|My friend Lynne will share in the honey produced from my hive located on her property.|
The longer I work towards building a sustainable life, the more I realize I can't do it on my own. Living in an urban/suburban neighborhood has many advantages, which is why we chose to live here but complete self-sufficiency is a challenge. Reaching out to others who have the same goals and interests can go a long way to helping us live the life we want. Here are five reasons why urban sustainable living takes a community.
|Volunteering at a Master Gardener beehive project in the middle of a city.|
1. There isn't space to do it all
I live on a 5,000 square foot lot. Take out my house, two car garage and a very long drive way and I'm not left with a lot of space. Many people have a lot less space, of course. I would love to have a bigger homestead but as that is not happening any time soon I have looked beyond my walls for options. I am a beekeeper, but having a hive on my property is not on the cards. I have a friend in another community, however, who has a lot of space and has agreed to let me keep a beehive on her land. She will benefit from the honey and pollination of her garden and I get to be a beekeeper and benefit from the honey and wax the hive produces.
2. There isn't time to do it all
Urban or suburban dwellers live where they do to be close to their jobs. Very few of us are running an urban homestead full time. A community of liked minded people can reduce the amount of time needed to meet sustainability goals. I recently joined a group of people who want to buy raw milk which is illegal to sell in Rhode Island. We have to go to Connecticut or Massachusetts to purchase it, which is about an hour each way. By taking it in turns to do the drive and buy the milk we share the burden and increase our access to a product we all believe in.
|Pick Your Own farms provide much of the fruit I preserve to see us through the winter.|
When we buy from our local farmers, rent space in a community garden, buy from a food coop or support local businesses, we help to ensure that these resources stay viable and available to us when we need them. Sustaining those who help us meet our sustainable goals is a great sustainability strategy!
|My friend Roda has supplied me with both eggs and aged horse manure in exchange for my produce.|
|Volunteering at a community garden/MG donation project in the middle of the city of Providence, RI.|
When you have a community of like minded people, the combined knowledge and resources of the group becomes a powerful force. Sharing knowledge of specialized skills benefits the whole group as does pooling man power or tools on DIY projects. Swapping, bartering and purchasing produce, eggs, honey, crafts and more from each other builds sustainability within the group and resilience in tough times. Combined purchase power lowers the cost for all when buying bulk orders of local meat or grains. Holding events such as seed swaps, harvest pot lucks or canning parties builds community and offers a way for people to find support and encouragement for their goals and life style choices. This can be very important if you are living very differently from your immediate neighbors.
Are you living in the city or the suburbs? Most of us are but I believe we can live sustainable lives, especially with a little help from our friends.
Are you part of a sustainable living community? I'd love to know your experiences!