Earlier this week I had the pleasure of sitting down in my kitchen for an interview with garden guru P. Allen Smith (well, I was in my kitchen but Allen was in Arkansas…). He was talking with me via Skype about my book, Modern Homestead, for his public radio program Garden Home. We chatted about our personal journeys with homesteading, keeping backyard poultry, what we are preserving this season and more. But we also talked about the growth of the modern homesteading movement.

Talking with P. Allen Smith (via Skype) from my kitchen table

Talking with P. Allen Smith (via Skype) from my kitchen table

I mentioned how I see feed stores popping up in very urban areas left and right – something that was hard to find just 5-10 years ago. It’s more and more common to see front lawns being replaced with vegetable beds and farmers’ markets seem to multiply every year. It’s clear that people want to know more about where their food comes from, meet the people who grow it and get their hands dirty themselves in their own back (or front) yard.

urban-goats

Urban goats at home in an undeveloped lot in inner southeast Portland

As with most of my interviews, I came up with all kinds of other (and perhaps more interesting) things to say after the interview was over. For example, I often walk by an empty lot in inner southeast Portland that is home to a decent-sized herd of goats. They keep the grass trimmed and the neighbor kids (and adults) fascinated with their presence.

rental-chickens

Our vacation rental house included a backyard flock

We rented a house recently that included entertainment from the home owner’s backyard chicken flock. What a deal!

community-garden

Seattle community garden in Capitol Hill

I could have mentioned the growing demand for community gardens, many of which have waiting lists months or years long. Cities are often scrambling to develop new plots to keep up with the demand.

heirloom-tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes at a farmers market

Not only do more people know what an heirloom tomato is, many can list a few favorites at the drop of a hat. Grociery stores big and small are now carrying widen assortments on their produce shelves.

courthouse-garden

Courthouse Garden in Eugene, Oregon

Unoccupied urban lots are increasingly becoming homes to temporary or even permanent food gardens, like this gorgeous Courthouse Garden outside the Federal Courthouse in Eugene, Oregon.

I have my own reasons for thinking the modern homestead movement is growing, but I would love to hear what you think. Why are you interested in bumbling down the homesteading road? What does your homestead mean to you? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Want to hear the interview? It airs on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home public radio show this Saturday throughout the great state of Arkansas. It will be available after airing through iTunes and on the P. Allen Smith website. I’ll post links when they become available. UPDATE: Here is the link to listen to the interview.

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