You see the more I look at mass food production the more I know that my conscience and my health cannot carry the cost and that frugality can never be an excuse for me to buy food that I do not trust. Perhaps I should say what spurned my needing to put my feelings into words, yet again, about knowing the source of, if not all, most of your basic foods.
|Eggs - fresh and glorious.|
When we started growing vegetables in 2008 we realized how long it takes to actually produce a decent carrot, a healthy butternut and a harvest of spinach. Doing it with only natural soil, compost and worm tea takes a whole lot longer and as we decided to not use any pesticides the produce almost never looks perfect. This makes one question what is actually happening to the food that is grown and that we buy off the store shelf.
We soon found a source for free range pasture fed beef, chicken and pork and got to know the farmers and could trust their word. This makes another question surface - how do the rest of the creatures live and die? We quickly formed the opinion that if we were going to eat meat we would eat only that which we know has lived a good life and died humanely. Now vegans may have a problem with this completely and I understand your viewpoint, but we choose another way.
|Celery giving us a second round!|
With the beginning of my son's chicken and egg business we again affirmed that we really need to know where our food comes from and whom we are supporting with our hard earned cash. He recently had to do a report for his school work and he wrote a piece on battery chickens (see his blog in the link above).
Further to this, yesterday I had the most delightful visit from a woman who is busy with her thesis at Stellenbosch University on sustainable agriculture and wanted to see what we are doing here on this tiny scale. While we were chatting again God was confiming in my heart that we have not "lost the plot", we are not "slipping off the deep end" but that this is part of His plan for our family. Why? I don't have all the pieces of the puzzle, but we continue on under His guidance.
|Handmade pastry - getting up close and personal with food|
This meeting helped me cement in my mind that we can afford to eat free range, organic and fairtrade produce because not only is it right for us to support those who are being wise stewards with the earth and it's creatures, but it is also the best thing for our bodies that He gave us to take care of.
So how do I know that we can afford free range meat, organic and fairtrade products? Well this is how I think:
1. We make our own cleaning products - soap, vinegar and bicarb for the house, laundry soap or liquid.
2. We cook from scratch every day 3x a day.
3. We hardly ever eat out - it always leaves us feeling greasy and gassy and yucky...reason enough.
4. We do home based entertainment, anything else social for the kids they pay for with their own earned cash.
5. We grow as much of our own veggies as we can.
6. We keep chickens for their lovely eggs, companionship, bug removal and manure.
7. We are careful about using our car on a whim....
Which means that there is more disposable income for good clean food, organic products and far trade items.
|Stock - using up leftovers, offcuts and giving us nourishment|
The short unnatural life of a broiler chicken
Notes from the frugal trenches
Down to earth simple living series