Urban Homesteading: Local Land-Use Codes Might Surprise You September 21, 2016 There’s a growing trend in backyards across Northern Colorado: urban homesteading. It’s a throwback to simpler times of eating what you grow. Although the farm-to-table concept is nothing new, it’s definitely gaining momentum in recent years, so it’s not surprising that modern-day rules are popping up to keep Northern Colorado neighbors happy on both sides of the fence. If you live in the City of Fort Collins, you might be surprised to know that you can own poultry (chickens and ducks), bees and pygmy goats. Yes, goats! Although subject to certain regulations, up to two Nigerian dwarf or pygmy goats are allowed on lots within city limits. With a special license, you can also sell what you grow at home. And if you want to build a year-round hoop house to cultivate your veggies, you don’t need a structure permit as long as it’s less than 8-feet tall and 120-s.f. in size. This handy brochure has some good information about certain restrictions in Fort Collins, and the city’s Urban Agriculture webpage offers additional resources and best practices. In May 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed a bill into law that finally allows residential home owners to collect rain water for outdoor purposes in Colorado. You aren’t supposed to drink it, but at least you can use captured water for your plants. (Photo courtesy Grace Hood, Colorado Public Radio) If you’re curious about becoming an urban homesteader, a great place to see the practice in action is at the Annual NoCo Urban Homestead Tour. According to the event’s website, the mission of the self-guided tour is to educate the public about self-sustainable lifestyles that include growing fruits and vegetables, raising backyard chickens and ducks, keeping bees, building greenhouses, and incorporating useful and repurposed garden structures into your home’s landscape. The annual tour, usually held in July, features these practices in small, yet inspiring, backyard settings. The Gardens on Spring Creek, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas and Larimer County Natural Resources also hosts the annual family-friendly Nature’s Harvest Fest in mid-September. The event is a community harvest party with butterfly releases, fresh produce sampling, a marketplace full of local artisans and food producers, live music, food vendors, cooking demonstrations and urban homesteading workshops. And if you missed the scheduled urban homesteading events this year, you can attend classes at Gardens on Spring Creek, or find inspiration in NoCo Bloom, a free quarterly gardening guide for Northern Colorado. HighCraft is experienced at navigating city and county zoning codes and restrictions, and we’re currently working on several urban homestead-related building projects. Contact us for a free consultation.