Yep, I’m a junky. I have to have it. My current lifestyle depends on it.
That is a sad way to start a blog post for a guy that is presenting a lifestyle of self sufficiency, permaculture, homesteading and gardening.
If we are honest with ourselves we can recognize our real challenges. I admit that I am addicted to commercial grains, therefor I can work on finding a remedy.
The first step to finding a solution to a challenge is admitting there there is a challenge, right?
I have a Commercial Grains Addiction.
There I said it.
Ok, so how am I addicted to commercial grains? This addiction is in our how we feed our livestock, pets and even in our own kitchen pantry. Would my family be able to live entirely without commercially grown corn, wheat, oats or rice? I think, ultimately, the answer is yes, but the transition will be slow.
Commercial Grains Addiction: Livestock
Let’s analyze how we feed our livestock for a minute. I have chickens, ducks and goats. I know it would be awesome to have no commercial grains going into them. Right now I am not producing enough food on the farm to feed them full time. We do graze them when we can, but we still supplement with feed sack grains.
My autistic son loves the routine of going to the feed store and buying grains. Right now I enjoy this with him, but I know in the long run I can’t keep that up. I share a message about permaculture, homesteading and gardening. In time I’ll be able to demonstrate my message and shed the hypocrisy.
Commercial Grains Addiction: Pets
Pets? Can we feed them without buying bags of food laced with grains? … ok, I know you can buy “grain free” foods, but the concept is the same. We depend on someone else to provide our food for our pets. Last night I was processing a few chickens. The cats loved the fresh raw organ meats. This is a good first step in providing fresh real food for our pets. (Now, go find some rats to eat!)
Commercial Grains Addiction: In the Kitchen
Now let’s get serious and look in our own pantry. This isn’t something most people really want to evaluate. We like our addictions. We like our processed sugar and flour. It’s so readily available and makes really really good pastries, right? Yes, I’m right.
Look in your pantry, honestly, and see how much you depend on commercial grains. You will be shocked to find out how much you eat. Corn, Wheat and Rice are in everything. There is nothing wrong with the grains themselves, but the large corporations that provide them to you are not looking out for your best interests. These commercial grains (and commercial foods in general) come with a high price. They are laced with herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers and GMOs.
Some of us can easily go cold turkey on certain food. I am one of those people. It’s very easy for me to make a choice and stick with it. What about my family? I can’t just pull the rug out from under them and expect them to just fall in line. It will take time to transition from our addictions to a more healthy lifestyle of providing for ourselves.
Commercial Grains Addiction: Working on a Solution
I have plans for making my little farm produce for my family. Recently I was thinking about this and started to evaluate what I’m growing and how can I feed my family on these foods. Mostly so far I have focused on growing Tomatoes, Peppers, Herbs and a few other fun things. It would be very difficult to feed my family on those things alone.
What do I need to grow to feed my family? This question has been with me for a long time. I’m learning and I’m on a journey. This year I will be growing Corn, Beans and Potatoes. These three items will provide some protein, fiber and starches for the family. If I combine these foods with the Tomatoes and Peppers that I already grow, then I’m a lot closer to being self sufficient.
My orchard will also provide some vitamins, minerals and some sweet stuff to enjoy. We have Peaches, Pears, Apples, Nectarines, Plums, Blackberries and Mulberries. This year I will be planting more Peaches, Apples, American Persimmon, Native Plum, Paw Paw and Mayhaw. Those trees are on order and will be shipped to my farm soon.
I would love to encourage you to grow your own food. It’s not likely that all can grow everything we need, but please do recognize your addiction to the current food system. We can do better. First admit that you have a challenge, then set out to correct it. Grow some food and buy local. You can do it. I can do it. We can travel this road together.
Take a look at the videos below for some insights on my journey.