One family decided to live more sustainably by starting Pick of the Litter Farm, a backyard homestead in Fallbrook, California. The farm sits on less than an acre of land but provides everything they need, including fruits, veggies, and eggs. The Fieri family loves knowing exactly where their food comes from, and they’re all healthier for it.
“We started our backyard homestead a few years ago after our daughter started experiencing some severe food allergies,” mom Karen said. “We started growing our own food and noticed a tremendous change in her health. So, we started with just having a garden and started with a couple chickens. She was able to eat the eggs because we were providing the chickens’ food that she wasn’t allergic to.”
How the family started their backyard homestead
They started researching and learning more about growing their foods to help ease her symptoms. They fed the chickens non-GMO, corn, and soy-free feed; in the wild, chickens would naturally eat this diet anyway. Alexis no longer got sick after eating eggs and could enjoy them again.
Although any food can trigger a reaction, nine foods cause the majority of food allergies. Soybeans and eggs are two of the most common food allergies; milk causes the most allergies in children, followed by eggs. Interestingly, Alexis could eat eggs from the backyard homestead, which means she’s probably only allergic to soy. Either way, her problems disappeared after eliminating store-bought foods.
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Karen said this:
“After realizing how much better she was doing, we grew our little homestead and started raising dairy goats, which are my favorite to raise here. And then we grew to rabbits, quail, chickens, bees. And then we’ve got our garden where we’ve got plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that we can gather each day.”
The whole family benefits from the backyard homestead
Next, the family expanded their farm by raising turkeys, also feeding them the same diet. Not only did Alexis’ allergies improve, the kids learned so much about raising and growing food in the process. Now, they know how to produce their food from start to finish, a skill every kid should learn. In the Fieri family, the children (Alexis and Wyatt) also help take care of the animals at the backyard homestead.
“Our day is pretty simple; we start off where I milk the goats every morning. And then clean up after them – clean their pens, everybody gets fresh food, freshwater, and lots of love!” Karen says. “The best part about raising the animals here has been the experience of breeding and the goats having babies. Getting to experience that with my children has definitely been the highlight of our whole farming adventures.”
Alexis and Wyatt love farming so much that they decided to join the local 4H club to get involved in their community. They have taken on projects like raising rabbits as pets and meat, caring for dairy goats, dog training, archery, and shooting.
Karen believes it’s essential for the kids to learn various skills that they can use in the future. She homeschools them, so they’re getting to know things they probably wouldn’t in a conventional classroom. In addition to math and science, they’re also getting firsthand experience with working on a farm. Perhaps someday, they’ll have their backyard homesteads to put all their knowledge to the test!
Backyard homesteads can make the planet healthier, too.
A backyard homestead not only improves your health but also helps the planet as well. Our modern farming practices have severely strained the Earth, stripping the topsoil and degrading ecosystems. It’s not natural to plant only one type of food in a large area with intensive fertilizer and pesticides. To have a healthy ecosystem requires a variety of plant and animal species benefiting from one another.
You don’t have much room to work with if you have a backyard homestead, but you can still produce a decent harvest. As the Fieri’s have proven, you can have animals, a garden, and even a tiny pond on just one acre of land. It may not provide all your needs, but it will help reduce your spending at the grocery store. If backyard homesteading became the norm, we could have more localized food economies and rely much less on commercially grown foods.
There’s just nothing like reaping the fruit of your labor. It’s much more fulfilling when you put your hands in the dirt and watch the seeds grow into plants. You tend to appreciate your food more when you’ve shed blood, sweat, and tears to produce it yourself. Picking it out at the store may save you time, but it disconnects you from the natural world.
What do they do on their little farm?
The Fieris’ backyard homestead produces fresh herbs, tomatoes, cabbage, honey, and plenty of other fruits and veggies. They don’t keep all the food to themselves, however. According to their website, they offer the following products for sale:
- fresh eggs
- goats milk for animal use
- meat rabbits
- homemade lip balm, salves, deodorant
- fresh herbs
- laying hens
- worms: mealworms, earthworms, red wigglers, worm tea
We hope this article inspires you to create your backyard homestead! Even if you don’t have an acre of land, you can still grow food in a smaller area. With the state of the world, it’s easy to get discouraged, but plenty of opportunities exist for us to heal the planet. Perhaps it all begins in our very own backyards.
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Final thoughts on how a family’s backyard homestead helps them improve sustainability
Becoming a homesteader may sound like a lot of work, but you don’t have to build a cabin in the woods to get started. If you have a backyard, that’s all you need to create your urban garden–rural property not needed. You can begin with a few fruits and veggies, then scale up to chickens or goats if you have room. Like the Fieris, you will learn as you go and rack up plenty of experience along the way.
We can all work in small ways to reduce our carbon footprint and restore harmony to the planet. A backyard homesteader helps the earth, animals, and humans alike, creating a little ecosystem right outside your door.
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