Notes from the Urban Homestead – An Introduction

I spent June 1 to June 9, 2009 at radical ecologist Nance Klehm’sUrban Homestead,’ a typical Chicago-style 2-story brick house on a 5,000 square foot lot that she has made productive (at least in comparison to the standard home, which I would describe as consumptive).  One of the things Nance said to me early on was “I tend to manifest abundance.”  That abundance is very much in evidence on this little square of land in the midst of the struggle and concrete of the city.  Nance’s property is planted permaculture style, a landscape I have little experience reading.  On the surface, it just looks like everything is all jumbled up and chaotically growing like crazy everywhere.  From what I know about permaculture I know it’s all part of a system, but it took awhile to get into the rhythm of seeing and working within that system.  Once you start to really look, it all starts to make sense – edibles, medicinals and “weeds” all living together symbiotically.  Pretty much everything has a function – although it’s quite beautiful, there is little that is there purely for ornament or show.  All in all, it really does look like a little farm-stead, inside and out – a beautiful and inspiring place to spend a little time.   I’ll be pulling together a few belated posts based on journal entries during my stay there.

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