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The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Self-reliance Series) Paperback – June 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Process Self-reliance Series
  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Process (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934170011
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934170014
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #848,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen are creators of the blog homegrownrevolution.org, a green living and self-sufficiency resource for urbanites. They contribute regularly to Daniel Pinchbeck's new online magazine, realitysandwich.com. They live in Los Angeles.

Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen are creators of the blog homegrownrevolution.com, a green living and self-sufficiency resource for urbanites. They contribute regularly to Daniel Pinchbeck's new online magazine, realitysandwich.com. They live in Los Angeles.

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Customer Reviews

Too many books of this type read more like a novel, making it harder to get at the real information.
Cathy Geary
For those of you who live in the city or even in the Urban Sprawl from a major city must read this book.
Thirteen
I enjoyed this book quite a bit: it was well organized, easy to read and absolutly full of information.
Jay Lamble

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

302 of 307 people found the following review helpful By Harold A. Roth on July 31, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read various books on self-sufficiency in the past ten years, but this one is different. First, it doesn't tell you how to recreate a 19th-century homestead, which is beginning to seem to me like another version of faux chateaux, but which also is not going to work very well if it is not surrounded by other 19th-century homesteads. And it doesn't describe what you can do "some day" when you get your five acres and independence. Instead, it focuses on what you can do right now in your own city to become more self-sufficient and sustainable. That makes it unique.

The reviewer who said that this is not a compendium of how-tos is right. It is more of an idea book, although there are many references to sources of detailed info about, for instance, raising ducks. But the problem with other self-sufficiency books I have run across is precisely that they are NOT idea books--that they become absorbed with one particular way of growing food, for instance, or one particular way of heating your (19th-century farm) house. There is nothing about woodstoves or woodlots in here.

This is the first book on self-sufficiency I have seen that directly addresses the fear that underlies the desire many people have to become more independent of the economy--the fear of some apocalypse, social collapse, disaster, etc., which they here dub "when the zombies come." I loved that they use humor to address that fear. There is a LOT of humor in this book; it's almost worth reading just for that.

Other books on self-sufficiency focus on being isolated and seeing other people as the enemy. I read one that recommended you get a house in a dip that no one can see from the road. They'll tell you how much ammunition to squirrel away with your self-heating lasagne rations.
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334 of 370 people found the following review helpful By J. Sullivan on June 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was so excited to receive this book-- as someone who has had some experience farming and who hopes to continue in the future BUT who will be living in a city for the foreseeable future, I couldn't wait to get my hands on my guide to sustainable homesteading in the city.

While this book is full of great concepts, it fails to deliver on the instruction side of things. This is not a Guide Book as the cover proclaims-- it is an Ideas book. The authors suggest planting fruit trees in your yard, and to save space, prune them into "an espalier". How do you do that? The authors kindly refer you to another book.

I understand that covering all the skills involved in Urban Homesteading in-depth would require a tome many times the length of this paperback. But an Urban Wild Edibles section with no pictures? Seriously?

This is a great tool for people who haven't gardened before and who have the motivation to seek out the actual technique elsewhere. But this is nowhere close to a guidebook, and most of the sections were wildly uninspiring, under-explained, and uninformative. If you had the foresight to seek out this book, you can probably figure out on your own that you can bake bread even in the city (!), red lettuce and green lettuce look pretty together in your garden, and composting may help reduce some of your soil woes.

To be fair, the cooking section and home cleaning supplies section, while not very enlightening in terms of ideas, has a slightly more complete informative style.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By E. Schoenholz on June 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
I've been reading the authors' blog, HomegrownEvolution.com for more than a year, so I had a pretty good idea what to expect from this book, and I was not in the least disappointed. I think perhaps even more than all of the practical advice and specific directions in The Urban Homestead, Coyne and Knutzen's perspective and approach are what I value most. There's an overriding attitude--almost philosophy, really--that the authors convey so well. It's positive yet somehow never sappy. They recommend doing what you can and doing what you like.

They also warn: "Work makes work" in the gardening section, and to me that perspective is more valuable than knowing how frequently to water my sweet peppers once they've flowered. (Which brings up another thing I've enjoyed so much about reading this book and the H.E. blog: The blog pointed me to Pat Welsh's Southern California Gardening for more specific and advanced gardening advice.)

The Urban Homestead is laid out in a way that makes it easy to pick up and read a little bit here and there. And I've been picking up my copy every chance I get, rereading sections, too, both for knowledge and enjoyment. It's really oriented toward people with a new or recent interest in living more like their great-grandparents did, more engaged in the world around them, even if that world is a major metropolis. It's less about preparing for disaster than thwarting it.

If you want to ditch your TV, buy less crap at the supermarket, learn how to use a bicycle to transport your self and your stuff, conserve, reuse, bake, make and otherwise reject so many things that until recently our society believed were progress, this book will get you going on the right path.
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