I have always prided myself in being independent. Growing up, my mom and dad made sure that I’d be able to support myself, telling me that girls can do anything, and making sure that I learned about responsibility with work (at the farm market) and money (from my pay check) starting early. By the time I was 13, I was buying my own clothes and I routinely worked a 40-hour week throughout high school, while playing sports and making honor roll. There was never any question that I would go to college and get a good job. People are sometimes surprised to hear that I started my teaching career at age 22, which I’ve always countered with “That’s what we’re supposed to do! I went to four years of college, got a degree, and got a job.” Now, I know that it doesn’t always work that way for everybody, but it did for me. But the point is, I’m able to be independent. I married my husband because I love him, not because I need him financially. We’re an equal team, and nobody is a dependent.
Going along with the theme of independence, I’ve decided to join Sharon’s Independence Days 2008 challenge. Sharon challenges us to reduce our dependence on the industrial food system and take care of ourselves. Follow the link from the image below to read all about it.
I’m just going to quickly summarize what Sharon’s challenge is all about. There are basically 7 categories to consider (which she goes into detail about on her post).
- Plant something.
- Harvest something.
- Preserve something.
- Prep something.
- Cook something.
- Manage your reserves.
- Work on local food systems.
I’m going to try to do at least one thing from each category each week. Since the challenge began back in May, I’m going to give a quick update on what we’ve done so far, and then I’ll be writing weekly updates. So here’s our progress from before we even knew we were participating!
- Designed, built and planted our vegetable garden.
- We’ve harvested lettuce, snap peas and basil.
- I made both strawberry jam and strawberry preserves, and I froze some surplus snap peas and strawberries. I also have a freezer full of turkey stock.
- I think building the vegetable garden fence would fall into this category, as would building a pantry (even if there’s no food in it right now). I also bought some more mason jars to prepare for preserving. We also prepped the soil by adding cow manure.
- I cook all the time, using what we grow and what I buy locally, and I’m always trying new recipes.
- Since this is our first year in the new house, we don’t really have a lot of reserves. I think planning and organizing our pantry will fall into this category, so it will be good motivation to work on this a little each week.
- I attended one meeting of our town’s agricultural comission. I’ve also visited farmer’s markets in three surrounding towns. And of course, I work at the stand.
I’m going to post weekly updates of our progress in the Independence Days Challenge on Mondays.