Growing Food is My Form of Protest


“Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do. Plus you get strawberries.”

– Ron Finley

In light of the recent Black Lives Matter protests across the US and around the world, I’ve been thinking a lot more about where I stand, what I stand for and what form my activism takes.

Just to make it perfectly clear, I stand with the Black Lives Matter movement, and if I lived in a city where protests were happening, I’d be out there marching for change too.

But protesting is about more than taking to the streets with signs and megaphones. It’s about the choices we make in our everyday lives. 

It’s about who (and what) we choose to support with our dollars.

It’s about how we use our voices AND what we say when we speak.

It’s about questioning the system and the status quo, and taking meaningful action to resist the parts that are corrupt and broken. 

From the systemic racism that permeates all facets of daily life for people of colour, to the corporate food system that’s keeping all of us sick and dependent, we can take small but meaningful steps every day to protest against systemic oppression, corporate greed, political corruption and abuses of power in all forms.

I already talk a lot about the importance of self-reliance in this day and age when the vast majority of us are simultaneously reliant on and trapped by this system. And of course when we talk about self-reliance, the first thing that usually comes to mind is growing and raising your own food.

(Do you see where I’m going with this?)

 

Growing Food is A Form of Protest

You see, homesteading and growing food is my form of protest. At its core, this is my reason for homesteading. It’s the “why” that keeps me going day in and day out, even when it would be easier to just get take out and call it a day (and yes, that does still happen from time to time… I’m only human!)

I know there are some people who think that my taking a stand with the Black Lives Matter movement has nothing to do with homesteading, and that I should leave “politics” out of it. But, you see, homesteading is political in so many ways.

Every time I talk about the broken food system, that’s a political statement. 

Every time I stress the importance of being self-reliant and “taking your power back,” that’s a political statement.

Growing food is about more than just sustenance. It’s a powerful act of rebellion against the status quo.

It’s also why I’m so passionate about teaching others how to grow, prepare and preserve food too. Because the modern homesteading movement is just that; It’s a movement that’s so much bigger than just me or you. And the more people that pick up a shovel and start planting some seeds, the closer we get to disrupting the system and effecting real, positive change.

This excerpt from an article on medium.com sums it up nicely:

“This is real action, it is very effective, and as it becomes more mainstream to set up gardens in your yard and on your block, we will witness the re-emergence of the kind of society we just cannot create by playing by the rules of a rigged system.”

(By the way, I highly recommend reading this powerful piece about gardening as a form of political activism and rebellion, as well as this one, about how growing food is our greatest protest).

 

Overgrow the system, one homegrown vegetable at a time

We’re at a pivotal moment in history right now where everything we do (or don’t do) is a political statement. Homesteading, homeschooling, marching in the streets, speaking up for human rights, not saying anything at all…

My grandfather used to say that “the air we breathe is political.” So too, then, is the soil we plant in. 

At the end of the day, it’s much easier to just write about how to grow a bumper crop of tomatoes or share my recipe for homemade strawberry jam. But beneath it all is an undercurrent of political activism that’s inseparable from the modern homesteading movement. 

It’s not necessarily about “right” vs. “left” politics though. It’s about the people vs. the power; The David vs. The Goliath.

Modern homesteaders come from all sides of the political spectrum, but we tend to have one big thing in common: we all believe in the core values of freedom, independence, self-reliance and self-determination, and in the importance of growing our own food as a form of personal empowerment.

Since the murder of George Floyd that sparked the most recent set of protests, I’ve run the gamut of emotions from anger to sadness to hopefulness and also hopelessness at times. But more than anything, I’m fired up and feeling more motivated and inspired than ever to live a life that’s in line with my values and that takes some power away from “the system” and puts it back in the hands of the people.

Every homegrown vegetable; Every jar of homegrown food; Every loaf of homemade bread, even, is a small act of resistance. But those small acts add up, and if enough people join the movement, we’ll eventually hit critical mass. That’s when real change happens.

Make no mistake: growing food is one of the most influential forms of political activism there is, and at its core, that’s what the modern homesteading movement is all about.

To quote the great Ron Finley once more:

“I had sixty people putting in an urban garden while you all were marching. Now who do you think was more effective?”

Edit: I just want it to be known that in no way is it my intention to diminish the importance or effectiveness of protesting in the streets. Protests have been the driving force for so much positive change throughout history, and their effectiveness should not be underestimated. I have the utmost respect for everyone out there fighting for change, regardless of whether that fight is taking place in the streets or the garden or anywhere in between.

 

 

 

 

 


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

5 Comments

  1. Anna

    I appreciate so much your open stance in support of important movements in society right now! I am also very moved by your explanation of homesteading as an act of protest, something that can change our country. Reading your blog, recipes, and canning safety today have been very inspiring and I look forward to following your homestead.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thanks Anna! It’s not always easy to do the right thing but even with my tiny little platform in the homesteading world, if I can use my voice or make even a small difference then it’s my responsibility to do so. Welcome! Glad you’ve found my little corner of the Internet:)

      Reply
  2. Danielle

    Thank you for speaking up in support of Black Lives Matter. I think we all have our roles and a part to play in working towards a more equitable and ethical society. For my family, it’s anti-racist parenting, supporting BIPOC-owned local businesses, donating to causes that support BIPOC communities, and participating in local/state/national politics.

    That said, I would like to point out that the marches and protests happening around the United States (and around the world) have already led to meaningful changes such as arrests of officers, investigations into deaths by police, and local policy changes, as well as bills in the works at the national level to curb police brutality. They have also brought to light concerns about erosion to freedom of speech, right to assembly, and freedom of the press.

    Marching or protesting isn’t the only way to make a difference, isn’t the best fit for lots of people, and you don’t have to make excuses or justify why you aren’t participating in a protest. There are so many other ways to make a difference! However, the final quote you included by Finley seems to discount the huge amount of good protest can do. I don’t think this was your intention, but just wanted to mention that that’s how I interpret it.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Danielle!

      Thank you for such an insightful comment. You’re absolutely right, the protests have led to some real change as of late and that makes me so proud of everyone out there doing their part.

      I could see how my words (or quotes that I shared) could have been misinterpreted to mean that protesting isn’t as effective as gardening (since that’s pretty much what the last quote said). I should maybe add a note at the bottom to include the fact that these protests actually have been very effective.

      For me, the point is just that there are many things we can do to protest that which we stand against. But to make it clear, I absolutely do think protesting is effective as it puts pressure on authorities to make meaningful changes.

      Thank you again for joining the conversation!

      Anna

      Reply
      • Danielle

        Thanks so much for your clarification! I just discovered your website and instagram, and have really been enjoying it. I love your message of starting where you are, and completely agree that gardening is one amazing and wonderful way to contribute to the community and protest unsustainable established systems in these uncertain times. I very much appreciate the time and effort you take to share your knowledge and experience with others.

        Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
You Might Also Like
How to Shop From Your Pantry Like A Pro

How to Shop From Your Pantry Like A Pro

Every year around this time I go into total organization, budgeting, planning and goal-setting mode. After the frenzy of the holidays, I’m more than ready to settle into a routine and get back on track with my spending, simplifying and health goals. I know I’m not...

read more

11 Frugal Ways to Use Kitchen Scraps

11 Frugal Ways to Use Kitchen Scraps

Save money, reduce food waste and and improve everything from your soil to your gut health with this list of 11 frugal ways to use kitchen scraps in your home and garden. *** We’re such a wasteful society, especially here in the west. The mounds of waste we...

read more

Well, it was no small task, but I FINALLY got everything in my pantry inventoried, organized and put away.

I wanted to share my process with you too, so if you’re interested in getting a full tour of our pantry and seeing how I organize things, click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead and check it out on YouTube!

P.S. I know you’re not supposed to stack canning jars as having multiple heavy rows stacked on top of each other can compromise the seal of the jars on the bottom. I avoid stacking when possible, but due to the style of our pantry I have made the conscious choice to stack one row (max) on top of the bottom and always make sure to stack jars of equal or lesser weight on top. And yes, we do have plans to add more shelves soon. Just a disclaimer since I’m sure I’ll get more comments about it;)

Also, be sure to leave a comment and let me know about any pantry organization hacks you use! I’m always looking to improve our system:)
.
.
.
#homesteadpantrychallenge #homesteadpantry #homesteadkitchen #foodstorage #foodsecurity #pantrychallenge #pantrygoals
...

Finally got around to taking EVERYTHING out of the pantry today and now getting ready to take inventory.

When everything is buried in the pantry, it can be so easy to forget what you have. That’s why I always recommend taking everything out when starting a pantry challenge so you know exactly what you’ve got. I was feeling like we hadn’t preserved enough food this year to get us through the month, but now that I see everything, I’ve got all sorts of creative ideas for how to use up the abundance of food that we have.

I’m also finding things I didn’t know I had, seeing what I have more than enough of and finding gaps in my food storage. This is one of my favourite reasons for doing a pantry challenge: it’s an excuse to pull everything out and actually see what we’ve got so we know what we’re working with.

In order to keep everything organized, I also created printable pantry, fridge and freezer inventory sheets where I can record everything I’ve got (so it doesn’t get lost at the back of our very deep pantry again). If you wanna grab these printables, along with my weekly meal planning sheet, homestead pantry checklist, pantry substitutions chart and 31 Days of Dinner Ideas cheat sheet, click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead and sign up for the Homestead Pantry Challenge and I’ll send everything to your inbox:)

Alright, back at it. Wish me luck!

Have you started organizing your pantry yet??
.
.
.
#homesteadpantrychallenge #pantrygoals #homesteadersofinstagram #homesteading #homesteadkitchen #foodstorage #foodsecurity
...

🌱 One of the things I get asked the most during the #homesteadpantrychallenge is what we do for fresh veggies. Now, I much prefer to eat seasonally, which means eating the veggies that we preserved over the summer and fall during the winter. But I do start to miss my fresh greens by the time January rolls around.

Sure, I could grow some salad greens over the winter months, but that would require a level of organization that I frankly haven’t reached yet. And quite honestly, I don’t love going out to the garden in the middle of winter due to the torrential rain, swampy mud and frigid temps we get here in the PNW. No no, I’m a little too lazy and disorganized for all that! I’d much rather plant seeds a few days before I want to harvest them and do it all from the comfort of my kitchen during the nasty weather season.

And so, I turn to microgreens to provide me and my fam with fresh greens this time of year. They’re not only packed with nutrients (said to be higher in nutrients than their full grown counterparts!), they can be grown on your countertop and are ready to harvest in just a few days!

Not to mention, they taste delicious and look beautiful! I made this cheesy pasta dish topped with broccoli microgreens for dinner and the microgreens (which are just the seedling version of the full grown plant) tasted just like broccoli. Plus, the purple and green colours take an otherwise kinda boring dish and make it pop💥

I get all of my microgreens from @trueleafmarket, one of the sponsors of this month’s pantry challenge, as well as the current issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine!

To enter to win your own self-watering microgreens growing kit from True Leaf Market, be sure to join in the Homestead Pantry Challenge on Instagram, and to learn more about microgreens AND score yourself a sweet 10% discount off all True Leaf products, make sure you’re subscribed to Modern Homesteading Magazine (discount code is in the magazine and in the delivery email).

If you’re not yet subscribed, click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead and subscribe for free!

What’s your go-to source for fresh greens in the winter??
...

Well, we made it. It’s hard to believe that 2020 is finally behind us, but here we are, at the dawn of a new year; A fresh page and a new chapter.

This past year has been one for the history books for sure, and it most definitely has not all been good. But it hasn’t been all bad either. Us humans have a tendency to focus on the bad. It’s a survival tool that’s hard-wired into our brains to be on the lookout for danger. So we have to make a conscious choice to see the good in bad situations; To find what we can control and cling to it in a sea of things that we cannot control and, therefore, must let go of.

But with a new year comes a symbolic chance to let those things go and to move forward with hope and determination. No matter what’s scrolled on the pages of the past, the future has yet to be written.

As we enter 2021, I encourage you to remember that those things that were out of our control last year are still out of our control this year. They always have been, and always will be. But what is in our control are our thoughts and actions; How we choose to see and react to the world and to each other.

My hope is that we can begin to leave the past behind us and choose to see the world in a new light. In the Universe there is no good and bad. Everything just is. We assign the value.

I also hope that we begin to see each other as fellow travellers on the same journey, and to treat each other with equal respect, no matter our skin colour, gender, political or religious beliefs.
 
Finally I hope that the trend of people taking an interest in modern homesteading and taking action toward living a more sustainable, self-sufficient life continues long after COVID is behind us. As a whole, I think this was one of the best things to come out of this past year; A bright silver lining on a dark cloud.
 
There’s no way to know for sure what 2021 has in store for us, but I know that if we enter into this next chapter with open minds and hearts, along with a willingness to step up and take charge of the things in life that we can control while committing to let go of the rest, well then 2021 will be a good year no matter what.
 
To a new year and a fresh start 🥂
...

It’s the most wonderful time of the year...

Time for the 2021 Homestead Pantry Challenge to begin!!!

Every year in January, I like to challenge myself to eat only what I've managed to store away throughout the year and avoid the grocery store at all costs. And after the year we’ve just had, many of us are doing our best to avoid the grocery store already. Plus, with the financial impacts of lockdowns and the fragility of our global supply chain, saving a few bucks and taking steps to become more self-sufficient are top of mind for a lot of people right now.

Needless to say, a pantry challenge might be just what you need right about now to reign in your spending, put your resourcefulness, kitchen skills and creativity to the test, increase your self-sufficiency and decrease your dependence on the grocery store and on people and systems that are outside of your control.

Kicking things off with a fun pantry challenge can help you to start the new year off on the right foot and gain momentum and motivation that will help get you moving in the right direction and take control over your food supply right off the bat so that you set yourself up for success in 2021, regardless of what unexpected surprises it may bring.

This year's Homestead Pantry Challenge is even bigger and better than before too, with some exciting prizes up for grabs, including a @lodgecastiron skillet, a self-watering micro greens growing kit from @trueleafmarket and an 8-quart Duo Nova Instant Pot!!!

🥫To join in and enter to win, post photos or videos of your pantry, your meal planning, your meals, etc. during the pantry challenge and use the hashtag #homesteadpantrychallenge in the caption. Every post equals one entry:)

🎞 You can also post in your stories using the hashtag #homesteadpantrychallenge and tagging me @thehouseandhomestead for additional entries!

I'm SO pumped about this year's challenge and I really REALLY hope you'll join me!

The challenge officially begins on January 1st and runs until January 31st, but you can sign up via my link in bio @thehouseandhomestead and get all the details before we begin!
...

Merry Christmas friends!

While this year, and subsequently this Christmas has been anything but normal, and while we weren’t able to be with our extended families this year , I hope you’ve been able to find peace and joy this season, and to enjoy slower, more intimate moments at home with your immediate family.

Now that the big day has come and (almost) gone, it’s time to slow down, to rest deeply and recharge for the year to come. Nobody knows what 2021 will bring, but after the year that was 2020, we’ve proven to ourselves just how resilient we can be. And that is one of the greatest gifts of all. (Well, that and this accidentally inappropriate ornament we got to commemorate a year that will forever live in infamy;)

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night ❤️
...

Cranberry sauce is a holiday tradition, but if you’ve ever had store-bought cranberry sauce out of a tin, then you probably know how unappetizing it can be.

From the “glurp” sound that it makes as it slides out of the tin and into the bowl, to the way the jelly stays formed in the shape of the tin even after it’s out, to the bland boringness of the flavour.

No offence to anyone who loves commercially canned cranberry sauce, but even if you love the store-bought stuff, then you’re definitely gonna love homemade cranberry sauce!

I know a lot of people put orange juice or orange zest in their cranberry sauce, and you can totally do that too! But I’m actually not a fan of the orange-cranberry mix, so my recipe calls for a little cinnamon and vanilla, as well as some sugar to give it a sweet spiciness that goes oh so well with Christmas dinner.

But perhaps the best part is that you’re able to can this cranberry sauce too, which means you can make a big batch this year and have enough homemade cranberry sauce on your shelves to last you multiple holiday seasons! Or you could even give some away to loved ones with whom you’re not able to spend Christmas with this year.

Whether you want to can it for later or eat it fresh or just refrigerate it until Christmas, this recipe is a must-try this holiday season.

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to get my full recipe plus canning instructions:)
.
.
.
#homemade #fromscratch #christmasrecipes #cranberrysauce #delicious
...

Look at that JIGGLE!!!

If you don’t make your own bone broth, this might look really weird (and kinda gross tbh), but this is actually EXACTLY what you wanna see in a homemade bone broth. This jiggly gel means this broth is super high in collagen, which comes from the bones, skin and ligaments of animals (in this case grass-fed beef cattle). It’s also the most abundant protein in the human body, and many studies have show that increasing our collagen intake can help up the collagen in our own bodies.

Collagen has so many health and beauty benefits, including healthy skin (and reduced wrinkles), shiny, healthy hair and strong bones, cartilage, joints and muscles.

I love making my own broth at home because I can pretty much guarantee a good gel and lots of collagen in each batch. Plus I make mine super frugally, with bones and veggie scraps that I save in the freezer.

I’ll be posting my recipe (and canning instructions) soon. Start saving those scraps!
.
.
.
#bonebroth #collagen #nourish #wholefoodnutrition #homesteadkitchen
...

After 9 long months of extreme hand washing and sanitizing, the last thing our skin needs right now is the harshness of winter. But winter is here my friends, and that means it’s time to give your skin a little extra TLC.

I make my own body butter every year around this time, and it’s become my favourite way to moisturize my skin during the winter months. Much like a deep conditioner works on your hair, body butter absorbs deeply into your skin to help moisturize, repair and protect it.

While lotions contain water (aqua), they also requires additional preservatives to keep them from going moldy due to the water content. But this homemade whipped body butter doesn’t have this problem because it’s made of nourishing oils and fats like shea butter, sweet almond oil and coconut oil (plus beneficial essential oils for all-natural fragrance). These oils are not only all-natural and highly beneficial for your skin, they’re also easily absorbed, giving your skin a “deep conditioning” rather than just a surface moisturizing.

But the best part of all is how quick and easy this body butter is to make up in your kitchen, and what a nice gift it makes this time of year too! So you can make a jar for yourself and a few jars for the people you love:)

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-body-butter/ to get the full recipe and “whip up” a batch today;)
.
.
.
#bodybutter #naturalbeauty #naturalliving #skindeep #homemade #handmade #naturalskincare
...

The holidays are fast approaching, and that means it’s time for my FAVOURITE THINGS!!! 🎉🎁🎄(aka. The modern homesteader’s Christmas wish list;)

I’ve rounded up all of my fave kitchen tools, books and home and body products that I use all the time and could not live without (ok, I could live without them, but I wouldn’t want to!) and I’m sharing them all with you in this week’s YouTube video!

Grab a mug of something warm (or a glass of something chilled) and come on in for a tour of all the goods!

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to YouTube.com/thehouseandhomestead for all the latest videos:)
...

I’ve wanted to learn how to forage for wild mushrooms for years but have always either missed the season, been too busy or just couldn’t find anyone to take me out and show me the ropes. (Mushroom hunters are known for being a little tight-lipped about sharing their spots;)

Well, today I finally got out with a guide and found my very first Chanterelle all by myself!!

This sort of thing might seem like no big deal to most people, but for those of us with an insatiable appetite for learning new skills, it’s a milestone moment.

There’s still an endless list of skills I want to learn and projects I want to tackle. The thing I love most about the homesteading lifestyle is that there is literally always something new to learn!

I don’t expect to ever learn all the things I want to learn, but I know that even when I’m in the latter season of my life, I’ll still have an insatiable appetite to keep learning until it’s my time to leave this Earth.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you live or how much land or experience you have. If you consider yourself a lifelong learner (who’s not afraid to get your hands dirty), then you have what it takes to be a homesteader too;)

Super pumped for tonight’s dinner of wild mushroom risotto and a celebratory glass of Chardonnay :)

What skill(s) do you want to learn next?
.
.
.
#wildmushrooms #mushrooms #chanterelles #foraging #wildfood #wildfoodlove
...

© The House & Homestead | All Rights Reserved | Legal

Crafted with ♥ by Inscape Designs