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The Urban Homestead (Expanded & Revised Edition): Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Self-reliance Series) [Kindle Edition]

Kelly Coyne , Erik Knutzen
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The expanded, updated version of the best-selling classic, with a dozen new projects.

"A delightfully readable and very useful guide to front- and back-yard vegetable gardening, food foraging, food preserving, chicken keeping, and other useful skills for anyone interested in taking a more active role in growing and preparing the food they eat."—

"...the contemporary bible on the subject."—The New York Times

This celebrated, essential handbook shows how to grow and preserve your own food, clean your house without toxins, raise chickens, gain energy independence, and more. Step-by-step projects, tips, and anecdotes will help get you started homesteading immediately. The Urban Homestead is also a guidebook to the larger movement and will point you to the best books and Internet resources on self-sufficiency topics.

Written by city dwellers for city dwellers, this copiously illustrated, two-color instruction book proposes a paradigm shift that will improve our lives, our community, and our planet. By growing our own food and harnessing natural energy, we are planting seeds for the future of our cities.

Learn how to:

  • Grow food on a patio or balcony
  • Preserve or ferment food and make yogurt and cheese
  • Compost with worms
  • Keep city chickens
  • Divert your grey water to your garden
  • Clean your house without toxins
  • Guerilla garden in public spaces
  • Create the modern homestead of your dreams

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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

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

Product Details

  • File Size: 2337 KB
  • Print Length: 339 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1934170100
  • Publisher: Process; Revised Edition edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003YCPD8U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #487,941 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
319 of 324 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading because it is different 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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356 of 392 people found the following review helpful
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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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
I've been reading the authors' blog, 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good information.
This book has a lot of good information, but is by an author based in a different climate from where I live. I can still put the principles to work, but not some of the details. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lois Yingling
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a nice down to earth book
Such a nice down to earth book. Educational, interesting and humorous. So many tips and tricks to get through life in a more basic way. Love this book.
Published 3 months ago by Anna Mears
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very informative.
Published 4 months ago by Eastcoast Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent resource for those of us with smaller confines or not in a rural setting.
Published 4 months ago by bigzlybigz
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
lots of helpful info - read at library and had to buy my own copy!
Published 7 months ago by Laura
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book!
Published 9 months ago by Marjorie Hawkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Love love love this book.
I absolutely love this book and cant rate it highly enough. I bought it thinking it would be a reference book to sit on my shelf and get out when I was planning a project but I... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Kate C
5.0 out of 5 stars I've really enjoyed reading this book and picking up valuable pointers...
I've really enjoyed reading this book and picking up valuable pointers for my own urban garden. The writing style is informal and very informative. Read more
Published 9 months ago by mkstansbery7
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good book. We used the instructions to make the raised garden bed which turned out well.
Published 10 months ago by doglady
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE this book!
If you live in the city and are eager to learn ways to be more green, frugal, and self-sufficient, then you definitely need to get this book. There are lots of awesome tips.
Published 11 months ago by akOSU
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Topic From this Discussion
Bought to support against the Dervaes'
I bought this book to support the authors and protest the Dervaes'. This book came out in 2008 and the Dervaes family did not get the trademark until 2010!?! Seems to me that the Dervaes family is guilty of copyright infringement!
Feb 18, 2011 by Missouri Homesteader |  See all 3 posts
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