Less Noise, More Green: Five reasons urban sustainable living takes a community

Monday, February 2, 2015

Five reasons urban sustainable living takes a community

Five reasons urban sustainable living takes a community
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.

Five reasons 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.

Five reasons urban sustainable living takes a community


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.

Five reasons urban sustainable living takes a community
Pick Your Own farms provide much of the fruit I preserve to see us through the winter.
3. Supporting local resources keeps those resources available
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.
4. Local laws and regulations dictate how self-sufficient you can be
Cities, towns and HOAs love to tell us what we can't do in our own back or front yards. While there are strategies to get around some of these restrictions (hello edible landscaping), we have to live in harmony with our neighbors and government. The city where I live does not permit chickens - period. I have friends in other towns who are free to raise them and I take full advantage of that, either buying or bartering for eggs. We both win.

Five reasons urban sustainable living takes a community
Volunteering at a community garden/MG donation project in the middle of the city of Providence, RI.
5. The whole is greater than the sum of it's parts
 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!

Sue

Pinterest Pin

Five reasons urban sustainable living takes a community









8 comments:

  1. Great post! I agree self sufficiency means using one's resources for sustainability and community is one of those resources. Nobody does it alone and if they try they won't do it well. It looks like you have a great community of friends around you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Harold, thank you for commenting! This idea of sustainability through community is really interesting to me. I think we have all become quite isolated and relying on each other can only be a good thing.

      Delete
  2. I Love Buttercup Farm and Rocky Point Blueberries and I have always wanted to keep bees. Also found a fantastic organic CSA in CT close to Buttercup farm called Good Bug Gardens. One of these days I'm going to attend the bee keeping classes the RI Bee Keepers Assoc offers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Libby, I would highly recommend taking the RIBA classes! I took them last year and they were very informative. I was lucky enough to volunteer on a bee project over the last year and that gave me the confidence to get my own hive. In fact, I just got back from Woods Bees with my hive! The bees arrive the first week in May!

      Delete