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.

 

 

 

 

 


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

9 Comments

  1. Rebecca

    I love that you are talking about difficult topics. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading 🙂 found you through the Ultimate Bundles and I’m happy I did!

    Reply
    • Tish Painter

      Thank you so much for your support!
      As Anna’s Assistant, I can honestly say that the support of you and others is what keeps us both here!

      Reply
  2. Billie D Frye

    You talk about the system. What is the system that you are against? I want to know what in the system you are protesting about.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      The industrialized food system, big AG, big pharma, unfair laws that dictate who can grow food where and how, that dictate what type of food you’re legally allowed to purchase and what you’re able to do with your own property, the system that consistently puts profits before people and aims to keep people dependent on outside resources while simultaneously making them unhealthy, systemic racism that exists in every part of our system (ie. food, legal, housing, etc.), the system that always puts the economy first while health and the environment come second (if at all), and so on. Basically, I don’t agree with how our current world is being run or with the direction it’s headed in. I feel that the systems that have been put in place and established over many, many years work to benefit the few at the mercy of the many, and I see homesteading as something that I can do to effect positive change by not buying into of these systems. While I’m certainly nowhere near perfect, and I know that no one person is ever going to change the world, that doesn’t mean we can’t take small actions toward the kind of world we want to live in. This is the philosophy I live by and it’s why I show up here consistently and encourage others to take small actions to effect big change in their own lives and in the lives of others too. There are too many problems in this world for me to devote myself to all of them, so I’ve had to choose my “hill to die on,” so to speak. Food, sustainability and breaking free of oppressive systems through everyday actions are what guide and motivate me to live this way, and to teach and inspire others to do the same.

      Reply
  3. 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
  4. 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

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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. 
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The world is changing faster than ever.

We’ve barely had time to adapt to the “new normal” and still things are continuing to shift, change, and in some cases spiral more each day.

From rising inflation and persistent supply chain issues, to a looming recession and food shortages that are expected to get worse after a very tough farming year, to a war on European soil and the threat of cyber attacks and (God forbid) a nuclear attack, to the future of digital IDs and increasingly pervasive government control over every aspect of our lives, it’s no wonder more people are looking for ways to escape the matrix and “opt out” of the system.

I consider myself an optimistic realist: I hope for the best and I live fully and freely in the moment, but I prepare for the future accordingly based on what I can see unfolding in our world. And honestly, I find this “sweet spot” to be incredibly empowering.

This is why I do what I do and why I share it with you on a regular basis; I WANT TO EMPOWER YOU TOO!

That’s why I created The Society of Self-Reliance: A private membership that connects you with the resources, support and community you need to reclaim your independence and become more self-reliant in every aspect of your life.

From growing and preserving your own food to crafting and using herbal medicine to life skills like how to manage it all and stay calm in stressful situations, how to prepare for emergency situations and much more, if you’re ready to learn invaluable skills that will help you take control of your family’s food security, health and wellbeing, time, finances, and ultimately over your own future, The Society of Self-Reliance was created for you!

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be reopening the Society doors for a limited time starting next week, and wanted to give you the heads up NOW so that you can get on the waitlist and make sure you don’t miss out when enrollment opens.

To learn more or get on the waitlist, click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/society

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All you need is some puréed pumpkin (I make mine with fresh pumpkins, but you can use canned), some brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, allspice and ginger, a splash of vanilla extract and some water.

Bring everything to a boil and then simmer and reduce. Strain into a bottle or Mason jar and store in the fridge for up to a week or so.

Add a tablespoon or 2 of this syrup to your coffee or homemade latte for a better quality, better tasting PSL for a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay at a coffee shop.

You can also add this syrup to homemade kombucha, or drizzle it over pancakes, waffles, French toast or even ice cream!

Grab the full recipe via the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-pumpkin-spice-syrup/

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Do you dream of escaping the rat race and starting a homestead far from the chaos of the modern world?

It’s no surprise that in this day and age, more and more people are ready to leave it all behind and move to a property in the country where they can grow their own food, live a simpler life and become more self-sufficient and less dependent on “the system.” But as romantic as it sounds, it’s definitely easier said than done.

In the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, I sat down with Ann Accetta-Scott of @afarmgirlinthemaking to talk all about what people need to know about buying and selling a homestead property.

Ann and her husband Justin recently moved from their two-acre homestead outside of Seattle, Washington to a 40-acre homestead in rural Tennessee. Ann and I sat down to talk about the realities of buying and selling a homestead, moving across the country to pursue your homesteading dream, what to look for when you’re searching for your next property, pitfalls to avoid (if you can!), and what you can do if you’re not ready or in a position to make your move just yet.

Whether you’re looking to purchase your first homestead or trying to sell an existing homestead and upgrade to a bigger property, Ann had some great insights to share that can save you time, stress and money when you’re ready to make your move.

Check out the full interview in the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine: link in bio @anna.sakawsky or visit www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe, login to the library (if you’re already a subscriber) or view a sample of the current issue!

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This is why people don’t trust our medical system!!!

I very rarely go on a rant about current events but this has me feeling really fired up…

My husband and I each got an Amber Alert on our phones the other night along with millions of other British Columbians, informing us of a child abduction in Vancouver. It made the suspect sound like a dangerous kidnapper and said “do not approach. Call 911.”

As it turns out, it was the mother of the child (a 3-year-old boy), who had refused medical treatment without getting a second opinion and follow up blood tests, so the Ministry of Child and Family Services was called, she was arrested and her son was taken from her and was administered medical treatment in the hospital without consent and without a guardian present.

There’s a lot more to this story than I’m able to share in this video or this caption, so I’ll post some links below where you can hear directly from the mom what happened, and check out other IG accounts that have been in direct contact with her and the father. But the point is this was a GROSS misuse of our Amber Alert system, a GROSS abuse of power (turns out the boy wasn’t sick in the end anyway), and has now traumatized this family for life.

Doctors are not gods and as mothers we do not co-parent with the government!!!

This hits close to home for me because I too have been through the medical system and had my concerns dismissed, was misdiagnosed and given wrong information, and was treated with obvious contempt when I got a second opinion.

In this day and age of rampant medical coercion and the erosion of bodily autonomy over our own bodies and over those of our children, this story highlights the dangers of the very slippery slope we’re on.

As parents who only have the best interests of our children at heart, this could happen to any one of us. We can’t let this be normalized. Remember “first they came for (fill in the blank), and I said nothing. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Check out my stories for the full video that the mom, Wiloh made explaining the details of what happened or check out the comments for links to learn more & support this family.
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79 26

I’ve hesitated about posting this reel over and over because I know I’ll probably get backlash, hate and vitriol from some people in return. But I wouldn’t be being true to myself if I didn’t speak the truth that’s on my heart and mind…

If you haven’t noticed, there are currently thousands of Canadians sharing their stories and using the hashtag #trudeaumustgo on their social media posts right now in response to the divisive rhetoric and actions of our prime minister over the past few months. But our media has downplayed the issue and has attributed most of the hashtags to “bot” accounts and foreigners trying to influence our politics.

In response, real Canadians are making videos and sharing their stories to show that we are not bots, but real people who have been negatively affected by the words and actions of our leaders, particularly our leader at the top.

I used to consider myself a lifelong leftist and have supported the liberal government and Trudeau over the years, but after what I’ve witnessed over the past few months; After how he has spoken about Canadians who have made a different medical choice or who have protested mandates (which have done nothing to stop the spread of you-know-what anyway); After the hate and division that has trickled down from the top and infiltrated our communities, I can no longer stand silently by.

While I am 💉, a few months ago when I voiced my support for those who stood up against mandates and against the division being pushed on us by our leadership, I suddenly found myself among what our prime minister called the “small fringe minority” of citizens with “unacceptable views.”

I lost followers, friends and even a couple family members. I was told I’d been “radicalized,” although my views have never changed.

So today I’m adding my voice to the chorus of real, everyday Canadians who are taking a stand against tyranny and division in this country. As the saying goes, if we do not stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. I stand for freedom & autonomy, and against division & tyranny.

#trudeaumustgo

(Special thanks to fellow 🇨🇦 homesteader @meggarlandd for inspiring me & giving me the courage to post this:)
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272 59

What would you do if the grid went down?

Imagine not just the lights going out, but all power, all digital communication and information. Would you be prepared?

A lot of us THINK we’re prepared for a grid down situation, but unless you’re already living off grid, you might not realize how dependent on technology we really are!

In the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, contributor Ashley Constance of @dirtypawshomestead and @alittleselfreliant shares her experience voluntarily going without power for the day, and what she and her husband, Shawn learned from their grid down experiment.

You might be surprised at the things they discovered and missed on their prep list, and it might prompt you to reevaluate whether you’re ready in case the grid goes down, or even just Google 😱

Check out the full story in the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine!

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The other day when I had a few minutes to spare, I was out in the garden doing a little work when my neighbour said hi over the fence.

I lamented to her about how busy we’ve been and how hard it’s been to keep on top of this year. Very sincerely, she replied “wait until you have another one,” referring to our baby on the way.

“You’ll be moving back to the suburbs so quick, mark my words,” she said.

Now, I don’t for a second think there was any ill intent behind her statement, but still, it took me aback.

“We’ll never move back to the city or the suburbs,” I replied with a laugh. “This may be hard work but we love it.”

She then repeated her statement and followed it up with “just you wait and see.”

I decided not to continue the back and forth. After all, I told myself, it doesn’t matter if she or anyone else knows what’s truly in your heart. It doesn’t matter if she understands that there’s no amount of difficulty that would make me run back to the suburbs and leave this life behind. In fact, our dream is to upgrade to a bigger property someday where we can grow an even bigger garden and add more livestock to our homestead!

Likewise, I visited the city last weekend for a family event and as always, I had at least a couple people ask me “so when are you moving back to the city?”

Seven years later, and still we have friends and family members who think this is just a phase we’re going through, and eventually we’ll come to our senses and move back.

I used to get offended by these questions because I felt unseen; I felt like nobody took this life that I’m so passionate about seriously, and thought it was “cute” that I was “playing farmer” for a bit, but eventually I had to grow up and become part of the “real world” once again.

Now I just smile and reply “never:)”

Can you relate? How do you (politely) respond when someone questions your lifestyle choices or implies that you’ll eventually come to your senses and come back to “reality”?

Let me know below 👇
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84 16

The fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine just dropped!

In this issue you’ll find:

• Preparedness tips, tricks and advice to help you be ready for anything on the homestead (and in life!)
•The ultimate guide to growing garlic at home and it as both food and medicine
• Drool-worthy recipes that feature garlic as the star!
• Expert advice from A Farmgirl in the Making’s Ann Accetta-Scott on what to look for (and look out for) when buying or selling a homestead property
• Advice on how to learn and grow from perceived homesteading “failures”

And more!!!

Go to modernhomesteadingmagazine.com or click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky to subscribe or login to the library and read the latest issue if you’re already subscribed!
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31 3

When I first started homesteading, I had a burning desire to become more self-sufficient and live a more sustainable life.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a rebel at heart, and learning how to homestead and become more self-reliant was a way for me to “throw a proverbial middle finger to the system” and live life on my own terms.

As a teenager, I was the girl who drove around town with punk rock music blaring from my car, Misfits sticker on the back and studs around my wrists. I felt misunderstood and angsty and like I desperately didn’t fit in with the world I grew up in.

I always knew in my soul that I wanted something different; Something more.

Today I’m the mama with stretch marks on my belly and battle scars on my heart. I’m the woman who gardens and cans food and makes her own tinctures and believes in something greater than herself and fights every day to stay free in a world that feels increasingly engineered to keep us hopelessly dependent.

Today I feel whole and at peace, and connected to a higher power and a higher purpose. I feel like I’ve finally found the place where I belong.

This journey has been about so much more than homesteading for me, and I've learned, lost, gained and loved so much more than I ever could have imagined.

Because, as I've said before, homesteading doesn't happen in a vacuum. Life is always happening at the same time.

This is the full, raw and unfiltered story of my homesteading journey, and how I've gained so much more than a pantry full of food along the way.

Click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky to read more or check it out here >> https://thehouseandhomestead.com/how-it-started-how-its-going
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66 5

The news we’ve all been waiting for…

IT’S A BOY!!!

After so many years and too many losses, our hearts are so full and it feels like we are inching closer to our family finally being complete.

I’ve always known in my heart and soul that we were meant to have a girl and a boy. I know, it sounds cliché and very “nuclear family,” but years ago I saw a psychic who told me I would have a girl who loved to be centre stage and had a personality larger than life, very much how our daughter has turned out!

She also said I would have a boy who would be much more introverted and in tune with nature and with his own intuition. That’s yet to be seen, but I’ve always had this unwavering vision of a son and a daughter that fit these descriptions, and my heart has been set on a son ever since we had Evelyn.

Of course, things went sideways for a few years. Shortly after Evelyn was born, I became pregnant again, but we made the heartbreaking decision to terminate that pregnancy at 24 weeks due to a severe medical diagnosis. We lost our son, Phoenix Rain on June 15, 2018. Our hearts were shattered and have never fully healed.

Over the next few years, I had 3 more early miscarriages. None of the doctors knew what was causing them as most didn’t seem to have any sort of genetic explanation. We were told it was “something environmental,” but weren’t given any clues as to what that could be.

After pushing to see several specialists last year (after our most recent loss), and being told once again that there was “nothing wrong with me,” I finally got another opinion and found out I had something called Chronic Endometritis: A low-grade infection in my uterus that I believe in my heart was caused by my c-section with our daughter; A c-section I didn’t want and probably didn’t need, but felt I needed because I was under pressure to make a decision before the surgeon went off duty.

I’ll never know for sure, but when I pushed for more testing and finally got a simple round of antibiotics, the endometritis cleared up. I got pregnant again almost immediately and so far we now have a healthy baby boy on the way.

(Continued in comments…)
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We’re living through interesting times. Many people have even used the term “unprecedented times,” and while that may be true in that there has perhaps never been another time in history when we’ve faced so many existential threats all at once (ie. a global pandemic, climate change, political divisions, AI advancing at an incredible rate, cyber attacks, nuclear threats, globalization, food shortages, supply chain issues, hyperinflation, social media and the age of information/misinformation, etc. etc. all converging at once). But despite all of this, we are not the first generation(s) of humans to face hardships and threats of great magnitude, and in fact we’ve had it better than any other previous generations for most of our lives, especially here in the west.

The fact is, there are lots of things we can do to ensure we’re not sitting ducks when these threats come knocking at our door. But it takes action on our part, not waiting around for someone else to fix things or take care of us.

In the Summer issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, I sat down with The Grow Network’s Marjory Wildcraft to talk all about the realities of our current climate, including worsening inflation and looming global food shortages, as well as what every day people like you and I can actually DO to improve our food security, become more self-sufficient, care for our families and communities and ensure our own survival and wellbeing even in difficult and uncertain times like these.

While I don’t believe in fear mongering, I do believe in acknowledging hard truths and not burying your head in the sand. That being said, things may very well get worse before they get better, and we would all do well to start learning the necessary skills, stocking up on essential resources and preparing now while there’s still time.

Check out the full interview in the summer issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine. Link in bio @anna.sakawsky to subscribe or go to www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe or login and read the current issue.

#foodshortages #selfsufficiency #selfreliance #foodsecurity #foodsecurityisfreedom #homesteading #growyourownfood #fightinflation #stayfree
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