I have collaborated with some really inspiring bloggers to talk about our homesteading experiences and what homesteading means to us. Be sure to check out the links to their blogs at the bottom of this post for more homesteading inspiration!
THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
I really struggled with calling myself a homesteader for a long time. My first year of homesteading was really sucky. You can read about it here. I felt like how could I call myself a homesteader when everything I touched went wrong. How could I even begin compare to all these amazing people I saw online living these amazing self sufficient lifestyles. I was frustrated! Don’t worry I bottled up my frustration and used it to push forward and I promise no one was hurt in the process. And things started to improve. So don’t give up!!!
WHAT I DISCOVERED……
That being a homesteader does not mean I have to be living off grid, totally self sustainable and just basically NAILING IT all the time. Homesteading comes with failures! These things take time and growth of knowledge. In the old days most of this knowledge was passed down from the generation before us. Unfortunately that is not the case for most of us these days. For most people your first year of homesteading will be a little rough. The truth is no one starts homesteading without some kind of learning curb. Even if you have been doing it your whole life there is always more to learn and there is always new obstacles that come up. Homesteading is a journey not a race! Another thing that has become very apparent to me is that you can homestead anywhere! Whether it is in an apartment or on many acres of land. Homesteading is a way of life. To me it is striving to connect to your food and the earth. Pretty awesome right!
WHY WOULD I TRY HOMESTEADING, IT SOUNDS HARD?
Now that I have totally knocked your expectations down I want to pick them right back up. With each failure comes knowledge and with knowledge comes improvement. For example last year I went back to a smaller garden. I started to figure out what I could grow easily and what took more time and effort. I asked for help. This is key to your homesteading success. I have made great strides with my poultry keeping skills. I can now quickly identify problems and nip them in the butt. Sometimes you need to fail to gain the knowledge you need to continue forward.
Surround yourself with people that are doing these same things. My family is my number one support system and my Dad has a wealth of gardening knowledge. But I still needed more, I needed to connect with other people that were getting their hands dirty, raising livestock and living this lifestyle. For me I found an amazing support system online on Instagram and Facebook. So many people are coming back to this way of life. Go connect with them! There is a whole homesteading community out there waiting to cheer you on and prop you up when you do fail. With this support and each success I had, it gave me the confidence to expand. You will begin to have successes! You will start to feel connected to your food and in turn you will begin to have a different view on life and how we live. And you will now have a community of people to share this with. AND IT FEELS GOOD TO SHOUT YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS OUT!
HOMESTEADING TO HELP THE EARTH AND IMPROVE OUR HEALTH
This is the number one reason I wanted to start homesteading. There are many other reasons but this one made me feel like I was making a difference. The state of our planet weighs heavy on my heart these days. With climate change and the unbelievable amount of pollution. The health of our planet is obviously being affected by the way our society is living. It is crazy how often people are falling prey to cancers and other horrible diseases. A lot of these issues are connected to our food, especially the industries that produce our food and how it is produced.
The vegetables and fruits we eat are heavily sprayed with pesticides and are trucked from many miles away contributing to pollution. A lot of the time the animals we eat are kept inhumanely and have never even seen pasture. They are often fed genetically modified pesticide soaked feed and are administered unnecessary antibiotics. Not good. To really understand the effect these things are having on the earth I would highly recommend watching the documentary Kiss the Ground. Here’s a link to the trailer. Very eye opening.
The beauty of homesteading is that you have control over so many of these factors. You can grow organic vegetables and fruits. Not only will they taste amazing, like one hundred percent better than what you are buying from the grocery store, your simply walking into your backyard to harvest. Talk about reducing your carbon footprint! Not to mention the pride you will feel growing them yourself. Now lets think about food waste. If you feel pride in something you have grown do you think you are likely to let it go to waste. Heck no! And now we are reducing food waste. Plus your diet has probably significantly improved. The small amount of food waste you are producing, well that just goes back into the compost which in turn improves your soil. This is getting good now isn’t it!
Same goes with the idea of raising meat and eggs. You will know how that animal is treated. You know exactly what that animal has been fed. If an animal is exposed to fresh air, sunshine, quality pasture and a stress free environment the meat and eggs they produce will be be so much healthier than anything you are buying in the average grocery store. If you have grown and cared for these animals do you think it is likely you will waste this meat they have given you. Heck no! Because now you have become connected to your food and that is a beautiful thing. Eh badda boom badda bing! Plus to bring things full circle you can now use your manure on your vegetable garden to amend the soil!
I DON’T HAVE THE ABILITY TO GROW ALL THE VEGETABLES, FRUITS AND MEATS I NEED?
So do what you can. Grow as much as you can. It is truly amazing what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it. Maybe make it a goal to eventually move to a property with more land and in the mean time learn how to preserve food! Fill your apartment balcony with fruits and veggies. Use your window space. You can successfully keep a few chickens for eggs in small yards or even keep a beehive or two.
In the mean time you can support all those hardworking farmers that are growing organically. Signing on to a CSA program can be rewarding for you and the farmer. Source local meats that are humanely raised and pastured. There are people out there doing this that need our support. Your body will also thank you!
HOMEGROWN ORGANIC VERSUS CONVENTIONAL METHODS
So if you are still on the fence about homesteading I wanted to give you a few facts on the quality of the food you can grow compared to the quality of conventionally grown foods. And this is where you begin to see where you can really reap the rewards.
Organic homegrown tomatoes vs conventionally grown tomatoes
Tomatoes are one of my favourite veggies or I guess they are really a fruit aren’t they. So when I started to research the benefits of growing your own organically I was shocked by the differences and I think you might be too! You can check out the study I collected my info from here.
- An organic tomato has 55% more vitamin C. That is a crazy difference! Vitamin C is so important to our overall health and wellness.
- The total phenolic content of an organically grown tomato was 139% higher than conventionally grown tomatoes!! HOLY MOLY! That is huge! Phenols act as antioxidants. This means they can stop the reaction of free radicals which cause the development of diseases!!
- the one downfall to the organic tomato was that it was found to be 40% smaller which honestly just amazes me more that a smaller tomato has that much more good stuff in it!!!
Pastured organic eggs vs conventional grocery store eggs
I love this info! It totally made me feel so good about keeping our own flock for eggs.
One organic pasture raised egg contains
- twice as much Omega-3 fat
- 3x more Vitamin D
- 4x more Vitamin E
- 7x more Beta-carotene
- they are also lower in cholesterol and saturated fat!
I got my info here if you would like to check it out or just google it! There is so much info out there!
Organic apples vs conventionally grown apples
We just started getting apples off our trees this year and they are one of our favorite snacks here. Some great reasons to grow your own apples or buy some from an organic farm.
- apples are at the very top of the dirty dozen. So the first thing is you will drastically be reducing is your pesticide load by growing organic apples or at least buying them from someone who is growing organically.
- organic apples have an abundance good bacteria such as probiotics that help the human gut and can help to alleviate allergies while conventional apples have some good bacteria it is significantly lower and they tend to harbor more pathogenic bacteria.
- organic apples taste better. This is mostly due to being harvested at the appropriate time in their life cycle.
HOMESTEADING IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL
I have seen so many great things come out of homesteading. Our children have learned invaluable lessons about life, death, food and hard work. Our whole family feels such amazing pride in our little farm and we now have this fulfilling purpose in life. It truly just makes me happy! I have connected with so many wonderful homesteaders on social media this year and they have inspired me to keep reaching for my homesteading dreams. It really has given me a renewed zest for life. I hope I have inspired you to begin your homesteading journey!