By Tracey Watson
While most of us are proud of our country’s pioneer roots and awed by the strength and resilience of the early homesteaders, few of us would choose to live the way they did. Providing for themselves and their families meant that the frontier men and women worked hard every day from sunup to sundown. What we may not realize though, is that those men and women were free in a way that most of us have never been.
Standing in the checkout line at the supermarket after a hard day’s work we might feel blessed to have modern conveniences, but in truth we are nothing more than slaves to a system we have little to no control over.
Even just a few decades ago, many families were proud of their ability to provide their own fresh fruit, veggies, meat, fish, preserves and nuts. While it took hard work and cooperation from the entire family, these people were truly free; they were independently able to meet all their own needs when it came to their food.
Modern society tends to look down on people who try to take care of themselves. We love the ability to run to the nearest store when we need bread or milk, and even those of us who try to make wise food choices are more likely to head for the nearest Whole Foods than to try to grow our own organic produce.
Consciously or subconsciously, many of us view self-sufficiency as being beneath our dignity.
Most Americans believe they have outgrown farm work, which is reflected in their unwillingness to take farm jobs, even temporarily.
The Texas Pioneer Woman, writing for Grit notes:
Providing for your family’s need was a source of pride and accomplishment. Today when I tell others that our family works together to grow and raise our food, I get strange looks and a lot of complaints of that is too hard of work and too time consuming. I am seen as an oddity.
The fact is, taking the time and making the effort to reclaim your family’s food independence will mean better quality, non-GMO, pesticide-free fruits and veggies for your family; it will mean you can enjoy hormone and antibiotic-free, grass-fed meat and chicken; and it will mean delicious, wholesome eggs from organic, free-range chickens.
Working together as a family in this way also provides wholesome association, enjoyable exercise, and increased absorption of vitamin D from exposure to more sunlight. It will provide an opportunity to teach little ones about how things grow, the value of hard work, and the importance of caring for animals in a kind and humane way.
And reclaiming your food freedom will also mean more money left over at the end of the month to spend on other things.
The following tips can help you loosen the ties that bind your family to reliance on commercially produced food:
- Start your own organic garden.
- Stop purchasing manufactured, processed foods — avoid anything that comes in a box and has more than one ingredient.
- Cook and prepare your own food at home.
- Keep chickens at home and start harvesting their delicious, fresh eggs.
- If you’re feeling more adventurous (and if your council allows it), invest in a cow so that you can have fresh, raw milk.
Of course, it isn’t necessary to start slaughtering your own meat and to never set foot in a store again. But, every small change you implement will make you freer, until eventually you are no longer enslaved to or reliant on others for your next meal.