Reclaiming Our Food Independence

Reader Contribution by Texas Pioneer Woman
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“Most Americans believe they have outgrown farm work, which is reflected in their unwillingness to take farm jobs, even temporarily. The bottom line of this study is that we either import our labor or we import our food.”

– American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Bob Stallman on immigration reform following the release of an AFBF study entitled Gauging the Farm Sector’s Sensitivity to Immigration Reform.

Growing fruits and vegetables, raising meat, hunting animals, fishing, and gathering wild berries and nuts for our family’s food consumption was a common practice a few years back. It took the whole family’s help, but we were independent producers of our family’s food. We decided what our family needed and set out about getting it. We raised animals; caring for their health and nutritional needs often growing very attached to them. We grew and tended to plants, knowing, if treated correctly, they would produce food for our family and fodder for our animals. We set aside days to hunt rabbits, deer and other animals to provide meat for the family. We also set aside days throughout the seasons to gather berries and nuts to supplement our meals.

We produced our own food because if we did not, we simply did not eat. If you happen to not provide your family’s food, you were looked down upon as not being a good provider. Providing for your family’s need was a source of pride and accomplishment. Today when I tell others that our family works together to grow and raise our food, I get strange looks and a lot of complaints of that is too hard of work and too time consuming. I am seen as an oddity. But, oh how wrong they are! Reclaiming our food independence has given my family much better food quality than what I could afford at the market, a great source of exercise, extra money in my savings account, an appreciation of hard work, a knowledge of skills that can be passed down to the next generation, and an appreciation of animal life and seasons.

Being an independent producer of our family’s food in today’s climate means we do not have to worry about food contamination of recalled meat and other food products. We do not have to worry about the high cost of beef at the supermarket. We do not have to worry about the scarcity of food on the shelves at the market in times of crisis. We do not have to worry about reading the country of origin labels and wonder if our food has been imported from other countries.

I say we all need to reclaim our food independence. We can reclaim our food independence on a large scale, where we provide all the food our family needs to survive, or on a small scale, where we provide some of the food our family needs. We also need to teach each other, especially our families, about the honor and duty that we have in providing for our family’s nutritional needs. We need to be proud that we provide for our family’s food and view it as an important skill.

I hope you are motivated into starting seeds indoors, growing a garden, starting a fruit orchard, keeping and caring for chickens and their eggs, raising pigs, slaughtering and butchering your own cows, preserving jam and jelly, canning fruits and vegetables, tending to your own honeybee hive, fishing, gathering edible foods, making your own fruit wine, and cooking food from scratch.

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