It is almost impossible to equate the products from our homestead to the purchased "equivalent", especially when it comes to food. Likewise, it is nearly impossible to compare the quality of life and health we experience at home, on our homestead, to the "quality of life" as measured by income and assets. But still, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to calculate the market equivalent of what we produced at home, for our own use. I did not include anything that we produced for income or barter.
The categories are similar to the harvest notes on the right-hand sidebar of this blog. I did my best not to double up, for instance, I priced out the green beans as fresh, and did not count them again in the pantry as canned beans. But for things like wild pin-cherry fruit leather, I priced out the fruit leather, not the fresh fruit. I used organic market prices for 2008, wherever I could find price lists on the net.
I'm pretty impressed with the total, especially with the knowledge that it will be a higher number next year, if all goes well in the garden and fields. Of course, producing this much at home, keeps us close to home, and with such a variety of crops, each requiring time out of the season, it limits our ability to grow "cash crops." But at the same time it decreases the amount of cash we need to earn. For those who are curious, we keep our basic cost of living at around $2000 a year, including utilities, food, transportation, household purchases, and farm purchases: we live simply, but not without comfort. This does not include investments in equipment or one time purchases like the solar panel, etc. This is a sum we are quite capable of producing out of the garden and selling locally, without restricting our ability to produce high-quality products for ourselves. It also makes us pretty invulnerable to changes in the economic and employment climate.
Vegetables Harvested 2008 (Including fresh fruit)
Staples 2008 (Dairy, eggs, meat and grains for the kitchen)
In the Pantry 2008 (Including dried or preserved fruit, soap, vinegar etc. But preserved veg and pickles are not counted twice, they are priced as fresh vegetables)
Saved Seed 2008 (Including grains and potatoes)
Herbs and Teas 2008 (dried only, fresh herbs included in vegetables)
Animal Feed 2008 (Grains, hay, mangles)
Wood (firewood and chainsawn lumber)