Our farming journey began with the realization that we couldn’t get the food we wanted to eat, raised in the way we wanted, without doing it ourselves. Previously, we did much of our food shopping at farmer’s markets, food co-ops, and natural food stores, which were easily accessed when we lived on the west coast and, briefly, the upper midwest. We find these sources less common where we live now, but that may ultimately prove to be a positive because it’s pushed us to grow our own.
Similarly, we now cook nearly all of our meals and use our own eggs, and chicken, duck, and rabbit meat. We buy our beef, pork, and lamb locally, and get most of our fruit and vegetables at the farmer’s markets. We eat very well – our meals are nutritious and satisfying. And this way of eating (and viewing food) has fundamentally changed us.
We now enjoy cooking our own food. When we worked corporate jobs, cooking was a hassle and we had little time to plan or prepare meals. Sometimes, it was even difficult to squeeze time in for a meal during the workday. Now, we savor those farm-fresh, delicious eggs we collect from our hens and ducks. We plan meals based on what’s available at the farmer’s market. Our food is truly important and merits taking the time to really appreciate it, rather than just something to be crammed down a gullet to quiet a growling stomach. And we know exactly what’s in our food and how it was prepared.
Another change is that we no longer sit all day – in meetings, at a desk, staring at a computer or mobile device – because we have feedings and cleanings to do. We have structures to build and maintain. We engage in more regular physical activity than we used to due simply to the daily tasks, and it doesn’t even feel like working out.
An unexpected side effect of this lifestyle is that we’re healthier since we left the corporate world. Neither of us has experienced an illness since we started farming full time, even though we’d previously experienced at least one bout a year. We’ve lost weight, pretty much without trying (one of us actually lost 25+ pounds). Mind you, we eat three square meals a day, drink whole milk, eat butter, full-fat cheese, lard (yeah, lard!), bread, dessert…and haven’t added an exercise regimen. As already mentioned, though, we cook much of our own food, and it’s whole, unprocessed, and largely local. We also consume limited amounts of refined sugar.
Are there unidentified synergies at work, as well? Probably. We drink probiotic beverages regularly (kefir, kombucha), eat probiotic foods (homemade sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented eggplant), get sufficient rest, have fewer (and different) stressors now. We interact with our animals daily, spend time with our pets and each other, and feel a sense of satisfaction that previously eluded us. Now, we make our own schedules and answer to ourselves. Do these contribute to well-being? Definitely.
On those jungle-tropics steamy hot or face-chappingly cold days, or when we’re running around in pouring rain with lightning flashing overhead (and this happens more often than we’d like!), we remember that we choose to farm. Yes, it can be uncomfortable, strenuous, frustrating, and sad at times…but it can also be awe-inspiring, educational, and gratifying. And, it seems, good for body and mind.