Monday, February 18, 2013

Urban Homesteading in the 'Burbs

When you look at some of the issues that motivate homeowners to turn their front yards into gardens, it's surprising that more folks don't do it.

Some backyards are either paved or just too small and shady to support a garden. Some folks resist conforming to the dominant cookie cutter lawn culture and need to express their creativity.

In the southwest, a green lawn may get you a fine, but in most of the rest of the country it takes courage to plant anything more lush than an ivy patch.

Urban Homesteading has grown up from being part of the counterculture movement of the '70's to embrace many suburban lifestyles.

Now, some New Jersey towns like Bloomfield and Maplewood are looking to clarify fuzzy ordinances to specifically allow for expanded front yard gardens as well as backyard chicken coops to support the trend towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle. They may model their proposed ordinance after that of their upscale neighbor,  Montclair, which for years has had a number of productive chicken coops scattered around the town.  Where to draw the line? Rabbits, goats, and pigs all have their own fans. Even New York City in now taking steps to legalize porkers as pets.

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