How to Supply All Your Own Food — Self Reliant Food

With missing items at the grocery store due to recent events, many are desiring to take growing food into their own hands.

Beet greens from the garden

Hunting and fishing are great ways to provide food for your family. Look into what tags or stamps are the best for the money and meat amount. Not minding the taste of the meat is important too. Canada geese can be very inexpensive to hunt — up to several a day can be hunted on a stamp. But some are not a fan of water fowl such as goose or duck meat. If you live near a creek or lake, fishing is a no brainer. Fresh trout is super healthy and delicious with minimal work to prepare them.

Wood Sorrel foraged

Foraging is a great way to stay alive if you have no other options. You can even eat the white inner bark of many trees to feed yourself if times were really dire. Cattails, wood sorrel, wild carrots, wild strawberries, chicory, even stinging nettles are edible. We eat dandelion greens in salads sometimes, cattail pancakes, and plenty of blackberries in the summer. Do not think you can learn about a few plants and you are set. Research poisonous look-a-likes carefully. Go foraging sometime. You will discover it is very hard to get full on foraged foods. It is a great skill to keep you alive. But do not take it for granted. Foraging is a great supplement to gardening.

Strawberries in the garden

Gardening is as close to a guarantee as you can get that your family will have at least some food. I highly recommend crops such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other root vegetables that will fill you up and give you energy. I have even grown wheat, but that requires a lot of labor (though not nearly as much space as you would think). Look into some more obscure tubers once you have the basics, to diversify. If blight takes out your potatoes, you can still have sunchokes or hopniss. I am hoping to re-establish Duck potatoes to a local creek too as it is a native plant with potato-like tubers. Oca is also something I am experimenting with. Grow primarily what you eat or at least what you are willing to eat. Look into perennials such as kale, chard, strawberries, fruit trees, asparagus, or artichoke in addition to those tubers we mentioned before. Zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce can be very productive for the space as well and a joy to eat.

A Chicken egg in the coop

Livestock and gardening go great together too. Many homesteaders raise their own meat or dairy by chickens, pigs, sheep, cattle, or turkeys. Maybe start with raising some chickens and give them your extra produce. They will convert it to eggs. From there you can decide how much you like raising animals and how much time and resources you can commit to them. Having our own dairy cow is very tempting but a big time commitment. Maybe someday, but for now, I hope to find a small, local dairy I can buy a share with.

Do what you can to provide the basic necessities for your family. But try not to live in constant fear. Anxiety can kill you plenty fast in itself. Be thankful for what you have and a life so far not having to worry about starvation. We will all pull through these harder times.

Why not remove reliance upon grocery stores as a hobby and cut your food bill at the same time?

Making an Income from the Homestead

Firewood Pile

Though we may dream of simply living off the land and paying no bills, in reality, unless we want to join an offgrid community like the Amish, most of us have to pay for property taxes, fuel for travel, goods that require too much effort to be worth making ourselves, medical care, and many other needs or wants to maintain modern lifestyles. There are many ways to make a living still without having to commute off of your homestead.

If you currently have an employer in a suitable industry, ask them if you can telecommute from home. More and more business allow this as they can cut costs maintaining an office and many studies show working from home to be more productive in a lot of cases. The internet has opened the doors to work from home for so many industries. We can do what would be unimaginable just a couple decades ago.

Perhaps you enjoy gardening, woodworking, making crafts, or something else so much you would like to sell goods you make or grow at home. Simply increase your planting or production for some cash. Farmers markets, restaurants, or other local businesses might be great local customers.

If you can diversify your income through a few different methods, this can help you get through times when one income stream drops. Also save up an emergency fund if you can to keep paying the bills during income deficient times.

Once you have an income stream, see what hours work best for you. Can you work half time and still have enough income to get by? Or must you work full time or more?

Cut unnecessary costs so you can get by making less. Make a list of expenses and decide what can and cannot go. Sometimes something unnecessary is still not too expensive and makes a big difference in the quality of your life. Like our homemade espresso. Making it at home everyday and roasting our own coffee beans saves quite a bit of money. If you have more time and little money, you can usually save by stuff like cooking from scratch, not hiring out anything you can learn yourself, scavenge craigslist or classifieds for used tools/supplies, and grow the majority of your own food. All of this cuts expenses allowing you to stretch your income further. This is especially important if your income stream is not constant or guaranteed.

Find something you enjoy (or at least do not mind) and find out how to make money from it. The quality of life is so much better when you can pick your own hours, avoid commuting, and getting the fresh air on your own property. I stay 6 days a week at my home but have enough projects and family nearby that I do not feel isolated at all. Being home to raise kids is also such a blessing.

Sometimes income streams can take time to develop. Maybe you have to still commute for now, but if you can get your side hustle going, this may allow you to retire from your regular job. Be patient and enjoy the process as best as you can. Count your blessings and save your income.

Best of success to you and your homestead!