|Molly and calf|
For days -- no, weeks -- I kept thinking, "I should have said ___ or ___!" It was the first time anyone had ever argued with me about organics and sustainability, and I was not prepared at all. When we told everyone we were moving to the country in 2002 to grow our own food, they all looked at us like we had lost our minds. They really didn't know what to say, so most didn't say much. My father, who had lived on a farm his entire life until I was three years old, looked at me quizzically, paused for a long time, then finally said, "What do you want to do that for?" The goal in his life was to have a real job so he could make enough money to buy all of his food. And so I grew up eating canned ravioli, frozen pizza, and lots of hamburgers and burritos from local fast food places.
Thinking about the past month is like traveling to a new universe -- one where people are concerned about their food and want to grow their own, one where my lifestyle is cool instead of weird. In the past month, I've had five speaking engagements, two newspaper interviews, and a radio interview. Here is one of the newspaper articles, and here's the other one. Another reporter is coming over today to interview me. I spoke at the Illinois Sustainable Living and Wellness Expo on homesteading and backyard chickens two weeks ago, and both sessions were packed with about seventy people. From young couples to retirees, people want to take control of their food. Thirty-one people spent a whole day at a Homesteading Conference a few weeks ago, learning to raise livestock, compost, and preserve the fruits of their labor by canning.
But the good news doesn't stop there. Tractor Supply in Blomington, IL, can't keep up with demand for its livestock feed. For the past month, they keep running out of various feeds, and a friend from Kentucky told me her Tractor Supply down there is having the same problem. I also noticed that every time I went into the store for the past month, their chick brooders have been empty. Yesterday, they were full, and there was an employee giving them food and water. I started talking to her and learned that they can't keep the chicks in stock. Every time they get a shipment, they sell out within a few hours. They have only had chicks in the store overnight once this spring!
I'm really excited about this new consciousness, and not just because Homegrown and Handmade is coming out this fall, which by the way, is now available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I'm excited because there are so many positive aspects to growing your own food -- you get exercise, you eat healthier, and you get outside more. And this leads into tomorrow's post about why we should do our best to avoid Big Ag and Big Biz products as much as possible. Although we're growing most of our own food now, there are still plenty of things on my to-do list, including bee hives and mushrooms. But I love hearing about what other people have started to do or are planning to do, so don't be shy -- share your successes and your plans for the future in the comment section.