Monday, March 31, 2014

Our "Grow Your Own" Experiment

Over the next two years (2014 and 2015) we are setting out to find out just how much of our own food we can produce.

We began working towards this 3 years ago:  

In the beginning of 2011, Darran and I sat down and took a hard look at our lives. Instead of just letting life bump us along we decided we wanted to live more deliberately. On purpose. 

Darran had been working very long hours at a job that would not provide any long-term financial security for us. While he was away at said job our children were growing up. He deeply wanted to be more present, more involved. We missed him. 

What we decided was that we wanted to live our lives differently. We truly wanted our family to be the center of our priorities. 

Around the same time we began devouring Joel Salatin's books. We watched Food Inc together and I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. These things called to us, brought back memories of childhood, and stirred something deep inside. We began having a strong urge to make different food choices. Choices so different that they would change our lifestyle, not just our grocery shopping. 

We both grew up in rural areas. In farming and ranching communities. Our long term plan had always been to have land and return to that lifestyle with our children. But why not start? Right then, where we were, with what we had? Why not live our lives the way we wanted?

We decided to LIVE our priorities.

You can read about some of our misadventures and learning experiences over on my old blog 4 Acres FarmOver those 3 years on our little 4 Acres we learned a lot and now that we will finally have more room we are ready to go all in!

Just how much of our own food can we grow/raise? We're ready to find out.

Currently, our plans include:
  1. A huge garden. Focusing on heirloom varieties. Brimming with everything from squash, to tomatoes, to greens, to root vegetables...
  2. Berries. We're going to attempt strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Possibly more.
  3. Wild foods like berries, herbs, and whatever else we can forage. Wild foods are very nutritious and I plan to tap into that.
  4. Pastured laying chickens (which we already have, but will be adding more) and expanding into meat birds and possibly turkeys.
  5. Grass-fed cattle (which we have) and a milk cow.
  6. Indoor mini citrus in containers.
  7. Herbs.
  8. Grass-fed buffalo.
  9. Bees.
Currently my table is covered in plants.
Starting them inside early is key to beating our uber short growing season.

At just above 7,000 feet in elevation there are obviously things we will not attempt (some just won't grow here and some, like nuts, we may try eventually) and will be excluding from the experiment. These include:
  1. Coffee and tea.
  2. Chocolate.
  3. Nuts.
  4. Coconut products.
  5. Oils.
  6. Certain spices and herbs.
  7. Fish.
Everything else we hope to be producing for ourselves within the next 2 years! We realize this is a huge commitment, but we are excited for this adventure. It's a labor of love and we are truly all in.

I've added a menu tab labelled "Grow Your Own" so this series of posts will be together in one spot for anyone interested.

Every. Single. Sprout is like a little miracle. I hope this never gets old.

Just how much of our own food can we produce? Can we feed ourselves? We're about to find out. 

Wish us luck!

1 comment:

  1. WOW!! What an undertaking!! That's AWESOME!! I had NO idea you were going alllll out! So exciting!!! Good luck!! Very excited to watch and learn of your journey as you share!