Chicken coops, vegetable gardens, and rainwater collectors are popping up in backyards across the U.S., as a new breed of DIYers known as urban homesteaders strive to become more self-sufficient. From growing their own apples to knitting their own winter sweaters, these resourceful city folk are working to become less dependent on others — and, in some instances, they’re finding ways to turn their efforts into profitable small businesses. Here are four ideas to consider.
- Teach DIY courses. Are you an expert at pickling homegrown vegetables or making fruit preserves? If you have a skill related to food or another aspect of urban homesteading, other people may be willing to pay to learn from you. Give a free workshop to pique people’s interest and pass out flyers offering a more intensive series of paid courses.
- Sell your extra goods. If you’re able to produce more than enough for your family, consider selling the surplus to your friends and neighbors. For example, hang an “Eggs for Sale” sign on your front door, and you may be surprised how many people come knocking — especially if you’re organic.
- Set up rainwater-harvesting systems. Harvesting rainwater for showers, washing dishes, and other household tasks can help you save big on your water bill. Learn to install your own system by taking the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Collection’s courses. After you’re certified, get listed in the ARCSC’s membership directory and offer services as a professional rainwater-harvesting system installer.
- Start an urban homesteading supplies shop. Although urban homesteaders strive to be self-sufficient, they need some equipment to get started. Open a small shop — or website — that sells supplies, including canning equipment, chicken coops and feed, rain barrels, vegetable seeds, and gardening gear.