I really loved reading a comment from one of my readers.. its worth starting this post with it..
“We have zero food waste as well, there is always something on the farm that will use up what we can’t. It has however, made me very aware of how much work/expense goes into being as self sufficient as we are. I long ago decided that it matters little if I have an entire freezer full of chicken when we average one chicken dinner a month, or two hogs in the freezer when we only go through one….and so on. I like to have a years worth of meat and veggies – two years for salmon and a few other things. We’ve taken to raising only what we think we can consume by the time the next season rolls around. Anything over and above that (as in the case of a steer going into the freezer) goes to my kids right off the bat.
We can’t eat an entire steer in a year. I would love to have goats again, and rabbits, and a bigger greenhouse etc. but ultimately have to remind myself that I don’t ‘need’ that much food. ”
This really hit home for me in a big way.. then a friend replied on this post on facebook and I answered her this comment..
its kinda crazy, on one hand I can produce the food/veggies/meat but in the end I outproduce what we need ourselves but can’t carry the costs needed to get that food out into the inspected stamped local food supply without taking heavy losses on returns.
Its been rolling around in my head for the past hours. I would like to say that its a strange thing that this has gotten to this point but in truth, I think at least to a point.. this has at least in my country been a choice made by those that DO NOT want local small farmers to be able to successfully make a living in a real way.
I mean its possible, there are folks out there that do make a income on their farms, I am not saying there is not.. and I know that I can grow enough “extra” that I could run a table at the local farmers market, or that I could take my extra’s and make them into “extra” value items like a jar of a jam.. there is plants that can be sold, seeds that can be collected and sold and of course you can sell farm gate meat etc.
But I want to bring it back to that statement.. My land and my own skill set at this current time can overproduce what my own personal family needs and yet with our current system in place, I can’t sell it in a way that does not require enough extra cost output’s laid on us in so many ways due to regulations, that it does not eat up any and all profit.
I have hit this very odd place of needing to scale down or needing to scale up.. I am not the only person to have hit this point. I am seeing other people that I have respect for needing to make a version of this choice as well. The past few years have seen me scale down due to weather, due to hay shortage, and it saw me move different breeding programs in ways that allowed me to continue moving forward.
This however has me slowly coming to the head space to understand that I am doing to end up scaling down more.. not because I have to.. but because it just makes sense for us at this time to not over produce on our farm.
More garden to a point.. but less breeding programs and less protein production. Such a strange place to be at the moment..
There it is.. So now the question becomes.. what do we REALLY need to produce on the farm and how many critters do we need to make that happen? Stay tuned as we are about to make some BIG(or at least it feels that way to me) changes on our little homestead.