Hi there! Since spring has only started in the way that makes March weather completely unpredictable (including snow, hail, rain wind & sun in the same day) - I have done some more winter reading instead of the gardening I am dying to do! I recently read two books about eating locally and living with less Year of Plenty and Plenty. They have me pondering just how ridiculously complex our system is for the process of securing food for our family and farm animals such as chickens.
Today I looked into making chicken feed from scratch to supplement our mostly free-ranging chickens diet. They are full of ingredients that I don't even know how to get and many are certainly not local. The whole idea of eating locally requires that we eat more whole foods, know where they come from and live without many modern conveniences (such as premixed, ground and bagged feed). It would also require eating seasonally which is very uncommon and not so easily done!
I ran into a similar problem with making soap. While it can be made with tallow from the local butcher and lye (you still have to order lye from somewhere else unless you want to get REALLY adventurous) and the end product is considered inferior by some and offensive to others (because it isn't vegetarian). So many handmade soaps by local artisans are made with items shipped all over the place before they meet up and are made to saponify into a lovely soap product. This is where the romantic in me idealizes that thoughts of going back to the olden days! So in many ways simplifying isn't so.... simple.
The reasons I am contemplating all of these ideas are many. I desire to spend less money, live more simply, become a better steward of the resources we have, support local farms so they don't disappear, care lovingly for the creation all around me and become more self-sufficient. Another big reason is I want to eat and feed my family real food. Most of the food in the stores and even in our own cupboard has a long list of ingredients that I don't know and don't believe to be real food. Then we attempt to eat more healthfully and have chickens that then require bags of food with ingredients I again don't recognize.... so it is a process of learning how far to go with these ideas. We actually began eating many organic, whole grain and homegrown food years ago so it has been a process we've been at for awhile. Still,there is much more to consider!
Any thoughts on this subject would be welcomed!