On Saturday, I do our shopping. I drive half an hour, back into town, to the Farmers Market. It is truly a wonderful part of my weekend, with good food and music and great people. As a family, we are committed to local, sustainable food and community. That's what got us into homesteading and what we have always loved about our town. I have made many connections through the market, getting us started in this life.
I have to make three stops. The market, for meat, veggies, fruit and dairy. Then the health food store for grains, dried fruit, etc. Then the grocery store for everything else.
It's the last stop that always gets me down. This week was particularly tough. With a very tight budget and a specific list, I set about trying to make ends meet. I found myself growing more and more disheartened as I faced the endless “quality vs quantity” debate. Compromises barely feel possible. With three hungry guys in the house, we eat a lot. Yet, filling bellies is not a nourishing act if the food that fills them is of poor quality or slowly doing damage to their bodies.
Again and again, I am reminded of what a privilege it is to eat healthy in our country. Whole, organic, unprocessed foods seem like a luxury expense when boxed goods roll so cheaply off the factory belts. Even though it is a daily struggle to stretch our finances, this is a compromise that will never have a place on our table.
In many ways, food has led us to this lifestyle. Scott and I firmly believe that whole, local, organic foods are essential to health and quality of life. Our family loves to eat and we all enjoy good, nourishing meals. Our endless pursuit of these foods brought us to the realization that we must provide for ourselves.
When we depend predominantly upon the economic market for our nourishment and sustenance, then our health is at the mercy of the laws of supply and demand. We must work long hours, daring our resources in other ways, to provide a sense of healthy abundance. We believe, we hope, there is another way.
If we can supply the bulk of what we consume through our own labor, on our own land, then we will have taken a great leap into independence. If we can supplement this with barter and sale in a local economy, then we ill have built community as well. To this, we aspire.
So, we begin to plan, to manifest, to set our intention. Where do we even start?