“Canning is the New Knitting”

Photo via Happy Girl Kitchen Co.

For some, canning and knitting might go hand-in-hand. You make your sweaters, you can your produce.

For others, canning might be a new hobby. You knitted last winter; this year you’ll can produce.

Either way, there seems to be a growing trend toward self-sufficiency with food, likely influenced by the economic downturn. It’s called urban homesteading, a movement in the San Francisco Bay Area that has flourished and become more mainstream. There’s even a book about it, The Urban Homestead, by Erik Knutsen and Kelly Coyne, who will be publishing another one this fall called Making It: Radical Home-Ec For a Post-Consumer World. It’s a step-by-step book that covers everything from building a chicken coop to cooking from scratch.

I stumbled across this information in today’s New York Times, which mentions other great resources in the article. While they’re mainly in the Bay Area, their websites have all kinds of useful information, no matter where you live.

Happy Girl Kitchen: offers a variety of workshops on preserving the local harvest in simple and delicious ways

Hayes Valley Farm:  an education and research project with a focus on urban agriculture

Institute for Urban Homesteading: a response to current interest in food security, localization and self-determination; the Urban Homestead classroom is a gathering place to research, ferment and learn together, featuring small class sizes and experiential learning.

How to Homestead: an arts organization that focuses on the creation, curation, and distribution of short films dedicated to 21st century homesteading

SF Underground Market: a venue for tasting and purchasing the food that is being produced in backyards and home kitchens in the Bay Area

Todd Champagne, an owner of Happy Girl Kitchen, told The New York Times that homesteading is more than a passing trend. He jokes, “Canning is the new knitting. Food security takes on a heightened importance during difficult times.”

But he’s also optimistic this trend is not only driven by the economy. “There’s an enduring quality to these skills,” he said. “Once you get a taste of your own pickles, it’s hard to go back.”


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