilkinson is one of the new lights in town; focusing on modern (aka "urban") homesteading, she brings the ideas of homesteading, do-it-yourself, and creating a life you will love to people who never thought of raising a chicken or of the fascination of bees. Whether you are in an apartment or a suburban tract home, whether you are a novice or a seasoned gardener, you will find enrichment and encouragement in Modern Homestead.

Wilkinson warns you to check your local laws and befriend your neighbors; it is essential to make modern, urban homesteading viable and happy. There are only four chapters to this book, each embracing a homesteading concept and breaking it down into bite-sized chunks for your consumption. She discusses rented homesteads, small spaces (patios? balconies?) and sprawling spreads. She encourages her readers to cultivate community, to create a group of neighbors and friends who share and appreciate the "hip homesteader" idea.

I very much enjoyed her page in Chapter One that is basically just a collection of ideas on sustainable living practices. We know them, in our hearts, but having them on one page rattles our cages and helps us embrace what we know is the right thing to do for the planet. The mantras Eat Local, BYOB (bag,) Alternative transportation and the classic Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are solid reinforcement for all of us.

Wilkinson avoids giving advice without backing it up with ideas and plans. Her duck coop is on my list of things to build this Spring.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By PDXGardenGirl on August 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
I originally purchased this book for my sister who was interested in starting her own backyard garden but hadn't done so yet. She's been following the tips and step-by-step details from this book to grow her own tomatoes and herbs this summer. She also made her own strawberry jam last month from u-pick strawberries from a local farm following the instructions in the preserving chapter! As a renter who will be moving at the end of summer, she's excited to be taking everything with her (the book has specific info on planting food crops in planters).

Now for the reason I've deemed this a "refreshingly complete guide". I've found too many guides on gardening and/or preserving to be written in a dry, rather scientific manner. This book is full of great gardening and urban farming knowledge, vivid photos, and even the plans for building your own coop for backyard chickens!

I borrowed back the copy I gave my sister as a gift and realized it has as much for me as well even as an urban "farmer" with intermediate skills. The recipes included in many of the chapters are AMAZING! So, I gave my sister back her gifted copy and purchased my own.

This is a must read for beginners and even those with advanced skills. It's very nice to have a refreshing book that covers everything involved with urban farming at my finger tips right here in my kitchen!
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