Before Grocery Stores…

Victory Garden
Victory Garden

“The first supermarket appeared on the American landscape in 1946.  Until then, where was all the food?… It was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests.  It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.” – Joel Salatin

Like many Americans, you have come to homesteading to be able to provide for your family, friends and community in the way that you see fit.  The last time so many Americans felt the way you feel now was during World War II.  During the Second World War, many of us had a victory garden and raised poultry because foods were either being rationed or were not available.  The systems which are now the backbone of the United States’ economy seem to be growing quite weary and failing in some respects.  So much instability creates a great unease.  Homesteading, on the other hand, creates security for you, your family, friends and community.  One word sums up the reason most people homestead today and it is “Freedom”.  Freedom from chemical and feed companies, hatcheries, freedom from grocery stores and price increases, freedom from shortages, poor quality, excessive antibiotics, super bacteria, genetic engineering, freedom from food-centered government regulations and instability.

Raising Pigs
Raising Pigs

Homesteaders are changing all that.  We are pushing back from the table of ease and frankly our desire to fall in “love” with those adorable, squirming, fluff balls in favor of a sustainable, self-reliant food supply for our family.

Freedom is an immense amount of work.  We have to take on much responsibility to ensure that freedom.  Just because it is a lot of work doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun and highly rewarding.  Having a large garden, raising a small amount of grain for flour and feed, cattle for milk and beef, pigs for lard, bacon and hams, goats and sheep and of course poultry gives us work, responsibility, enjoyment, security and freedom.

Backyard Chickens
Backyard Chickens

Of all the aspects of the renewed interest in homesteading, nothing has more pull than raising one’s own food.  Waking to your roosters crowing and sending the kids out to gather fresh eggs and milk the family cow for your morning’s breakfast; all the while watching your birds, hogs, cows, goats and sheep busy themselves with their daily labors of seeking out tasty nibbles is fulfilling and dare I say romantic.

We cannot deny, even though we love our animals, raising livestock isn’t for everyone.  There are disadvantages to raising livestock, it takes work – lots of work.  For that matter rural living isn’t for everyone, it takes work – lots of work.

Raising livestock truly isn’t labor in the traditional sense; not to us.  To us, raising all livestock gives us a sense of peace, relaxation and security.  No one raises livestock successfully unless they love the animals they work with.  You will have your moments when you wonder what you got yourself into, but know it is worth it

Backyard Chickens
Backyard Chickens

and those days are few and far between.  All animals need regular care and poultry is no exception.  By all means, fall in love with your livestock; just remember that everything on your homestead has a purpose. Know why you are embarking on this adventure.  It will solidify your purpose and prepare for all that is to come.

26 thoughts on “Before Grocery Stores…

  1. Pingback: Before Grocery Stores – SEO

  2. Pingback: Before Grocery Stores…How Did Our Ancestors Live? – Voices of Ancestors

  3. Emma@ Misfit Gardening

    My, how things have changed!

    Years ago families contributed the excess produce to neighbors, schools and more to provide food for people locally. Families would all save up together and raise pigs to provide meat for themselves throughout the winter. Everyone ate seasonally, and canned any excess for the months to come.

    Now, we share produce with friends, donate to a local food bank (although most are only interested in packaged or canned goods) and feed ourselves with what we produce in the backyard.

    It is difficult overcoming city ordinances, HOA regulations and sometimes even your neighbors to be able to live a life that not so long ago, was the norm for millions of people in the USA and Europe.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post. Growing your own food also connects you with the seasons in a way supermarket food cannot do. It also links together communities, to share knowledge, and to celebrate success. The harvest festivals are largely forgotten, but they were a chance to relax after hard work, but also to be grateful that the food was safely in, that hunger had been averted.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You are absolutely correct. It is too bad we do not celebrate and enjoy gathering after hard work. I am quite certain this lack of celebration contributes to our society’s desire to work as little as possible. Today, our work is endless and tedious, verses work from previous times was to complete a task, enjoy the fruits of that labor and come together as a community. Insightful…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on ArtReach at Home and commented:
    This post was originally posted by Rachel Falco on her blog How to Provide for Your Family. I do not like referring to myself as a “homesteader.” Admittedly I have a garden. I preserve the harvest. I bake my own bread and make many other things from scratch. I use medicinal herbs, rubs and tinctures. I am a homemaker who employees traditional skills to supplement the family’s income. Yet I started on this road to have some “freedom from price increases, poor quality and excessive antibiotics.” Its challenging but I am enjoying the journey!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Thank you Rachel for the usual thoughtful post. I’ve often struggled with the label of “homesteader” for myself. I am just doing what my mom, her mom and many other women of generations past had done to supplement the family income. I don’t have chickens, but its amazing how much a pear tree and a small vegetable garden can produce! Love, love the post. I’m reblogging it on mine. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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