Well this topic is very diverse among homesteaders. My view is you have to decide for yourself how in depth you want to go with this. Unless you are completely self sufficient, this topic will always matter. It really depends on what you have available and what you want for your family. I am not saying any of this is right or wrong. I will just tell you were I’m at in my family and where I started.
In my family we used to eat everything prepackaged at the store. I prepped nothing but vegetables in the garden and we froze them. I used pesticides all the time to ensure my garden produced awesome results. Somewhere along the line I just wasn’t ok with buying all that packaged stuff from the store so I started buying more regular foods and just spending the time to prep and cook from scratch. Instead of buying tater tots I bought potatoes and cut them into potato wedges. I started looking at labels and trying to cut out things I didn’t understand. Then one day I decided no more high fructose corn syrup. Boy did that take out a lot of foods. I started buying more natural company foods like Kashi for my kids instead of Lucky Charms. This process took at least a year. I no longer fried with oil, I baked. I switched oils from corn to olive. All this was gradual because my family ( namely my hubby) wasn’t used to the different foods and tastes. He wanted the bad stuff. Lot of changes occurred and are still occurring for my family.
Here is where we are now. I only buy certain things at the store that are “packaged.” I still buy potato chips, popcorn, buns, plain yogurt, butter, cheese slices, chocolate chips, peanut butter, tea, frozen fruits, salad dressing, ketchup, mustard, and sliced meat. I might be forgetting one or two items but there isn’t much more than that. This year was the Organic fruit and vegetable switch. I try only to pick one or two things a year to change over. We no longer eat out of country in this area except kiwi, pineapple, and bananas. Organic when possible on fruits and veggies as well. I no longer use pesticides on a majority of my garden. Tomatoes and corn usually get powdered and only when absolutely necessary. We no longer eat cereal. My children eat fruit and yogurt usually for breakfast or homemade waffles. ( We recently switched to pure maple syrup as well) I no longer buy meat at the grocery store and if I have to its 95% higher beef to cut down on the whole pink slime thing. We raise our own chickens and lambs and we hunt squirrel, rabbit, and deer. We no longer buy dairy products at the store. I buy “for animal use only” milk from a farmer to drink and make my own butter and yogurt. I am working on cheese but haven’t perfected it yet. The milk is not organic or grassfed but it is a minimal antibiotic (the owner tells us when they are used), no hormone, fed grass as much as possible kinda milk. I had to pick my battle. I could pay $6 for organic grassfed or I could pay $1.25 for the other. At the moment I choose the other. We no longer eat anything with red dye #40. My son has ADHD and by cutting out just that we have reduced symptoms by half.
We still eat GMO products. I would like to totally get away from this but at this time I haven’t found a budget friendly place to buy flour that is not GMO based. Soybean, corn, and wheat products are just things I have to deal with GMO’s in right now. I still continue the search but it’s harder to find. There are many out there that wouldn’t touch GMO products with a ten foot pole and others who say who cares! Everything is a matter of personal choice.
In the end decide what direction you want to go with your family and change a little at a time. Homesteaders may offer their opinions to you on what you should do but again, what do you have available, what is in your budget, what is your plan for your family, how much do you care about these sort of things?? Life is a matter of choices and what is right and easy for one person, isn’t always the same for the next. Don’t let anyone ruin your homesteading dream because you choose to spray your garden or feed your very own cow GMO feed. Listen to your gut and go from there. Happy Homesteading!! 😀