We've been getting quite a bit of press lately, which is cool, but some of the spin that the media has put on what we're doing is just flat out wrong and sensational so I want to get the record straight here on the blog. Most of you that follow us are probably well aware that what has been said is sometimes completely false, but there are also quite a few new people reading this so I just want to clarify some things.
So here are the top falsehoods that have been said:
We're doing this because of the recent food outbreaks
False. While it's a bonus that we don't have to worry about food recalls it's not something we think about that much.
We have lived exclusively off of our 1/4 acre for a year
That's false too. Just read the rules and you'll see that for the first 9 months we were going to the farmers' market, bought our staples from a buying club that sources local organic food, and shopped at local merchants that sourced local meat, dairy, and other products. The last 3 months we didn't buy any food but we still used stuff that we had on hand that we didn't necessarily grow.
You have to have a garden and livestock to eliminate the grocery store.
Completely false. This bothered me a great deal because the reason we were doing this was to help show people that even if they live in an apartment they can reduce their dependence on grocery stores. From October 1st to late June our garden was barely productive so we couldn't rely on it for all of our food. But it showed us that you don't need to grow and raise your own food to be grocery-store free.
They've saved X amount of money
This seems to be a moving target. Some of the reporters want to include the money saved on groceries *with* the money we've saved by gardening. I try to keep the two independent because we gardened a lot before we took on our year without groceries. So you'll see numbers ranging from $4,000 to $9,000 depending on what they want to share.
And then there were some things that we did say during the interviews that were "conveniently" left out for the sake of journalism:
Why we're really doing this
I've developed a pretty severe intolerance to soy and canola, which are in nearly everything. I was getting tired of wading through all the product additives that were made from soy but didn't actually say "soy" in the name. The best option I had was to eliminate processed foods from our diet.
We then learned that most farmers don't get very much money for the food that they grow (Walmart is one of the worst) and that most food at the grocery store isn't even from California or the U.S for that matter. We decided that it was really important that the money we spend on food goes almost entirely to the farmer. Buying directly from farmers not only helped support small family farms, but it also helps keep money in our community.
Don't take it all on at once
I'm a huge believer that raising livestock and growing produce isn't for everyone. There are other things you can do to change the way you eat without going as far as we have. We've also been doing this for over 6 years, steadily building up to where we are now.
Our neighbors actually enjoy what we're doing
They like to come over and visit with the animals, they enjoy the produce and eggs we bring them and we create an open dialogue with them to address any concerns they may have. We make sure the noise and smell are at a minimum (many of the reporters have commented about the lack of smell) and that everyone is happy, from our neighbors to the animals.
Hopefully that's cleared up some of the misconceptions to those that are new to the blog. I'm more than happy to answer anyone's questions as well.