Book Review: Urban Homesteads:  how to live a more sustainable lifestyle

Book review by Toni Salter

Urban Homesteads:  how to live a more sustainable lifestyle

It’s as old as the hills, yet it’s taken the world by storm and it’s become our saviour through Covid-19 lockdowns. It’s the resurgence of homesteading in households around the world. We’ve given it a number of different names from permaculture to subsistence agriculture but homesteading is basically a lifestyle of self-sufficiency.

In her new book, Urban Homesteads, author Rebecca Gross gives the reader ideas on how to live a more sustainable life and introduces us to the people behind the gardens that are giving impetus to the current resurgence of vegetable gardening, composting, preserving and beekeeping.

Traditional homesteads were set on a large country property, but nowadays, with more people living in cities and our average home becoming smaller, these urban homesteaders have anything from a small suburban backyard in the Netherlands to a rooftop garden in Melbourne or balcony garden in Berlin.

From the Central Coast of California to the Central Coast of NSW, they are the conscious-living city folk who have swapped the fast lane for the slow lifestyle, choosing to reduce their ecological footprint by living locally and connecting with community. They’re the unqualified gardeners that are showing us all how it’s done and social media fanatics are following them in droves.

Some of the instagram gardening celebrities featured in the book include Lee from Urban Veggie Patch (140,000 followers) and Deanna and Aaron from Homestead & Chill (225,000 followers). Readers also get a lesson on preserving their harvest by Holly from Big Family Living. Holly’s internet fame came after she started showing followers how to feed her family of 8 (including 2 sets of twins) more economically by growing their own produce.

The book is visually inspiring and has plenty of tips for the reader to make the transition towards a sustainable lifestyle whether you are a home owner or just a smart renter. It has something for everyone, with ideas from the trail-and-error approach of “The Frenchie” balcony gardener to instructions on how to set up an aquaponics system in a city terrace.


Rebecca Gross. April 2021. Urban Homesteads: how to live a more sustainable lifestyle, The Images Publishing Group. Hardcover, RRP $60

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