November 02, 2013

Although I've haven't posted anything on here in ages, I've had a blog theme running through the back of my mind for quite a while now. I call it "The Vegetarian Homestead". We are lucky to live in a community where many people have an interest in connecting with where their food comes from. For some people this means frequenting the local farmer's markets, but for many it means producing as much of their food as they can themselves. Joe and I definitely fall into that category, although grad school and parenthood have diverted a lot of our time and energy at the moment. Although we share common goals and interests with so many people around us, I find our vegetarian lifestyle puts us in a category mostly our own. Hobby farms and homesteads abound, but most of them include raising animals for meat as part of their food production strategy (or acquire meat from another local source).

I was feeling a bit lonely in my niche a while back and decided to search the internet for a homesteading kindred spirit. My geographical community may be small, but you can find anything on the World Wide Web, right? I typed "vegetarian homesteading" into Google to see what I would find and lo and behold, up popped a blog with the very promising name "The Vegetarian Homesteader"! How serendipitous! You can imagine my confusion when the first few posts that I read all seemed to be about raising animals for meat. Turns out the "vegetarian homesteader" is a woman who is indeed a vegetarian and raises a variety of heritage livestock on her farm…and her husband and children kill and eat the 'surplus' of her hobby. Hmm, not exactly what I was looking for. The pickin's were pretty slim throughout the rest of the WWW as well.

This disappointing research got me thinking about what I'd been looking for and the specific challenges of my own vegetarian homesteading experiments. We have some good friends who are vegetarians from way back and are basically my homesteading heroes. Although they don't produce all of their own food, their root cellars and storerooms are laden with homegrown and home preserved garden bounty that lasts year round. It's truly a thing of beauty. However, they don't have any domestic animals on their compound, neither livestock nor pets, which still puts me on my own to work out the kinks in my particular vegetarian homestead vision. Simply stated, how can one incorporate animals in a compassionate and sustainable fashion into a vegetarian homesteading paradigm without relying on someone else to "eat the surplus"?

Well, that might not have been very simply stated, but I'm already amazed that Eden has stayed asleep long enough for me to get this far. Spending time on editing might be a luxury I don't have if I want to get any blogging done at all. And I do want to do some blogging. In fact, I want to "be the blog you want to see in the world". (Is that how the saying goes?) In some of my future posts, I hope to focus specifically on my dreams for and experiments in attaining my vegetarian homestead vision, and maybe someday someone with similar goals will not find the World Wide Web quite as barren a terrain as I did. (I'm currently imaginging the mice from "An American Tail" singing "Somewhere Out There".)
Mountaintop magic! :)

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