There are billions of people in this world, which means there are also billions of opinions about everything under the sun.   No one has to give an account to billions of people, so let’s hash out the definitions of homestead, homesteading and homesteader.


  1. a dwelling with its land and buildings, occupied by the owner as a home and exempted by a homestead law from seizure or sale for debt.
  2. any dwelling with its land and buildings where a family makes its home.
  3. a tract of land acquired under the Homestead Act.

Source: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/homestead

I don’t know about every city, county and state regulations, but I do know that I am in a dwelling, on land, that has buildings and me and my family make it our home.


  1. an act or instance of establishing a homestead.
  2. Also called homesteading program, urban homesteading. a federal program to improve deteriorating urban areas by offering abandoned or foreclosed houses to persons who agree to repair them and live in them for a specified number of years.

Source: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/homesteading?s=t

Isn’t it interesting that the dictionary now includes urban homesteading and a federal program was created for it?  In the City of Knoxville (Tennessee) where I homestead, there is an program called Knoxville Urban Agriculture Initiative.


  1. the owner or holder of a homestead.
  2. a settler under the Homestead Act.

Source: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/homesteader?s=t

I am definitely the owner or holder of a homestead!

Challenges of homesteading in the city…

There are many, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to homestead in the city.  It is highly recommended that you find out what ordinances, laws and other restrictions apply to your property before you start building your infrastructure!

Challenges include:

  • Do you have to hook up to municipal services?
  • Can you have a compost system?
  • Can you have a produce garden in your yard?
  • Are greenhouses and other outbuildings allowed?
  • Can you hire helpers?
  • Can you run a farm business from your property?
  • Can you sell produce you grow? 
  • Can you have chickens, ducks or other common farm animals?  In the City of Knoxville we can have six chickens, but there are restrictions, permits and coop requirements.
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