September 13, 2008
Karin Kliewer wanted to enjoy the fruits of living on a farm, but she also wanted to be near the resources of the city.
The solution: urban homesteading.
Kliewer and her husband, Greg Roberts, now run the Little City Farm in downtown Kitchener.
"Basically, farming -- but on a small scale," Kliewer said.
The pair will share their experiences as urban homesteaders at a free public talk later this month in the One Book, One Community campaign.
This year's book is The 100-Mile Diet, the chronicle of a Vancouver couple's year-long odyssey to eat only local food. Authors Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon will visit Waterloo Region next week for readings as part of the events being held all month.
Now in its seventh year, One Book, One Community is like a regionwide book club, with everyone encouraged to read and discuss the same book.
The 100-Mile Diet urges people to think about what they eat and where it comes from, as well as sustainable living in general.
That's a part of daily life for Kliewer and her husband. Little City Farm's focus is living simply and in a way that's easy on the environment.
The couple grow most of their own food in an organic garden on their third of an acre, bake in an outdoor wood-fired oven, use solar power and build with natural materials. They get around the city on foot or bike and buy from local farmers.
To share their passion for sustainable living, the pair opened a bed and breakfast. Visitors have come from all over the world,Kliewer said.
"I think people are coming here because they know it's something a little bit different."
Quite often, people ask to pitch in and get their hands dirty in the garden or with other projects. For the morning meal, most choose the 100-mile breakfast of local, free-range eggs, organic bread made with local flour and jam made with local berries.
"Really, we're in a great area of the country," Kliewer said.
Kliewer and her husband also hold workshops -- from organic gardening and canning to soapmaking and beekeeping -- to help others in the community get started on sustainability.
Best of all, green living can be easy and even small steps make a difference.
"Anybody can do these things, even if you have a balcony," said Kliewer. "Everybody has something that they can do."