Sunday, April 10, 2011

And So It Begins...

so i've decided i would like to be a farmer when i grow up.  about me: 30, white, developing a career in education or somesuch, no kids yet (thinking about it), several pets, married, living in east by east east austin texas.  lately i have discovered a desire to become more, how do you say, sustainable?  i suspect this is a desire shared by many people of my age and status, who find themselves in such a financial and emotional place to become concerned about one's health and the world.  now that i am no longer scratching desperately through my low-income high-drama 20's, my gaze turns outward from the bare logistics of living to the larger prospect of living well.

our family (me, dan, 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 guinea pig, 2 rats, 1 snake, 1 fish) has already taken some small steps toward a more compassionate and healthy existence.  we make an effort to avoid high fructose corn syrup, and usually reject grocery items with absurdly long lists of ingredients.  we recycle.  we quit smoking.  we patronize our local farmers' market on a monthly basis for locally-sourced, ethically-raised produce, meat and some dairy.  but we definitely still use the big box grocery store for most staples, and going to the farmer's market still feels more like a leisurely family weekend activity than an actual grocery run.  i still feel stymied by a few fundamental barriers that block my compassionate consumer ideal:

--COST.  food is expensive to produce.  the price is artifically lowered at the big box grocery store due to cheap imitation food products and cheap labor.  but when one has been accustomed to paying artificially low prices one's whole life, one's budget is not necessarily prepared for the big jump in cost that comes with supporting local food producers and eating real food.

--MEAT. i am very interested in the well-being and ethical treatment of animals.  but many animals are delicious to eat, and there is something fundamentally unethical about killing another creature so that i might enjoy its tasty flesh.  however, right now, i am probably not going to become a vegetarian.  since we've been buying locally-raised poultry, bison and pork from the farmers' market, i am thinking about no longer eating meat from the big box grocery store at all.  i have not quite yet made that step.

--TIME. buying and eating fresh, locally sourced food takes a time committment that seems substantial when i am used to having tons of non-fresh lazy food lying around from the big box grocery store.  i think i have the very american trait of being addicted to convenience--if i don't have to buy food all the time because i have lots of things with long shelf lives that i can boil in some water and eat in 5 minutes, or gobble straight from the bag, then i will have much more time to (insert time away-whiler here).  this is an old habit, and one tied in with body image/weight issues--another american trait.

--LACK OF GREEN THUMB.  fairly explanatory.

in the name of living better, and in the spirit of adventure, i wish to try on a new mindset.  i would like to encourage these improvements in personal choice that we have made so far, and see if we can trend toward more compassionate consuming and a more healthy existence.  i want to become a.....wait for it...

T otally U rban F armer!  a TUF!


  1. I saw your post on the Backyard Chickens forum, and chased your link to this blog and have spent the past couple of hours reading everything up to this point, the begining. I feel the same ways about many things you talk about and have also wanted to live independently of big box stores and leave a smaller imprint on the earth while giving Animals a better life. You have motivated me to start the blog that I have always wanted to do...I live up in north Texas and understand the trials of our weather. Take care and thanks for the inspiration!
    ~Cindy Lou'

    1. Hi Cindy Lou! thanks so much for reading. i have been not so good at keeping things up to date of late, and your sweet comment is just the inspiration i need! i am originally from dallas (richardson, to be precise)and it's great to know that you are up there TUFing it out. :) cheers! let's keep on keepin' on, and let me know when you start your blog, i'd love to read it! --katieCO

  2. I totally agree with you philosophically on this! Alas, barriers... I'm hoping that once we buy our house and KNOW that we're settled there for the long haul (vs. moving every 1-2 years), I hope to start a little vegetable garden. I also want to make farmer's market runs a regular weekend thing, but currently it's difficult with an independent toddler. It's fun to take her and show her stuff, but to actually spend time shopping? That would be a luxury. I try very hard to minimize our consumption of HFCS and avoid products with ingredients that are unidentifiable chemicals. We do a pretty good job overall with eating reasonably well, but we could always do better. I buy organic dairy products (if available) and eggs. Once we don't have housemates, I'll work on expanding those. :)

    I've enjoyed what I've read so far! I'll definitely follow ya! It's so neat that you're doing all this - who knew?