In May, 2016, Justin Rhodes, Dad to 4 youngsters and a North Carolina homesteader and vlogger, created a 100 day challenge to grow all the food his family would eat.
“I wanted to do this for myself, but also to inspire and encourage other people, and show them that [living off the land is] easier than you think,” says Rhodes in a phone interview with Modern Farmer. “It’s just about getting up and doing this. Look what you can do in just 100 days. It doesn’t have to be this unattainable thing.”
The family has been homesteading on eight acres in Fletcher, North Carolina. He decided to spend only 10 hours a week producing the food because he wanted to prove that it’s doable to live off the land while also working a full-time job as well. (Rhodes also writes and produces videos for a living.) He clarified that he spent a little more time in the beginning preparing, and then less when seeds were in the ground and the chickens had grown.
They did this challenge on less than a half an acre. They planted tomatoes, potatoes, corn, squashes, and greens to name a few. They had ordered 75 broiler chicks. About 50 days into the challenge, the chicks were ready to process and some of the veggies were ready to enjoy. By August 13, Rhodes estimated that 75% of the food they ate was what Justin grew or raised.
Even though the kids didn’t like everything “on the menu”, they were more inclined to enjoy eating the veggies when they had helped to grow and harvest them.
There were some challenges, of course, but Justin has the same philosophy that I do. “Do what you can”.
When we were young raising our family, we didn’t have a lot of money, but we were really resourceful and I am so grateful for the experience. I was just learning the “back to the land” skills and I incorporated what I could in my urban setting as I went along. I always had plenty of seasonal produce canned for winter. The skills have served me well and I continue to learn more everyday. I really enjoy being an urban micro farmer.
Though I never had a half acre “farm”, I lived the “from scratch” life in the city on a very small scale.
Justin’s 100 days investment in the garden really set them up for good eating for months after the challenge.
Are you ready to make an investment? Create your own challenge and post it below.
More about the 100 Day Challenge http://modernfarmer.com/2016/09/justin-rhodes-100-day-challenge/
For videos from the entire 100-day challenge, check out Rhodes’ YouTube channel.