“Are you crazy?”
These were many of the questions I heard when we decided to get into homesteading. We first started with our buff orpington hens for eggs, and many people thought we were nuts. “But you can buy eggs at the store. That’s so much easier!”
Well, I suppose they are right, but we had a few concerns. So, why did we start homesteading? Here are our main reasons:
Health. Before we jumped into homesteading, we started learning about the commercialized food industry. When we discovered how the majority of our food was grown/processed, how the animals providing our meat/dairy were treated, and what they were eating, we got pretty freaked out. We realized the food industry does not have the consumer’s health and well-being at heart. We decided to produce as much of our food as we could and buy the best quality produce, meat and dairy that we could not produce. We aren’t where we want to be yet, but we have done well for our first year.
Self-Reliance. I remember grocery shopping one day and getting irritated that the store didn’t have the organic, grassfed beef I wanted. As I stood there griping about what I was going to do, I thought about something I had read in Folks This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World by Joel Salatin. (Link below) To paraphrase, we as a culture have become so reliant on the constant supply we have available from the super market, but this isn’t normal! Why was I holding the store responsible for providing my family with food when it is actually my responsibility? When I changed my perspective on this, the idea of being more self-reliant was a lot more appealing. It has been a lot of hard work growing, raising, and preserving our own food, but it has been so rewarding.
To have a relationship with our food. When we purchase meat, dairy, and produce from the store, we have no relationship with it or anyone who has handled it. We have no clue how it was grown, raised, treated, or what it was fed. Growing and raising our own food takes a lot of effort and preparation, but we know exactly how our food was grown. We watch our animals grow and know exactly what they have been fed and that they were treated with love and respect. Plus there is nothing better than teaching our son where his food is coming from and watching him feed and love the animals or “help” work in the gardens.
To work together as a family. Our culture seems so obsessed with a fast paced, productive lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with hard work and being successful, but our family wants to make it a priority to slow down and enjoy each other. (I will expand on this further in an upcoming post as it is something I am still working on.) Working together on the homestead has provided us with so many family memories just in the first year! We have cultivated a sense of teamwork as we all share in the homestead chores and work together toward our goals. Having the homestead gives us the opportunity to spend plenty of time together as a family and reap the benefits of our teamwork.
To change the system. Since we have learned about commercialized food factories and farms, we have tried our best to stay away from them. While we know our one homestead won’t cause these factories and farms to change their ways, we hope we can inspire others to educate themselves and take a shot at homesteading. You don’t have to jump straight into livestock. Just try growing something! Homesteading can mean something different to everyone depending on their circumstances. Every little bit counts and can eventually add up and change the food industry!
Whew! That was quite the post. I didn’t realize I was so passionate about homesteading until I wrote out our reasons for doing so. I would love to hear from you! What are your reasons for homesteading or wanting to homestead? Let me know below. Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up with the latest news from the homestead!
Here’s the link to the book I referenced. Definitely check it out! You will learn a lot.