simple homesteading on a budget
Welcome, friend! Jim and Joelle here.
We live on a 5-acre homestead in northern IL with our 4 kids, gardens, orchard, 2 dogs, milk cow, and smattering of chickens. But, we’re convinced homesteading is a mindset and lifestyle more than a land base. So, wherever you’re at in your homesteading journey, from the urban balcony to the country farmhouse, we’re glad you’re here!
Our goal is to feed our family, as much as possible, all year through what we are able to produce on the farm. But it hasn’t always been this way. We were both born and raised in the suburbs and never thought about where our food came from. It wasn’t until a few years into our marriage, in 2012, that things shifted.
We knew we wanted to have kids but some health challenges held us back. Joelle struggled with a long history of disordered eating and over exercise that led to hypothalamic amenorrhea—you can read all about her recovery from that here. A big part of our journey to getting pregnant naturally involved overhauling our diet. We removed processed foods, began cooking from scratch using real food ingredients—meats, eggs, unprocessed dairy, fruits and vegetables. We began sourcing our foods locally, visiting farms and farmers and getting to know where our food came from.
Then we attempted to grow it ourselves. Within a few years, our 1/3 acre suburban home had chickens, bees, fruit trees, and a garden covering the entire front yard. The more we learned and did the more we wanted to expand, eventually leading us to our dream of owning our own homestead. So here we are, milking a cow each morning, rotationally grazing our cows on pasture, and growing thousands of pounds of food to feed our family.
Preparing traditional, nourishing, and from scratch food is a huge passion of ours. The kitchen is the center of our home and we spend a lot of time there! We’ve experienced first-hand the healing power of a nutrient dense diet unlike the processed foods we had grown accustomed to. In our kitchen you are guaranteed to find jars fermenting on the counter, cheese aging, shelves lined with homegrown canned fruits and veggies, and fresh produce stored for use all year.
Joelle is a certified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (fntp) with a BS in Food Science and Human Nutrition and a concentration in dietetics. In addition to raising and homeschooling our 4 kids, she has spent the last decade learning the art of growing, harvesting, preserving, storing, and preparing foods that are simple, nutrient dense, delicious, and cost effective.
Jim has a BS in Construction Management but has realized his true calling in the field working with his hands. After managing construction projects for several years, he has since worked on a 160 acre diversified farm, received a Permaculture Design Certificate, worked in farmland access as a FarmLink Navigator, managed the local farmer’s market, and now operates the creative and design end of From Scratch Farmstead. Hands on carpentry and handyman experience have suited Jim well to tackle the never ending list of remodel and DIY projects around the home and farm.
Jim is a dreamer, big idea guy, and visionary. Joelle is practical, loves details, and schedules.
Jim is the resident cheese and bread maker. Joelle milks Thimble (our milk cow) each morning.
Before farming and kids Jim was a competitive cyclist. Joelle ran marathons.
Jim loves working with his hands, the Counting Crows, and Chinese food. Joelle loves going on walks, overalls, and peanut butter and ice cream (preferably together).
Welcome to the From Scratch Community!
From Scratch Farmstead was born out of our passion to see people and creation healed—through simple living, nourishing foods, and living naturally. We also longed to start a home based business that allowed our family work, live, and learn alongside each other. It felt risky and like a big undertaking, but we launched this website in 2021. Not only did it perfectly blend and help us achieve those two goals above, but it introduced us to people like YOU and the amazing, scrappy, and resourceful From Scratch Community. So, when we say, ‘THANK YOU!’ for being here, we really mean it!