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Self reliance is on the rise again. Victory Gardens during WW II, the back-to-the-land movement of the sixties and seventies, and now urban homesteading are all examples of citizens taking their food supplies into their own hands. Food security and safety are two reasons that attract potential urban homesteaders, who may use their own yards or a plot in a community garden in their neighborhood to grow food.
St. Louis is home to a growing number of these urban homesteaders. St. Louisans are learning to keep bees or chickens in their backyards, to grow and preserve produce, and to make by products like wine and sausage. Products are often available for purchase at local outdoor markets.
While many enjoy the fruits of their backyard labors, growing your own food in the city is not without risks.
Local growers can sell their fruits and vegetables, farm-fresh eggs, baked goods, and arts and crafts at the local farmers' market. Sometimes there are planned activities like live music, food contests, and cooking demostrations.
|St. Louis area Farmers' Markets|
Soil testing is recommended before you begin as years of industrial waste can leave lead deposits in the ground, which can leach into produce. Check city ordinances to assure compliance. A relevant section from the St. Louis City code is 10.20.015 Keeping of certain animals prohibited.
Each element towards a more self-reliant life takes time. Current urban homesteaders suggest taking one step at a time. They recommend people begin with growing some of their own food and reaching out to connect with other homesteaders and city gardeners.
Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff