urban homestead (ongoing, 2006)

an exchange economy

urban homestead is a chicago residence that is open to working travelers and out-of-towners for stays of a few days up to two weeks. it fills the niche of people who find themselves in chicago perhaps working on art or research or cultural connections who want to live in an urban immigrant neighborhood in a house that has an ecological emphasis.

urban homestead is an ecological living system that requires the energy of others to keep it alive. those who stay must be interested in living in a way that is resourceful in terms of energy and materiality. the economy of urban homestead is an exchange economy. this exchange could be one of money or of services/labor. some examples of services/labor are: gardening, housecleaning, light carpentry, etc.

urban homestead is a private home. stays at urban homestead need to be arranged and agreed upon one month in advance of stay.

urban homestead comes with its own menagerie – the chickens and the quail and the rabbit live outside, the two chihuahuas and two cats live inside. Please don’t bring your pets.

I keep my house cool in the winter, relying on the wood stove and sweaters to keep me warm. In the summer, I use fans and open windows. This is in part economics and acceptance of what is. You are responsible for all damage and extra utilities/phone use beyond standard usage. No parties, no smoking, no drugs inside the house.

Influences for this model: WWOOF, exchange economy, permaculture

all interested in staying at urban homestead must contact me describing the following:

  • how did you hear about urban homestead?
  • why are you attracted to staying here?
  • when do you want to stay at urban homestead?
  • tell me a bit about yourself/yourselves. what do you plan to do while you are in Chicago?
  • for the exchange, you will be helping out three hours each day in the morning. do you have aversions/limitation to doing any sort of work? (you could be composting, gardening, cooking, handling animals, lifting heavy things, etc.)
  • what is your skill set like? do you have any special skills or areas of expertise that you’d like to offer as part of your exchange?
  • do you have allergies to animals or plants?
  • please provide names and e-mails of two character references. tell me how you know them and for how long.
  • do you have any other questions?

urban homestead elements/amenities:

  • lots of natural light – east, south and west exposures and lots of indoor plants to go with it
  • huge side yard garden, living room, dining room, bedroom, meditation room, kitchen, cactus room, back porch, full basement (office, slop sink/fermentation room, tool room, studio, seedling room) and roof access
  • large library of books – art, horticulture, botany, d.i.y., field guides, reference, nature, poetry, fiction, non-fiction
  • composting facilities and wood stove
  • landline and dsl