Hello! I’m Lisa Brunette, and my intention is to bring you stories about hope, health, and homesteading on a quarter acre.

Is it me, or do I kind of look like a chicken?

See any ads here? Nope. Readers fund my work through paid subscriptions.

Why hope?

Because over the past four years, I nearly lost mine. I figure the best way to cultivate a sense of hope is to talk about it with others. I’m not promising candy-coated optimism here, mind you, but hope? It springs eternal.

Maybe these stories will resonate with you. Here’s one to try.

What about health?

I’m actively healing from a neuroimmune condition. Due to past trauma coinciding with viral infections and toxin exposure, my immune system became stuck in a high-alert pattern. This has meant decades spent chasing medical diagnoses, playing culinary detective to exclude “culprit” foods from my diet, and swallowing pills that failed to cure me. I’m finally getting results from neuroplasticity brain retraining.

Gardening and connecting with nature support this work. So does eating a healthy diet, which means meat from pasture-fed animals, dairy and animal fats, pesticide-free fruit and vegetables, and whole grains, nuts, beans, and seeds that have been properly prepared for better digestibility.

Lacto-fermented foods have been key. Here’s a recipe to thrill you with the possibilities.

Do I really live on a homestead?

That’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot, actually.

Over the past seven years, I’ve transformed a quarter-acre plot overgrown with invasive plants into a surprisingly stunning oasis that supports pollinators and wildlife and provides for about 30 percent of our household calories. My husband and I are not in a rural setting but rather a major metropolitan center of a few million residents. Apartment buildings literally look down onto our farm from both sides. I use the word farm deliberately, as we’re one of only two in the city to earn the official designation.

I believe what constitutes a “homestead” is changing and will continue to expand to include urban and suburban homes of many shapes and sizes as Western civilization declines.

Speaking of decline

The industrial world is waning… slowly. We all have this window, this moment in time to boost our food security, build our self-reliance and independence, and recover the manners and methods that allowed our ancestors to survive the worst of times.

Free subscribers get

A new post on the first Thursday of every month: recipes, tips, interviews, farm tours.

Paid subscribers get

The above plus a second post on the third Thursday of every month: personal essays.

Access to the full recipe archive in printable PDFs and a chance to win free books.

The satisfaction of funding backyard homesteading stories without advertising.

Founding subscribers get

All of the above plus my garden-planning and companion-planting guides.

I’ll never sell your address or share it with anyone else. Substack doesn’t own my list; I do.

The podcast

Sometimes it takes a discussion to really get to the meat of a matter, so even though I think of myself as a writer and have never wanted to go “on the air,” allow me to introduce you to the Brunette Gardens Podcast.

Many of these recordings are just me, reading my essays aloud like I’m at an open-mike night, because a lot of folks rather listen than read. Maybe you’re one of them?

My background

Through a lifetime of frequent moves—a military brat childhood and nomadic adulthood—gardening has been my one constant. Whether working a community tomato patch in the inner city or accepting a platinum award for my current garden, my love affair with growing things has been lifelong. A wordsmith by trade, I’ve published journalism, books, and games, often winning awards. Though I’ve never wanted to be a food writer, my recipes are popular with readers, even when they’re anti-recipe recipes.

What readers say

A few testimonials.


I like to feature other voices besides my own: guest writers, podcast interviewees, tour hosts, and book authors, such as

, , , and , to name a few.

I’ve even roped my own husband into writing for this Substack on occasion.

has covered hugelkulturs, fat rendering, our bamboo squash tunnel, and more. Readers love this one on suburban foraging.

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Here’s to gracious gardening, and I hope your homestead brings you happiness!

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Hope, health, and homesteading on a quarter acre.


Award-winning writer and gardener who’s always had her hands in the dirt.
Anthony's mother once told Lisa, "Don't believe everything he says." That's sound advice.