Urban homesteading sounds like an insufferably hipsteresque pastime involving microgreens on fire escapes and furtive beekeeping, yet I found myself doing demonstrations on how to be a homesteader at the Union Square Farmer's Market a couple weekends ago. Turns out it was fun!
My angle for the homesteading was, of course, fiber artsy in nature. What other homesteading activities were there, you might ask? There was one table concerned with food preservation, canning vegetables, making jams and chutnies, and doing cooking demos with said preserved foods. My mom and I used to make jam together when I was younger, and it made me nostalgic for that. It would be fun to get into again sometime when I live someplace where the kitchen appliances aren't in the living room.
Another table was all about urban mycology. Avant garde composer John Cage (the guy with the piece of music which is four minutes and 33 seconds of silence) founded the New York Mycological Society, which was later led by the fabulous woman I lived with my first go-around living in New York, and they are still going strong. They had beautiful mushroom soup to share, which was made of mostly store bought mushrooms but some gathered as well. Back when I lived with my mushroom-hunting roommate, she would make me food sometimes with ingredients she found in Central park--berries and mushrooms. It's a little squick-inducing because of how many dogs and people use the park as a restroom, but I always tried not to think about it. Now I walk through Central Park almost every day, and though I don't eat anything I find, I do love observing what kind of stuff lives and grows there.
There were a lot of fiber arts going on. I brought my inkle loom, since it's little and I doubted many people had seen one before. Lots of people had lots of questions--including many of the fiber artists in attendance. Inkle weaving is a lot of fun, and while you're certainly not going to clothe your urban homesteading family in cloth from it, I suppose you could be self sufficient in the shoelace and guitar strap sectors of your life?
The other demos involved spinning via spindle and wheel, a little bit about natural dyes, rug making, knitting, crocheting, and needle felting.
I love the little needle felted gnomes, and I found it hilarious that they had little butts. I mean, of course they have butts, but since I don't really do sculptural kinds of things, it's somehow hilarious to me to think of the needle felter working specifically on shaping the butt. What can I say, I'm twelve sometimes.