Why We Homestead
Why our homestead came to be and where we hope to go..
Years ago, well before our daughter was born, we decided that homesteading was the life for us. Gracious farmers and land stewards had opened their homes to us, showed us the ropes, and given us a glimpse of that possibility. Our dream was not only fueled by the pursuit of what we imagined to be personal fulfillment, but rooted in that we saw this lifestyle as a deeply subversive and radical act. A meaningful way to prioritize living in congruence with our values and ensuring that our footprint on this planet was one of more creation than destruction. A way to have power over our own wellness, by not relying solely on the unscrupulous structures that be to provide our basic necessity of food. The majority of which is questionable quality at best. A way to raise children with a reverence for the natural world, who understand how to feed themselves, and grasp the impact and power that their actions have. A way to ensure that we were not exploiting and harming life. A way to have more time to live life on our terms, by cutting out the soul draining capitalistic middle-man from some of our everyday life. By taking responsibility for producing our own food (and energy) we require that much less of an outside income to thrive.
So in March of 2016 we used every penny of our savings to purchase 2 acres just outside of Ithaca, NY and began to execute the dream. Now, two years later, we have built our modest, passive solar, Green Home. And we have jumped into homesteading.
We apply some permaculture principles, follow organic practices, use heirloom seeds where possible, and feed our animals non-gmo feed.
Last year, we were able to produce approximately 50% of our food during the growing season (one quarter of our total food for the year), and approximately 90% of our outsourced food was locally produced within 100 miles of us. We produced 100% of our energy with solar, plus some. I crafted 75% of our own non toxic household cleaners and bath/hygiene products. And we managed to keep our per person annual waste production to 53 lbs, compared to the national average of 1,606 lbs. Yes, you read that correctly, an average of one thousand six hundred and six pounds of waste per person annually in the United States.
Our food sources of 2017 were; vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens, a berry patch, a few maple trees to tap, fresh chicken eggs, sprouting, and fermenting.
The ways in which we are expanding our food sources in 2018 are; a fifty tree fruit orchard, bee hives, a vegetable garden expansion, growing our chicken flock and adding ducks, mushroom cultivation, and a sustainable food storage solution for ensuring year round homegrown food.
Further future endeavors will include; becoming a no-waste household, producing 100% of our own animal feed, a natural dye garden, and hoop houses for year round fresh produce production.
Our five year goal is to produce as near to 100% of our own food as possible, and source the remainder from within our community. And to generate enough income off of our surplus to finance projects for associated growth.
We are not wealthy, and we are working with what some would consider abundance and others would consider limited space. But that does not mean we are not rich with opportunity. So much can be done with what we do have. So much can be done with much less than what we have.
So here we are! Becoming an active part of the entire process of food has only made me love it more. Composting to create and amend soil, gathering seeds, tending their growth, harvesting, and preparing it into delicious and nourishing meals has been such a creative, rewarding experience - and I want to share it with you!
Some of the hard truths of what makes homesteading such a subversive, renegade act are blistering to hear.. But this is not meant to be preachy or pious or overly precious blog. It is intended to be a blog that exemplifies how bringing meaning and mindfulness to the mundane can actually bring about a change that will brighten our individual and collective future. It will share how to bring this to your own life through practical tips and some really good food to boot.