Is Homesteading Expensive?

What is the cost to eat real food?

homesteading Collage

Let’s face it, if you want to eat organic, local, real food, it is not going to be cheap. It’s going to cost you something.  To take the “healthier” road is probably not going to help you get out of debt.  It’s probably not going to save you money.  It’s  probably not going to allow you to feed a family of 6 for $50 a week.  People eating organic, real food are in one of 4 camps regarding the cost:

  1. The bean camp.  This camp suggests eating vegetarian meals a few times a week to off-set the costs of expensive, organic meat.  This is a great recommendation.  Beans are cheap, easy to get organic, and so good for you.
  2. Raise it yourself camp.  I guess I’m here.  If you have the space this is a great route to take.  Especially, if you like animals. Of course, I may be a little biased.  Your life will be full of adventure, work and manure (not necessarily in that order).
  3. The rich camp.  These are the folks who can do all their shopping at Wholefoods and Earthfare and don’t pass out while paying at check-out.  I am a confessed, recovering, coupon-aholic and checking-out at Earthfare prohibits my ability to breathe normally.
  4. Pay the grocer or pay the doctor camp.  These are the folks who gladly pay the extra grocery bill, knowing it provides life and health.  This potentially should keep them out of the doctors office; and in the long run, be the “cheaper” alternative.

I don’t spend much at the grocery.  If I told you how much I spent each week to feed my family of 6 you would think I was a liar.  It’s pretty low.  Although I am not giving much money to the grocery, I am probably spending as much if not more than the family living in a neighborhood on food.  I’m just spending it on the food,  while it is still mooing, oinking or boking.

Some of the other bills that eat up all those savings on groceries include:  hay, grain, and feed for the livestock have to be purchased.  We also have costs to provide water, electric, fencing, gates, stock tanks, and other farm supplies.  Then there are butchering costs, freezers for storage, and most of all TIME.

pig pasture grit 9

Then why?  If I am not saving money, and could buy local, organic food for about what I spend each month,  Why do it?

Here’s 5 reasons why we Raise our food:

  1.  I love animal husbandry.  I love taking care of the livestock.  I like to make fun of the messes I end up in, and complain in jest.  The truth is, I love the animals.  On a bad day, I can go talk to the cows and it makes everything better.
  2.  I don’t know who I can believe.  I know enough about the people who oversee our food production, packaging, and labelng to know that there are a lot of things we don’t know.  What these “overseers” consider ‘organic’ and what I consider ‘organic’ may be different.  What they consider ‘grass fed’ and what I consider ‘grass fed’ also may differ.  I just don’t trust them.  Sorry.

  3.  It may be a coincidence, it may just be that my children are getting older and not as susceptible to illness, or it may be how we eat and live.  We feel better.  We don’t go to the doctor as often.

  4.  Regular physical activity is inevitable.  Whether we feel like it or not, the cows must be fed.  Faith must be milked.  The chickens let out & watered.  The field scooped.  The run-in mucked out.  The dog walked.  The ice broken (with a sledge hammer, then scooped out of the stock tank with a shovel).  There is work to do every day.  We don’t need a gym.  I get sore muscles, things pulled, and knots in my back……. and it’s not from going to the gym.

  5.  Work ethic.  There is a saying,  “If you want to get a job done – Hire a dairy-man (or woman).  They will do that job and your’s too!” The cow must be milked.  Period.  The end. Cold?  Wet?  Freezing?  Raining?  Christmas? Vacation?  Summer? Winter?  Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter.  The cow must be milked. The chickens must be fed.  The chickens must be shut in at night.  The pigs must be watered (dang-it).   Talk about teaching kids responsibility! Get some farm animals.  In one year you will have responsible kids, or dead animals, or both.  I’m kidding about the dead animals.

I believe there is a cost to eating real food.  I also think there is a cost for not.  Deciding to eat more organic, locally raised food will probably not be the easiest road, or the cheapest, but it may be the best.

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