Hi Friends! I hope you are all having a joy-filled weekend full of love, good company, and delicious food. Today I wanted to give a quick overview on a few different options for having a meat-free homestead. I’m going to give a quick rundown on the vegan lifestyle, vegetarian diet, and plant based diet, and how these different ways of living can work well with a homesteading lifestyle.
Infographic breakdown of three types of “Meat-free Homesteads”: Vegan, Vegetarian, and Plant Based. Described in detail below.
NO Animal Products.
Vegans do not consume or use any animal products whatsoever. They avoid eating, wearing, or using anything that contains animal products. This means no honey, no leather, no goats’ milk soap, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no bi-products, and so on.
There are so many vegan options these days that most vegans do not run into problems accessing food and product options to meet their needs.
Equality with Animals.
I would say another tenet of the vegan lifestyle is an overall view that animals should be respected as equals, and because of this, we should not exercise dominion over them. Many vegans will be very against any kind of animal breeding, animals for entertainment purposes (e.g., horse racing), and many times against the idea of pet ownership all-together (although many vegans are very supportive of animal rescue).
What Would a Vegan Homestead Look Like?
Life on a vegan homestead would be all about the garden! The goal would be to produce as much food as possible in the garden, and to avoid harming or involving animals in the process. Some vegans have rescued farm animals, like chickens or horses, but many do not. The biggest challenge with a vegan homestead would be preserving fruits and veggies from the garden to last through the off-season, like the winter in Upstate NY. Some regions might not face as many challenges in this area.
NO Meat, but Other Animal Products are Often Consumed.
Vegetarians avoid meat from all animals, including red meat, meat from poultry, and fish. Vegetarians differ from vegans in that they often eat dairy products, honey, and also may consume bi-products. Vegetarianism in general, is really a diet, and not a lifestyle, so many vegetarians will still purchase leather, as well as wool, down, and other products that involve the use of animal products.
What Does a Vegetarian Homestead Look Like?
On a vegetarian homestead, you might see chickens, goats, even a dairy cow. There may also be animals used for fibre, like Angora rabbits, alpacas, or sheep. Honey bees might also be seen on a vegetarian homestead. Food production would come from a mixture of harvests from the garden as well as eggs and dairy.
Plant Based Diet
Finally, the plant based homestead, which represents the Sunshine Farm, and how we choose to live here.
Minimal Animal Products, IF any. All About WHOLE Foods.
A Plant based diet MAY consist of some animal products, but it also might be entirely vegan. The difference between a plant based diet and the other two is that there is a focus on eating whole foods and avoiding processed foods, like sugar and refined flour. Someone with a plant based diet would also avoid processed meat substitutes, like “meat-free sausage patties” or something of that nature. At it’s core it is about focusing on fewer ingredients, and each ingredient being whole and natural. It is SO good for your health and research demonstrates a strong link between this type of diet and decreases in diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
What Does Life on a Plant Based Homestead Look Like?
This is hard to say, because the concept of plant based, is that it is BASED on plants, but many people with a plant based diet may on occasion consume animal products, or may consume one animal product in particular. In addition, it is not a lifestyle, but more of a diet, so there may be farm animals on the homestead, but they would generally not be used for meat or dairy. For example, we have goats that we adopted from the humane society, but we do not use them for milk.
We also have chickens on our homestead and will also likely add ducks and bees at some point. We use the eggs from our chickens, but when the chickens stop laying, they will continue to be valued animals on the farm, and live out their retirement days happy and healthy.
A plant based homestead, similar to a vegan homestead, involves focusing growing food in the garden and finding ways to preserve it and feed your family with it. We are excited to continue doing this year after year, and see how much we can grow on our small farm. We have a goal of growing 80% of our own food by 2020!
Which One is for YOU?
Well, that is up to you! If you’re looking to avoid raising meat animals, any one of these options might work well for you. At the end of the day it comes down to a few different values: 1) animal rights; 2) health; 3) resources and space; 4) most importantly, your convictions!
What do you believe? Spend some time thinking about it, researching it, and learning from others. Find out what you really believe in and pursue THAT! Try not to focus on what others are telling you and the pressures from society or culture, be true to yourself, and that is where you will find the most peace and happiness on your homestead.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Which type of meat-free homestead is most interesting to you? Comment below and let us know, I would love to hear your thoughts.
That’s all for now friends,
All my best,