We’ve become an individualistic society over the past few generations. None of us are exempt! Its true of the one who raises food on their land. Its also true of the one who wants to, one day!
And while there are many benefits of living in a modern world, we must be careful to hold onto what is most important. How easy is it to get caught up in the “normal” around us without stopping to analyze whether or not its actually benefiting our lives? And the lives of others? Is our “normal” nurturing relationship? Leaving us with time for what matters most?
Through this post, I’d like to take us back to a traditional way of life, the way of sharing and caring via time, energy, land and resources. Whether you raise your own food or only long for the country life, holding onto an old fashioned lifestyle will benefit both parties in wonderful ways!
To Those Who Raise & Preserve Food
How are you feeling about the upcoming summer? Its always such a busy time! Many of us burn out trying to juggle children, marriages, social lives, caring for gardens, orchards, animals and land! All this, while harvesting and preserving food for winter!
Do you foresee another busy summer? Are you already wishing for more free time, hoping that this year, there will be more opportunity to connect with those around?
Perhaps you ought to take a step back and consider this idea: have you ever contemplated inviting someone local (whom you trust) to join your farm-like happenings? Someone who wants to learn about raising their own food, who would be happy to help for a share in the harvest?
Let’s talk about why this might be a good idea!
#1: Sharing Makes Work Manageable
Perhaps you were overly enthusiastic this year and suddenly realized you have too many irons in the fire? Perhaps a unique situation arose that put extra demands your time? If so, inviting others in and sharing the work will lessen the load you have to carry. When you open your activities to others, raising nutritious food suddenly becomes more manageable.
2#: Sharing Speeds Completion of the Job
Once your new “helper” has learned the ropes and is steadily working by your side, the task will take far less time to complete! Are you a weary parent, an overworked individual or even someone who battles with health issues? This is a wonderful option for you!
#3: Sharing Frees Up Your Time
Most of us have interests outside of our small-farm activities but often have little time to put toward them! Fishing, camping, weekend vacations and relaxing moments are scarce during the summer rush. So invite someone in to help! You will only benefit from the interaction. Perhaps the “sharer” would be willing to look after things when you do go on vacation!
#4: Sharing Affords Opportunity to Connect with Others
Sharing work and responsibilities with a friend or neighbor not only makes work more manageable but will also nurture relationship. Make effort to engage with them while they are on your land! And when their help does free your time, use that extra time to connect with others.
#5: Sharing Benefits the Lives of Others
Having others join your efforts will benefit their lives! Opening your resources to others is also about teaching and learning, offering a willing pupil hands-on experience.
Do you know someone who want to learn how to raise their own food? Dietary needs are exploding from every corner of the world we live in. Those who are most likely to take food raising opportunities seriously often have actual needs (not just desires).
So why not invite these folks to share in the happenings of your farm?
To Those Who Want to Raise Their Own Food
Perhaps you live in town but long for the country life? Are saving for land of your own? Or maybe you’ve had a health crisis and need to make dietary changes? Is the budget tight due to medical expenses?
Why not consider joining a small, local hobby-farm? Are you interested in gardening? Orchards and berries? Birds for eggs or meat? Perhaps you are interested in home preserving? Offer to help a nearby neighbor in exchange for fresh, nutritious food!
Before You Accept an Invitation
Its an exciting day when someone invites you to share their activities! However, it pays to look before you leap! Is this individual trustworthy? Will they come through for you? Are they known for keeping their word, for their interest in the good of others?
Ask Someone You Respect
Sometimes, we need to initiate joining a farmstead. Why not ask someone who lives nearby if you can join their operation?! There’s no better teacher than literal, hands-on experience and working alongside someone who knows what they are doing!
When You Don’t Have Food-Raising Neighbors
Some of you will be thinking “great idea, but I don’t have neighbors who raise food!” Don’t give up yet! Perhaps you have nearby neighbors who live on an acreage? Perhaps there’s an old, overgrown garden in their back yard? Ask about putting it to use!
Or, inquire about keeping animals on their land. Would they consider letting you raise birds for eggs, small animals for meat? In return for the use of their land, offer them a share in the harvest!
“But The Potential Issues Scare Me!”
Those who shudder and hold back miss out on something wonderful. Go ahead! Stand shivering in the shadows, but you’ll never know the wondrous warmth of the sun until you step out into its rays.
You can keep your food-raising activities to yourself and bear the full brunt of it, or, you can open up your land, resources and valuable know-how to those who want to learn and benefit from your lifestyle.
Wanna-be farmers/homesteaders, we can sit in our town houses, read and dream via the internet or, we can step outside of our comfort zone and make some inquiries. We can choose to move toward our dreams!
I know it can be intimidating! It can open the door to sticky situations! Because of this, I’ve written up a pamphlet for you with thoughts and questions that ought to be discuss before accepting or extending an offer. It also covers how to collectively (and safely) go about raising a garden, layers for eggs or animals for meat.
Download your own free copy now: How to Share the Farmish Life This Year
I Dare You to Return to Your Roots!
This sharing of life is truly the old fashioned way of raising food. It really is! Before insurance companies existed, your neighbors were your insurance. You relied on one another in the most literal sense!
You approached life with the “sharing attitude” because together, you could accomplish what one family couldn’t do on their own.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Scary
Believe me when I say, I wouldn’t be suggesting all this if it didn’t work! I can personally testify that it does. You see, this is the life I live.
In spite of our hopes and dreams, my man and I don’t own land! Yet we manage to raise (and forage) a high percentage of our food. That’s right! From land that isn’t our own.
This was made possible by others who opened their land to us and because we’ve been willing to take that risk (see How a Community Farm Inspired My Homestead Journey).
Know what else? This year (even though we only rent the land), we’ve invited another young couple to join our gardening efforts, a couple who, due to dietary needs, is looking for a real food change!
The Question of the Day
If you raise your own food, how can you invite others to join this year? What is the first step, whether large or small?
For those who want to raise their own food, did someone come to mind as you read this post? Perhaps its time to make some inquiries?
If this post has stirred up ideas, we’d all love to hear from you in the comments below!