Urban, suburban and rural homesteads: which type is right for you? (2023)

Many people dream of moving to the country to start a farm or homestead. But often the practical realities of homesteading aren't a dream come true for everyone. In fact, I know quite a few settlers who have regretted their decision to abandon their urban or suburban lives.

So before you trade the amenities of your city and move to nowhere for a country estate, consider the pros and cons of three very different forms of land and farm ownership.

Urban, suburban and rural homesteads: which type is right for you? (1)


When most people think of a homestead, it usually means they live in a rural area with enough land to become completely self-sufficient. There are many advantages to acquiring in this way. However, there are also some major disadvantages.

Benefits of Rural Appropriation

Urban, suburban and rural homesteads: which type is right for you? (2)

Cheap access to land

Homesteads often offer a lot more land for less money. Because they lack luxury services such as municipal water supply, garbage collection, and sanitation, they also tend to have lower property tax rates. This makes it easier to afford these properties and live independently from the country.

A while ago we had a post about how to getFree country. These are states that aim to lure settlers down the "road less traveled" and increase the population and economies of smaller towns.

Greater ability for independence

The more space you have, i.e. more plots of land, the more basic needs you can cover on your own plot. You have enough land to raise all the necessary livestock for your protein needs ie goats, sheep, pigs and cattle. Choosing the right livestock for your landscape can also minimize your feed costs by letting the animals feed themselves.

You can also use your land to meet many of your non-food needs like firewood, water, fiber, and crafting supplies. If you have enough land, hunting and gathering are also possible options to replenish your food supply.

Fewer legal regulations

If you want to create a large vegetable garden in your backyard, erect a fence, hang a clothesline, raise some pigs, keep a rooster, catch rain, open a spring, dig a basement, build an outhouse, stand naked outdoors, burn garbage , hunting on one's own property, target practice and much more - these things are generally less regulated on rural properties.

Easier inspections

Even things that are regulated, such as constructing a pond or building a house, are often easier to manage in rural areas. With fewer applicable regulations and no city laws to contend with, rural inspectors have more leeway in permitting processes.

This is a great place to make your dreams come true and build, or should I say build, one of these incrediblesCasas-Container.

In rural areas, human contact is the normal way of doing business. So you can even pick up the phone and speak directly to the inspectors for advice before you start planning.

Off-Grid Options

Typically, rural lots lack access to urban amenities such as public water. They may or may not have electricity. Wastewater is usually treated as a septic tank by the property owner.

The lack of infrastructure and connection to public services leaves more scope for implementationoff-grid water systemsand other "green" solutions. Collecting water or access points such as irrigation ponds, digging wells or capturing springs will likely still require permits. However, as long as you have sensible blueprints, this process is generally straightforward.

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If your property doesn't have access to electricity or close neighbors, things like wind turbines, solar panels, wood and/or steam heating systems, and your own hydroelectric power are less of an issue. This makes it easy to get approval to include these innovative energy systems in your property.

A bit more "outside" technologies like the Jean Pain hills (with rotting wood for heating),Rocket Mass Heater, Methankocher,composting toilets, walipinis, root holds and more are a matter of personal choice rather than allowable processes.

Disadvantages of country real estate

Urban, suburban and rural homesteads: which type is right for you? (3)

Less practical equipment

Rural areas often lack good internet connections. Cellservice may be spotted. You have to haul your own garbage to the landfill or burn it.

You have to maintain your driveway and, if necessary, the roads next to you as you would in the snow. Ambulance and police intervention can take half an hour or more in an emergency.

hard to sell

If you decide that country real estate isn't for you, the same market forces that made buying real estate cheap will make it difficult to sell. Selling even undervalued real estate can take years.


Country life can feel quite isolated at times. Going into town can be a big task. When visiting a neighbor you often have to get in the car. Even delivery drivers often leave packages at the start of your journey rather than on your doorstep.

rural stigma

Also, frankly, depending on where you live, sometimes the stigmas against country folk are true. There is much less diversity in unpopulated areas. This leads to more distrust and slower acceptance of people who don't fit into the local scheme.

I found discouraging levels of unabashed racism. I've met too many people who rely solely on opinion-based talk show hosts to inform their worldview instead of doing their own fact-based research. Religious fanaticism and disparagement of people of other religious beliefs are also common.

Now I've also met a lot of open-minded, well-informed people who just prefer not to be part of the city's hamster wheel. So this is absolutely not a general criticism of the rural population. But these traits seem to be more common in rural areas than in the cities where I've lived.

suburban property

Urban, suburban and rural homesteads: which type is right for you? (4)

Before I moved to the country, I started acquiring a suburban lot. It's hard to become fully self-sufficient in the suburbs. But you can definitely take your self-employment by leaps and bounds if you carefully navigate the regulations.

Benefits of Suburban Country Estate

Access to Inventory

In a rural setting, if you run out of something mid-project, having to rush to town to get supplies can really set you back. In suburbs, where hardware, houseware and other necessities shops are plentiful, it's easy to get what you need and get back to work.

Lots of waste

It is also easier to collect waste from shops and restaurants and sort the waste to use in appropriation activities. For example, there are many things you can do with byproducts in the suburbs.

  • Visit local cafes to get coffee grounds to grow oyster mushrooms in buckets.
  • Collect restaurant scraps to feed your chickens (or the worms or soldier flies you raise for chickens).
  • Collect restaurant scraps to make Bokashi to compost soil fertility.
  • Collect beer grains from your local microbrewery to use used grain to bake bread, compost and reduce cattle feed costs.
  • Have city tree trimmers dump their trimmings in your driveway when they're in the area.
  • Get some commercially available cardboard to cover your mini orchard or new garden areas.
  • Collect unwanted leaves from your neighborsmake leaf shapein the autumn.
  • Search the roadside junk stash for free stuff to help you build raised beds, build a chicken coop, trellis your mini vineyard, decorate your flower shed and more.

opportunities to make money

If you live in a suburban area, you also have more potential customers for your additional real estate products. This can help you reduce your real estate costs and fund more projects so you can build self-reliance faster.

For example, your neighbors can buy your extra eggs, herbs, veggies, and craft projects that you make. Perhaps you can grow additional crops for them in your greenhouse if you start your own. You can recycle all the big junk you find for free and resell it at flea markets.

(Video) Your Community | Types of Community - Social Studies for Kids | Kids Academy

livestock options

In some suburban areas, small animals such as chickens, rabbits or mini goats are allowed. You probably can tookeeping beesand have a bed full of worms without facing too many regulatory challenges.

Suburban homesteading cons

Urban, suburban and rural homesteads: which type is right for you? (5)

Aesthetic regulation

Suburban-planned housing developments and housing associations often have very strict aesthetic requirements. This can add to the cost and time involved in doing things like livestock shelters.

It can also limit how you plan your garden and raise livestock. For example, grass height restrictions can prevent you from creating a meadow and wildflower lawn for your bees. You may also only need to grow vegetables in your garden. Sometimes you can't even hang a clothesline outside.

infrastructure regulations

Suburbs often have many rules about things like installing fences, sheds, trellis, wood stoves, ponds, and more. Even if there are no regulations in the books, the city can reserve the right to make individual decisions for unregulated projects.

Depending on your position on homesteading, this can sometimes limit what you can do on your own property. Or it could at least mean that projects take longer to complete due to the need for permits or approvals at various points in the process.

neighboring challenges

The house appropriation act is inherently beautiful. Growing a garden, raising your own happy livestock, conserving energy by line drying clothes and much more is good for the planet and for people's souls. However, not everyone likes having neighbors as neighbors.

That neighbor who sprays herbicides to keep clover off his lawn might not like you using it as a nitrogen fixer in his mini orchard. Not everyone loves the sound chickens make every time they lay an egg. If you live with close neighbors, you have some additional challenges to face.

Urban Appropriation

  • Urban, suburban and rural homesteads: which type is right for you? (6)

Many people think that urban appropriation is something new. But my grandparents made it over 60 years ago in Cincinnati, Ohio. They grew elderberries and madehomemade elderberry wine. They had an extensive but compact garden most of the year. They even bought live animals to process at home to save money.

Today, self-sufficiency regulations vary greatly from city to city. So your city's stance on homesteading will determine how much or how little you can get out of your urban environment.

I will point out some obvious downsides to urban appropriation. But I will end with some ideas on how you can take responsibility despite the great challenges.

Disadvantages of Urban Homesteading

Urban, suburban and rural homesteads: which type is right for you? (7)

Heavy Rules

In general, urban cities are the most regulated habitats. With so many people living in such a small space, you would have to assume that almost anything you want to do is taboo.

Some progressive cities and also some poverty-stricken cities are becoming more open to homesteading. But there are still hurdles to overcome to get approved for many of the things you want to do.

Mangel an Land

The biggest blow to urban appropriation is the lack of land. If you're lucky, you might have a postage-sized yard to work with. With only 1/10ºfrom a morning you can still provide much of your food. But you'll probably need to buy more inputs to maintain soil fertility and feed any small livestock you might keep.

limits of self-sufficiency

Some city dwellers don't even have balconies or windows to grow food. In these cases, you have to rely on electricity to transform the indoor spaces into living spaces.

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You clearly won't be able to grow all of your food in a 600 square foot apartment. But you can still develop skills. More importantly, you can flex your imaginative muscles and find creative ways to take ownership of the limited space.

Benefits for Urban Homesteading

Now I know I made that last trait category with disadvantages before advantages. But so I want to end on a positive note by showing you some ways you can self-learn in urban environments.

Remember, you need to think beyond your garden and large livestock options. However, if my grandparents could do it (without the internet or all the tech tools we have today), I know you can too!

Urban living in self-sufficient cities

Urban, suburban and rural homesteads: which type is right for you? (8)

In cities with a pro-local sufficiency stance, city farmers can often raise rabbits for meat. Public spaces can be used to raise community chickens. In small yards, bantams can produce eggs in a smaller area than adult chickens.

aquaponic systemsIt can grow fish, fertilizer and vegetables in a small space. Abandoned lots can become vegetable gardens. Grow tunnels extend the growing season so you can grow food all year round.

Rooftops can be converted into productive farms and bee gardens. Balcony container gardens can be tweaked to take advantage of themVertical GardeningSpace. Shipping containers can become complete hydroponic farms.

Urban environments with homestead phobia

In some urban settings it can seem impossible to do more than store extra water and canned food under the bed for emergencies - see oursNotversorgungList. However, there are always ways to steal appropriations.

You can sprout greens on your counter. Grow a hydroponic garden in your closet.compound wormunder the kitchen sink and use it to fertilize the medicinal herbs on the windowsill.

Buy ingredients from your farmers market. Then cook from scratch. Place tomatoes, parsley, jam and more with seconds from cheaply bought farm produce. Here we have the best foods forcan for emergencies.

Believe it or not, you can grow tooinsects for proteinin the house. This is not fully normalized in the US. In many other cultures, however, insects are considered an environmentally safe alternative for human consumption over other sources of meat.

We have several articles to help local city workers:

  • how do i create oneflower box garden.
  • Ahanging gardencan be done near the kitchen.
  • Upside down tomato plantsif you want to save space.
  • Gardening in containerson your balcony.
  • Here we have the bestgrow tentsif you don't have a balcony.
  • microgreensit can be grown on your kitchen counter.

homestead everywhere

Urban, suburban and rural homesteads: which type is right for you? (9)

The bottom line is that you don't have to move to the country to become a homesteader. You can do this anywhere. All you need is determination and creativity to make your homesteading dreams come true.

Do not wait! Homestead now, wherever you live.

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