My husband and I have had a lot of discussions about why we’re developing out little homestead. It would be A LOT easier to just go to the grocery store. We wouldn’t have the responsibility of the chickens. We wouldn’t have all of the work of the garden. It would be easier to leave for an overnight trip without having to get a “farm sitter”. So why all of the trouble and fuss?
Because we can, and we should. There’s a lot of talk about the economy, food sources, and prices. We want to be very careful about just how far we travel down the doomsday road. We don’t want to be doing all of this out of fear, and we don’t want to pass that fear along to our son. Even as my grandparents would talk about the Great Depression, they were able to do it without instilling fear. They didn’t have much to begin with, so they weren’t affected too much by the Depression. The one big difference in how they experienced the Depression, since they were farmers, is that they never had to stand in a soup kitchen line. These stories made a lasting impression on me. They didn’t depend on someone else to do for them what they could do for themselves. In the face of hard times, what we want to pass along to our son is a responsibility for the Earth, a connection to food and the knowledge of how to feed oneself good, homegrown food. We do have an emergency plan in place, but it isn’t our focus. Our focus is, however, the joy of backyard chickens, planning/planting a garden and flowers, cooking meals together, as a family and enjoying those wonderful meals. We are continually discussing plans for what to add to our little homestead next. We are very aware of what we are modeling and teaching our son, what we are passing along to him. Our hope is that we teach him respect, responsibility, awareness and joy for where his food comes from.
We are fortunate that we have 2 acres, even though only about half of that is usable, but it’s still more than what many have. Not everyone has access to land and growing their own. Everything we do here, takes away that much dependence on commercial food production. If everyone, who had access would use it, how would that change our commercial food production? If commercial producers weren’t so stressed to feed everyone, would they be able to incorporate better methods? Would they, even if they could? I would like to think they would. I feel, that as consumers, we have a responsibility in what and how we buy. If you have land, try growing something! Even when I rented a home in Springfield, I tried a small garden, but there was just too much shade. I had one spot with enough sun for a container in which I planted a cherry tomato plant. I did what I could do. Now that I have more, I can do more.
What can you do? Maybe you don’t want to raise chickens and that’s okay. Maybe you don’t want a big garden and that’s okay too. If you don’t want to, or simply can’t, grow and raise your own, find a small local farmer, join a CSA (community supported agriculture), go to the farmer’s markets, and get to know the people growing your food. Every step counts.