Brief Reviews, VOLUME 4

Brief Review: Modern Homestead By Renee Wilkinson [Vol. 4, #24.5]

A Brief Review of

Modern Homestead:
Grow, Raise, Create
Renee Wilkinson.
Paperback: Fulcrum, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Zena Neds-Fox.

Renee Wilkinson’s Modern Homestead: Grow, Raise, Create offers above all a spirit of accessibility. Around my urban setting of Detroit I’ve watched many a bearded soul roll up their sleeves, dig in, and turn over hard ground. I’ve looked from afar as raised beds go up, and wild flowers border good food grown by good communities – and I will admit it, I feel a little unwelcome. I think it’s partly my own fault. It just seems like a lot of hard work. But when I get over my laziness and make a few phone calls to the green movements looking for volunteers, I kind of don’t feel cool enough.

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Lame, I know. But there you have it. This is why I was glad to get a book about the ways of the modern homesteader. I don’t have to feel insecure about my lack of initiative or know how while reading a book. And Wilkinson herself writes from the perspective of someone who knew next to nothing, and now she has pretty much mastered growing food, owning farm animals in the city and preserving what she harvests. There is no real or imagined holier than thou feeling that is communicated here. She reads like the magazine you’ve always hoped you could find that would just tell you what to do to begin your foray into homesteading.

Her closing chapter ‘Preserving the Harvest’ conveys much practical information about canning; complete with step by step instructions. By sharing her interests with a welcoming style, you can’t help but want to try out the recipes she’s listed as well as follow her initiative and try some of her suggestions for natural cleaners and beauty products. This book is an easily-digestible treasure for those who might feel intimidated by the topic of modern homesteading.


Zena Neds-Fox is a mother and a writer; she blogs at Considerate Neighbor:

C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at:

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