With my hubby by my side, my kids underfoot, Jesus in my heart and our very own soil between my toes I feel like I have everything I need. In reality, you can’t live off of good vibes and Eskimo kisses. You need actual sustenance. Like nearly all Americans, our family depend almost completely on others to provide this sustenance. Other people grow it. Other people deliver it to our community. Other people provide a central place for us to access it (for a price of course). This system bothers me for several reasons; mainly the sustenance provided is, by in large, terrible for your health, very costly compared to cultivating it yourself, lastly (and most seemingly far fetched), that system may not always be there to depend on. We want to learn to sustain ourselves.
Eating better. Living better.
After reading Barbara Kingolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I was inspired to eventually cut out store bought food all together. One of the most profound concepts in her book happened to be the simplest: if you do not recognize an ingredient then don’t eat it. Our foods and everyday products are so full of chemicals, antibiotics, and pesticides it’s really absurd. I only want to eat naturally occurring foods. I only want natural oils and soaps to touch my skin. I simply want my family to be healthy and feel great.
We are a one income family with a mountain of student loan debt. We strive to live as simple and economical as possible. Our appetites require variety, we eat fresh and make from scratch whenever possible. In result, our grocery bill racks up fast. I go to the store with a very strict budget, I rarely stray from the list and we make do. But I dream of the day when we only buy a handful of things at the store nut because we can’t afford it but because we can sustain ourselves. This will not just cutting down on food cost but cleaning supplies, and personal care too. There are natural, healthier, cost effective alternatives if we just put in the effort.
You could say I’m a bit if a ‘Prepper”. Yes, like the TV show full of crazy people. We don’t have a huge capsule dug in the side of a remote mountain nor do we have a hidden room with enough to feed ourselves for years. Nothing that extreme. I have, however, given some thought to the possibility of another Great Depression type of collapse in our economy. If you haven’t noticed there is a large amount of economic instability worldwide. A total break down of our society really not as far fetched as we’d like to think. I’m not going to go into all the factors at play here (maybe I’ll have my hubby write a little synopsis on this topic later) but lets say the American economy does crash. Our dollar inflates and our money is next to worthless. Those other people that produce our goods cant afford to keep producing. Those other people that drive our goods cant afford to gas up. Those places that sell the goods cant afford to staff their stores. Makes no difference because, we, the consumer can’t afford the goods anyhow. In this dark scenario, how are you going to feed your family? What is your plan? We decided to move to a farm with a good amount of land and start providing for ourselves, just in case.
So we are making plans to change our lifestyle, to live off the land and sustain ourselves. I began to research becoming a ‘sustainable’ family and what I found was a bunch of weirdos. Seriously, there’s a lot of pot-smoking, soda can collecting, mud house building, hippies out there living sustainable lifestyles ‘off the grid’. We are changing it up. We are doing this for us not to spare the poorly treated animals or to save the earth from Global Warming. I am using sustainability more for the ‘ability to sustain or endure’ definition, while, as a general rule, ‘sustainability’ refers to cutting down overuse of finite resources, striving to using more renewable, and reducing the overall human impact on the earth. Saving planet Earth is worthy cause but we are making this change for purely selfish reasons it is only by happenstance we also become ‘sustainable’ in the typical sense. I think, by and large, the sustainability scene is changing. Big city dwellers are planing rooftop gardens, canning is making a comeback, living ‘green’ is in. Those people, like us, are doing it for more reason than saving the earth. Sustainability is becoming chic. I am determined to start living it. Chic Sustainability.