Making A Difference With Urban Permaculture: Guest Heather Butler

On Today’s Podcast Episode, Harold has a conversation with Heather Butler from the Urban Permaculture Podcast about the expansion of her urban permaculture homestead and food forest.

The Modern Homesteading Podcast, Episode 202 – May 15, 2023

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Heather works in the aviation industry and travels for work more than she’s home. She has had small gardens in the past, but it wasn’t until 2021 that she and her husband Bob decided that they were going to dive into homesteading full throttle.

Heather shares how they have been obese most of their lives and they both have heart conditions. Her husband has a pacemaker with a defibrillator and eating healthier has become a priority for them.

Heather doesn’t have a formal education in anything agricultural…yet, she has learned everything through experimentation, advice from friends and family, and hours and hours of research. As it really started becoming clear that she had a knack for homesteading, she decided that she needed to share her experiences with the world and hopes to inspire others.

As they dove deeply into homesteading, they realized that the best way for them to have a sustainable farm was to dive deep into permaculture. Heather reminds us all that if she can grow her own food in the middle of a city while traveling more than she’s home, anyone can do this.

An Urban Homesteading Journey: A Story of Transformation and Inspiration

Welcome to an inspiring tale of urban homesteading. In this article, we’ll delve into the remarkable journey of Heather Butler and her husband Bob, as narrated in an episode of the “Modern Homesteading Podcast” hosted by Harold Thornbro. This story is not just about gardening and homesteading; it’s about transforming lives and communities.

The Beginnings

Heather and Bob started their homesteading adventure three years ago with a simple raised garden box. However, their aspirations quickly grew, and they soon found themselves expanding their garden significantly. Their urban farm, “Hogs and Hens Urban Farm,” now features a 40-foot by 40-foot garden with 15 raised beds, a greenhouse, and a mushroom growing area.

Expanding Beyond the Initial Lot

The couple didn’t stop there. They discovered a program in their city, Dayton, Ohio, that allowed residents to purchase adjoining vacant lots for minimal cost. Seizing this opportunity, they expanded their homestead, adding two more lots to their property. This expansion not only increased their growing space but also helped in cleaning up the neighborhood.

A Diverse Array of Plantings

Their garden boasts an impressive variety of vegetables, fruits, and herbs. From radishes, beets, and a variety of greens to asparagus, strawberries, and multiple onion varieties, their garden is a testament to what can be achieved in an urban setting. They also grow squash, eggplant, kohlrabi, and have started experimenting with fruit trees and bushes.

Livestock and Sustainability Efforts

The couple keeps chickens and is planning to add quail and rabbits. They’re also exploring aquaponics and have introduced vermiculture (worm composting) into their system. Their goal is to create a sustainable, self-sufficient ecosystem on their urban farm.

Overcoming Challenges

Heather and Bob face unique challenges due to health conditions that limit their ability to work in extreme temperatures. They’ve adapted brilliantly, often tending to their garden at night to avoid the heat. This adaptability is a core part of their approach to urban homesteading.

Educational Outreach

Heather’s passion extends beyond her homestead. She hosts the “Urban Permaculture Podcast” and offers workshops to educate and inspire others. She’s also involved in a seed savers exchange group, encouraging local gardening and sustainability.

Future Plans

Looking ahead, the couple plans to incorporate solar power, expand their aquaponics system, and grow more fruit varieties. They also aspire to add beehives and convert part of their space into a beer garden, growing hops for home brewing.

The Impact on Health and Community

Heather and Bob’s journey is also a health journey. By growing their own food, they’ve taken control of their diet, which has had a positive impact on their health. Moreover, their efforts are revitalizing their neighborhood, turning vacant lots into lush gardens and inspiring others to do the same.


The story of Hogs and Hens Urban Farm is more than just about urban homesteading. It’s about making a positive change in one’s life and community. It proves that with creativity, determination, and a bit of hard work, urban spaces can be transformed into thriving homesteads. Heather and Bob’s journey is an inspiration for anyone dreaming of a greener, more sustainable life, regardless of where they live.

Heather’s Website:

Heather’s Podcast: The Urban Permaculture Podcast

Last update on 2024-06-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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    Author, blogger, podcaster, homesteading and permaculture enthusiast. I have a passion for sharing what I learn and helping others on their journey. If you're looking for me, you'll usually find me in the garden.

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