Extreme Simplicity: Homesteading in the City

Front Cover
Chelsea Green Publishing, 2002 - Social Science - 240 pages
4 Reviews
Homesteading in LA? Off-the-Grid in Tinseltown? Take Scott and Helen Nearing, translate them from the rockbound coast of Maine into Southern California, and you start to have a picture of Christopher and Dolores Nyerges.

Here is an upbeat, unabashedly outrageous book about applying the principles of self-reliance, more often associated with rural back-to-the-landers and wilderness campers, to life in suburban Los Angeles. By telling their own homesteading story, the Nyergeses have created a blueprint that will help city-dwellers anywhere live more independently.

The book is organized more like a how-to or self-help book than a personal memoir. The authors present self-sufficient and ecological approaches to commonly defined areas of a household: The House, The Yard, Homegrown Foods (and wild edibles), Domestic Animals, The Garden, Water, Energy, and Recycling. A concluding chapter takes on larger lifestyle questions of livelihood and healthy relationships with money and security.

Although the Nyergeses are "extremists" in many ways, their warmth and humor is accessible to all. They have been widely published (they are frequent contributors to Mother Earth News) and operate a popular School for Self-Reliance that offers courses in wild food foraging, wild food cookery, orienteering, self-reliance, and survival.

Frankly, few city dwellers will choose to live the "extreme simplicity" of the Nyergeses, but many will be inspired by their example. Young people just starting out who are drawn to cities for social and cultural reasons but who don't have the financial means to live comfortably stand to learn much from this book. This book will also find a ready audience among people wholive in group houses, or political activists who embrace the anti-globalization movement. But even casual readers will be smitten with the idea of growing a dramatic proportion of their own food in a highly productive and lawn-less "yard"; harvesting "weeds" for home consumption (or to sell in urban farmers' markets); using solar energy to heat water, bake bread and vegetables, and generate electricity; composting kitchen scraps (and pet manures) with a combined rabbit hutch and worm-farm; and collecting rainwater for home use.

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Review: Extreme Simplicity: Homesteading in the City

User Review  - Pam - Goodreads

Very informative book, slightly dated, but still full of pertinent information on living green, frugally, self sufficiently in the city where you don't have acreage available. Teeny bit dry, but it wasn't fiction, so I'll give it a pass. Good book. Read full review

Review: Extreme Simplicity: Homesteading in the City

User Review  - Nadir - Goodreads

Chis and Dolores Nyerges share a great many of their successes and their failures in trying to live well within the otherwise unsustainable suburban sprawl. As with anything so personal in nature ... Read full review

About the author (2002)

nyerges is the codirector with his wife of the School os Sele-Reliance, where he has taught classes on wild foods.

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