Introduction to Urban Homesteading

Urban Homesteading in Ottawa can be tricky, especially when you live in a condo. You’re limited by by-laws and the rules of your condo corporation, but there are plenty you can do to help kick start your way to agricultural bliss.

If you feel limited by size, start growing your own herbs indoors. Fresh herbs can add amazing flavour to any dish, as well as add beautiful colour to your kitchen. Plants like Basil are incredibly easy to grow and cheap to maintain, as is Thyme and Parsley.

Once you’ve mastered your herbs, you can replicate and plant vegetables. If you don’t have garden space, just get a big planter (Wal-Mart or the Dollar store will have these on the cheap), fill with soil and plant your seeds (or starter plant if it’s later in the season). For a small family of four, one or two plants per planter should be able to feed you. These planters can fit well on a balcony or in a kitchen. They look pretty nice to boot. As your green thumb grows, think about renewable containers around your house you can use. Invest in a good grower’s book to help you with common plant issues. I suggest The Canadian Edible Garden.

The easiest way you can be assured of your local and homegrown product is to talk to your local farmers. In Ottawa, the Farmer’s Market is located at Brewer’s Park and hosts a variety of sustainable local foods and products. Speak to the stall workers and find out how they get their products to you. Because Ottawa prohibits the use of livestock on your property (such as owning your own chickens or a goat), this is a great way to get products such as meat, milk and eggs to your door without going to the big grocery stores. It may not be true homesteading, but you can still get that fresh, homegrown flavour you desire.


Dani is a local Ottawa area mom and writer who ventured into homesteading when she was pregnant with her daughter. When she’s not fighting earwigs in her garden, she can be found writing at home on her computer, or working on her comedy bit on Twitter @IncredibleMsDee


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