As homesteaders and farmers, local and federal regulations around food production and property rights impact us more than we might like to admit. Nick Freitas joins us today to break down what it looks like for average citizens to get involved in the legislative process and make a difference in their communities. Homesteaders, it is more important than ever to stay informed and make our voices heard!
In this episode, we cover:
- How to find out what is happening legislatively in the food freedom realm
- Easy ways that anyone can get involved in local policy
- Examining some specific food guidelines in the state of Virginia
- The importance of building a relationship with your delegates and senators
- Ways you can start advocating for change even if you don’t like politics
- The biggest impact you can make for the homesteading community may not be what you think
E27: What You Need to Know about Homestead Legislation & Advocacy | Nick Freitas – Homesteaders of America
Thank you to our sponsor!
McMurray Hatchery offers a wide selection of poultry breeds and supplies to assist you with raising your flock. Find what you need at McMurrayHatchery.com!
Nick Freitas currently serves as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates where he has been an advocate for food freedom and property rights. Prior to serving in the General Assembly, Nick served 11 years in the military to include two tours in Iraq with 1st Special Forces Group. Nick, his wife, and three children live in Culpeper County, Virginia along with their two dogs, three cats, three goats, one peacock, four pea hens, and more chickens every day.
Virginia’s Legislative Information Services
Rogue Food Conference
Institute for Justice
Nick Freitas | Website | Instagram | YouTube | TikTok | Facebook
Homesteaders of America | Website | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Pinterest
Homestead Legislation & Advocacy Transcript
Amy Fewell Welcome to the Homesteaders of America Podcast, where we encourage simple living, hard work, natural healthcare, real food, and building an agrarian society. If you’re pioneering your way through modern noise and conveniences, and you’re an advocate for living a more sustainable and quiet life, this podcast is for you. Welcome to this week’s podcast. I’m your host, Amy Fewell, and I’m the founder of the Homesteaders of America organization and annual events. If you’re not familiar with us, we are a resource for homesteading education and online support. And we even host a couple of in-person events each year with our biggest annual event happening right outside the nation’s capital here in Virginia every October. Check us out online at HomesteadersofAmerica.com. Follow us on all of our social media platforms and subscribe to our newsletter so that you can be the first to know about all things HOA (that’s short for Homesteaders of America). Don’t forget that we have an online membership that gives you access to thousands—yes, literally thousands—of hours worth of information and videos. It also gets you discount codes, an HOA decal sticker when you sign up, and access to event tickets before anyone else. All right. Let’s dive into this week’s episode.
Amy Fewell Welcome to this week’s episode of the Homesteaders of America podcast. This week, we are super excited to have Delegate Freitas with us. Welcome to the podcast, Nick.
Nick Freitas Thanks for having me on.
Amy Fewell Yeah. So we are just coming off of Homesteaders of America where Nick was one of our speakers. So if you guys came to HOA this year, Nick had one of the most popular talks at the conference. The room was packed. He had lots of questions and answer time. And I just keep hearing all about how well Nick did with everyone’s questions and they learned so much. So thank you, Nick, for all that you did for us at conference this past week. We really enjoyed having you.
Nick Freitas Oh, no, thank you, guys. It was a blast. I was talking to friends about it afterwards. They were asking me how it was, and so many of them are like, “I tried to get tickets, but they were sold out so quick.” I was like, “Yeah, you got to jump on those.” It is a rejuvenating experience. It really is. Not just a very fun and informative conference, but man, it just helps restore your faith in humanity. There’s a lot of great people. So I had a blast, and once again, thank you for inviting us.
Amy Fewell Yeah, well, I’d love to have you back next year, so we’ll talk about that later. All right, Nick, tell us a little bit about yourself so people know who you are. I’m sure most of our audience does, but assume that no one knows who you are. So tell us a little bit about yourself and we’ll get into some questions.
Nick Freitas Okay. Well, I got married to my high school sweetheart shortly after graduating, went into the army. I was in for 11 years active duty, was with the 82nd 25th Infantry as an infantry guy. And then after 9/11, did a couple tours over in Iraq with First Special Forces group. My wife and I have three children. We had all of them while we were in the military. Got out in 2009, and we actually moved to Virginia. And I had always wanted to live in Virginia. I had first visited Virginia when I was about 13, 14 years old, touring battlefields and historical sites and just fell in love with it. And we ended up getting our ten acres out here in Culpeper. And that’s where we started getting into gardening and having chickens and then doing pigs occasionally and goats and a number of other things that half the time we convince ourselves are going to be for fiber or for milk or for meat and then end up becoming pets. We’ve really enjoyed the experience. And then for the last eight years, I have served in the Virginia House of Delegates representing Culpeper, Orange, and Madison. And this year, if I go back next year, it will actually be Culpeper, Orange, Madison, and Green County. And one of the things I’ve just been very fascinated about and happy to work with organizations like Homesteaders of America, VICFA and others is the whole concept of food freedom, of property rights, of right to farm legislation. And so that’s what I was actually speaking about at the Homesteaders of America conference was helping people to understand how to effectively advocate for the sort of policies that are, quite frankly, just going to make it easier for people to do what they want with their own property, to be able to raise more of their own food, and to be able to sell and share that food with others who are desperate to find something outside of the normal supply chains.
Amy Fewell Yeah, absolutely. So with that said, one of the questions we got after conference, which I didn’t get to sit in to your whole talk, so I don’t know if you addressed this, but one of the things we kept getting asked was what are some things coming up in 2024 that people need to know about in regard to food freedom, especially in Virginia? But even federally, if you know of those want to share, too. And how can people kind of find more information on that?
Nick Freitas Sure. One of the primary people to watch on the federal level is Thomas Massie, not simply because… I mean, Thomas Massie and I are both in a position where we support these things because we just believe in individual liberty and limited government. But Thomas Massie actually has a lot of personal experience doing a lot of work within the homesteader community. He’s carrying the Prime Act at the federal level. He’s getting some pushback from the industry, as you might expect. But he’s someone that I think really supports this community, not simply because he could be considered a member of it, but on like a philosophical level, he thinks it’s really important to be able to… For people to be empowered to get their food where they want, to be able to raise their food. And so Thomas Massie is one to watch. Prime Act is really important at the federal level. At the state level, I’m getting legislative drafted right now. So in most state legislatures, you have what’s called a citizen legislature, which means you don’t have a full time state house. In fact, I think the only three states that have full time state houses are Michigan, Pennsylvania, and California. Everyone else, your legislators will meet up for a certain period of time. Like in Texas, they only meet up once every two years. In Virginia, we meet up for 60 days on even years, and then 45 days on odd years. And that’s kind of our typical schedule. And so what you’ll see is a lot of the legislation is already being drafted right now for 2024. And so I’m looking for people, and this is where I lean on organizations like VICFA, like Homesteaders of America, where I lean on subject matter experts like Joel Salatin to say like, okay, what should we be shooting for this next legislative session? So there’s no bills that I can point to just yet that I know are going to go forward. I know we’re going to be working on a couple of different things. A lot of it is just general expansion of food freedom. And so if people kind of want to know what the current laws in Virginia are, they could go to… It’s called Section 3.2 in the Virginia code section. There’s a lot of organizations out there like, for instance, you know, again, VICFA, VDACS, which is the Virginia Department of Agriculture, they have some kind of cheat sheets on on what you can do, what you can’t do. And when we look at the things that you can do, my job is how do we expand that list, right? How do we add more things that people are able to grow? So I will probably have all of my legislation finished, hopefully by late November, early December, and that’s where I will start posting things online. So if you go to Legislative Information Services, you can check what the Virginia Code currently says, but then you can also find out the various legislators that you might want to track. You could do specific searches for bills that are going to go into the 2024 session, and that’s where you want to look. Legislative Information Services. You can just Google that. It usually pops right up. And then just go in there and look at the Virginia General Assembly web page and you can start to look for bills. Again, you can do those keyword searches so you’re looking for the things that you want to find. But you should start to see legislation in December, and you will definitely see it after the second week in January.
Amy Fewell Yeah. Going back to Congressman Massie… so I’m going to do a shameless plug for Rogue Food right now. For you guys that like to go conference hopping, the Rogue Food conference is amazing. John Moody and Joel Salatin put that on. Congressman Massie is normally there. Great to listen to. They really dive into farming as a business, farm raids, various different ways to get around things, basically going rogue in your food, which of course, you may not want to talk about a lot, but it’s a really great inspiring event that you guys can go to. So check that out. I know they have some new places, like venues, that they’re doing in 2024. But on that note, Nick, you were telling me when I was there doing your podcast, you said some of the worst things that people can do when they’re trying to advocate for a bill. And that really kind of stuck with me because, as homesteaders, we are like gung ho. We have the sword in our hand and we are ready to go fight. Right? So why don’t you talk a little bit about the best way to start seeing changes in our government and how we can help you out?
Nick Freitas I mean, obviously you want to make sure that you’re voting for people that understand this issue and are going to vote with you. Because here’s what happens: when you get down to the Virginia General Assembly, in 60 days there’s going to be 2,000 bills. And you are going to focus almost exclusively on the bills that you’re either carrying or that are showing up before your committees and specifically your subcommittees. The biggest cheat code I could give to people out there when they’re looking at this is stop sending emails to 100 delegates and 40 senators and the governor and his cousin and whatever. Don’t do that. Take a look at the bill. Right? Whatever bill it is. If it’s going to be in this category, it is almost certainly going to the Agricultural Committee. Once it goes to the Agricultural Committee, it’s almost certainly going to be assigned toward a particular subcommittee within that committee. And again, you can find all of that on Legislative Information Services. You can track the bill itself, you can figure out where it’s going. And then your whole mission is how do you interact with the people on that subcommittee? Right? Because if you don’t get it out of subcommittee, it doesn’t matter. Most of the delegates are not going to see it. Right? Your bill will probably live or die based off of a review, a hearing from like nine delegates, maybe 12 or 13 or something like that. It’s going to be a relatively small subcommittee that’s going to take a look at this. And so you want to work with the people, especially work with the legislators who are carrying that legislation. And you don’t want to surprise them, right? As soon as you know that a legislator is carrying a bill that you care about either because you like it or because you don’t like it… If you like it, you are calling up that delegate, you’re calling up that state senator and you’re saying, “Hey, how can we help?” Or maybe you have some changes, maybe have some things in there, like, hey, you know, “Hey, Nick, I really like this bill. However, could you tweak this a little bit? Because if you don’t, there’s going to be a problem over it.” Yeah, great. No problem. Let’s amend it, right? We can do all of that if you get to me early on. Right? If all of a sudden I’m showing up to the subcommittee, and this is my one shot, this is my one shot to get this bill out of subcommittee and to the full committee. If you show up at that advocating for my bill, you’re going to have 60 seconds to speak tops. 60 seconds. And if you spend the majority of that time talking about, “Well, I really like this bill, but there’s this one part here that I think needs to be changed.” And you’re thinking in your mind, no, no, I’m just helping. I want the bill to pass. I just think we need to adjust this part. You got to remember, right after you, there’s going to be ten lobbyists getting up for almost every single major agricultural interest that is going to probably say, “This is dangerous. We don’t like this. This could have negative impacts for the industry. It could have negative impacts for agriculture. It could have negative impacts for whatever.” You name it, there will be some negative impacts. If it’s raw milk, the pediatric physicians lobby are going to get up there and say that this is dangerous for kids. Right? So you got 60 seconds to make the argument on why this bill is not only something you like, but why it’s actually good for the Commonwealth. And you’ve got to convince a majority of those delegates sitting there at that subcommittee, you’ve got to convince them to listen to you as opposed to all of the major industry groups. And the thing to keep in mind is almost nobody… I think there’s one person on the subcommittee that actually has extensive experience in agriculture. Nobody else does. Nobody else does. And so their natural inclination is going to be, “Well, of course, I’m going to listen to what these associations say. And you may be really nice and I may like you, but why am I…?” So if you get a hold of me soon, like early on in the session, call me in December. Sessions starts second week in January. And you say, “Nick, I want to help with this,” the first question I’m going to ask is, “How many people you got? Like how many people do you have that could potentially show up to testify? How many people do you have that can testify online?” Because we have a remote testimony feature now. “How many people do you have that would be willing to make phone calls?” And then what I’m going to tell them is, look, this is not about fighting with everybody who disagrees with you. This is about creating both through science, through facts and evidence, but also through your story, a compelling narrative that is going to convince someone to be like, you know what? This may not be my thing, but these guys seem really reasonable and okay, yeah, the industry doesn’t like this, but maybe the industry doesn’t like it because they just don’t want the competition. Maybe this really isn’t as dangerous that they’re saying because after all, I just heard this mom representing this group telling me about how this was the only thing that really helped her kid’s food allergies. And why should she be a criminal to want to go buy this? Or why should she be a criminal or want to go through this process? I mean, she’s perfectly aware of what she’s doing and who she’s getting it from. And, oh, you know, we don’t need the same tracking thing that they’re talking about because it’s not like this food is going to get sold interstate. Right? It’s going to be all right here. So these are the sort of ways that I don’t need the homesteading community to become experts in legislation. I don’t need them to become experts on how the General Assembly works. I just need them to listen to me when I tell them that’s how it works. Right? So when I show up to a homesteaders conference, I’ve got some experience, right? We got chickens, we got goats, we got bees, I got some experience. But when I’m asking questions about how to raise beef, I’m not going up there saying, well, this is the way. No, I want you to tell me. I want to learn from that. And then I want… It’s the same thing. We all have… Within the homesteader community, just like within the economy, different people have different talents, they have different experiences, they have different specializations. And what makes it all work is when different people with different specializations are able to focus in on something, teach other people how to do it, and then also engage in exchange. And that’s what this is. If you really want to help advocate for this sort of thing, you don’t need to be an expert. Again, I’m pretty good at how this works, and I am more than willing to take the responsibility on for being the expert in that realm. What I need from you is your experiences, and I can help you verbalize that in a way that’s going to be the most effective.
Amy Fewell Yeah, that’s good. Yeah.
Amy Fewell Hey, guys. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode. We’re going to take a quick break and bring you a word from one of our amazing sponsors. McMurray Hatchery officially started in 1917. Murray McMurray had always been interested in poultry as a young man and particularly enjoyed showing birds at the local and state fairs. Nowadays, the hatchery is still completely through mail order, but they offer way more than ever before. From meat chicks and layer hens to waterfowl, ducklings, goslings, turkeys, game birds, juvenile birds, they even have hatching eggs and a whole lot of chicken equipment. Make sure you check out our Homesteader of America sponsor McMurray Hatchery at McMurrayHatchery.com and get your orders in today. And don’t forget to stop by their booth at the 2023 HOA event.
Amy Fewell Okay. So I think a lot of people were really interested in that and they were inspired after conference. And so the next thing is, specifically for Virginia, what are some of the… You know, a lot of these homesteaders are just getting into it, right? They don’t even know what the laws are. They’re just kind of hopping into homesteading and then suddenly they’re growing meat birds and they’re like, “Wait, I can’t just sell a meat bird to my neighbor without some special exemption?” So what are some of the most strictest guidelines that you’ve seen in Virginia in regard to food freedom?
Nick Freitas So if you go… There’s an organization called Institute for Justice, and they actually have, I think, a very, very good kind of breakdown on selling homemade food in Virginia. And so if you go to that… I got the website up right here, I’ll just talk a little bit. And they have their grades— grades for homemade food laws in Virginia. And then they have home kitchen exemptions and then home food processing operations. So their final grade for Virginia overall is about a C. But to give you an idea on the food categories, so Virginia cottage food types, food categories: what shelf stable foods can I sell in Virginia? There’s really no restrictions. It’s pretty open for the shelf stable foods. Can I sell refrigerated baked goods in Virginia? No on the home kitchen exceptions, but yes on the home food processing operations. Can I sell meat in Virginia? No on the home kitchen exemptions? No on the home food processing operations. Can I sell acidified and pickled foods in Virginia? Yes, on both. Problem is there’s usually a sales cap on how much you can sell it at a given time. Can I sell low acid canned goods in Virginia? No. Can I sell fermented foods in Virginia? No. For each category. So like, overall, it’s not very good.
Amy Fewell No.
Nick Freitas There’s a number of other restrictions with respect to sales and venue restrictions. So for instance, there’s a sales cap where I said before, like, $3,000 for acidified or pickled foods, right? Where can I sell homemade food direct to consumers in Virginia? It’ll say only in farmer’s markets and at home. You can also say that as like the ranch or the farm or whatever that you have. Can I sell homemade food to retail outlets like restaurants and grocery stores? Home kitchen exemptions? No. Home food processing operations? Yes. Can I do online orders? Banned for home kitchen exemptions, but it’s allowed for home food processing operations. And then you have similar with mail delivery, where it’s banned for one and then allowed for the other. And then we kind of go throughout all of these. But I would just really encourage people go to InstituteforJustice.org. They’ve got a great site. And then there’s another one here I want to look up and that’s VICFA, that’s the Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association. If you go on there, there’s some of the most… Like they do a lot of lobbying down in Richmond for food freedom. They’re a good organizations to reach out to. They can also give you some… They can probably also point you in the right direction. They’re looking more on the legal side as well. We had kind of a… I think it’s kind of an infamous example of I believe it was an Amish gentleman that was selling food and got hit with a very heavy fine, had a lot of his food confiscated and destroyed. And so they can also kind of point in the right direction from a legal perspective as well if you’ve had an encounter with VDACS or you’re trying to work your way through this process. Joel Salatin has a really heartbreaking story of how that happened to him, I think, a couple of decades ago and the process they had to go through to fight with that. That’s another area, too, where if you find yourself doing something and all of a sudden you’re getting inspected, you’re getting regulated, or they’re showing up, call your local delegate, call your local state senator. And one of the things I emphasize to people, because I will hear this a lot, like why is government so bad at customer service? And the thing that I usually tell people is, oh, they’re not. They’re really good at customer service. The problem is you’re not the customer. The customer is the people that writes their budget amendments, votes on their budget, and that’s not you. That’s me. So when I pick up the phone and I call a state agency, they pick up right away, they respond right away. They’re very responsive. But when you do it, it may be hit or miss depending on the employee that day because ultimately they know you don’t have a choice. And so, again, obviously, follow the law. Right? And we want to change a lot of these laws. Follow the law. But if you find yourself in a situation where you feel like you’re being intimidated or you feel like you’re being pushed around, do not hesitate to call your delegate or your state senator and get us involved in that conversation.
Amy Fewell Yeah, that’s really good. And a lot of people don’t know that. They’re scared to take that step. A lot of people are held back from doing more on their farm because of the “what if”. Well, what if I’m not doing something right or what if I am and it doesn’t matter and they still come and raid me because they don’t like what I’m doing? And so that’s another important reason for people to get out there and vote. There’s this mindset in the homesteading community of, you know, it doesn’t matter who I vote for, it’s not going to change. Well, at least you can say you tried because one day you might have to call on that delegate, one day you might have to call on that senator, and you want to make sure that they’re in your corner. And so it’s extremely important to be involved in politics. You know, when we first started HOA, people were always… they don’t like it when you talk about politics. And this is the first year that we’ve had any political person ever come and talk at the conference. And I knew it was necessary because of what we’re heading into. The food laws are just getting more and more crazy. And we have to see as homesteaders that politics and homesteading always go hand in hand. It doesn’t mean you’re going to like the politics, but it does mean you have to be involved in it because your livelihood of homesteading and farming depend on it. Like if you weren’t homesteading and farming, you didn’t care about gun laws, you didn’t care about any of that rural living type thing that people consider just rural America, then I could see maybe you wouldn’t care. But this is freedom. You know, this literally is food freedom. Why can’t you be in control of what you want? I think Nick and I talked about this when I was at his place. You can give raw milk to your neighbor, but once they give you a dollar for it, then it’s illegal. Then you can’t give raw milk to your neighbor because you’ve charged something for it. And so that alone should tell us this whole thing is completely messed up. It makes no sense whatsoever. Going into herdshares… a lot of people ask about herdshares. Virginia obviously has a herdshare law where that’s kind of your loophole where if you own a part of someone’s herd, then you get a share of it. You get a percentage of milk from that. But there are, I think recently even, unless this is the man you’re talking about, who he got raided for raw dairy here in Virginia. Have you heard anything more about that? It’s kind of like the Amos Miller case up in Pennsylvania.
Nick Freitas I’ll have to look into that. I haven’t heard it. The one I heard about, I think it was more meat sales. I don’t think it was raw dairy, but I’ll definitely check into.
Amy Fewell Yeah.
Nick Freitas And this goes back to when people come and testify. We had somebody once testify. I was carrying a raw milk bill, and it was going through a very long amendment process and things were getting confusing. And he got up there and testified. And the way he testified, it could have been interpreted that he was admitting to doing something illegal. And you don’t want to do that.
Amy Fewell Yeah.
Nick Freitas Now, nothing happened to him at that point that I know of. But again, it’s important to understand… I didn’t fully appreciate how adamant many players within the agricultural community are with respect to these very, very onerous regulatory processes and everything else. And there’s something of a vested interest. Now, the argument that’s always given is this is public safety, right? Public safety is always used as a justification to regulate, tax, restrict everything. Public safety. Well, there’s another motivation, and that’s called regulatory capture. And what that is is when an industry or when powerful companies within an industry use regulations in order to prevent people from being able to compete with them. It’s called a barrier to entry. And so it’s a very, very anti-competitive mechanism to be able to push out your competition. And so, you know, we’re sitting there going through that process of trying to fight against that and really. You know, inform and educate legislators that, look, just because somebody says this is for safety, doesn’t mean they don’t have ulterior motives. And the other thing, too, I would tell people about getting involved in politics… I totally understand why people don’t want to be involved in politics. Believe me, I do. And one of the things I love so much about the homesteaders conference is how little discussion of politics there actually was. I mean, I really appreciated that. Like I said, it’s rejuvenating. But we should probably distinguish because politics is frustrating and partisanship is sometimes even more frustrating. And so the things that I always tell people is like, look, if you don’t want to get in politics because you don’t like the partisanship or you don’t like “how the sausage is made”, again, I get it. You don’t have to be involved in any of that. But if you can work through organizations like Homesteaders of America, like VICFA, like local ones, like Frederick County Homesteaders. There’s all these different organizations that are promoting this and tracking this so that you’re like, well, I don’t want to have to go to a bunch of political rallies. Cool. You don’t got to. Well, I don’t want to have to go down and testify every other week in Richmond. Good. You don’t got to. But what you can do is if you have a limited amount of time, then join up with these organizations and give them the ability to help you be the most effective you can be with whatever time you’re willing to donate to this particular cause. The other thing I will tell people is, obviously, sometimes I end up going toe to toe with Farm Bureau on some of these things. And look, I’ve been a member of Farm Bureau. I have fought alongside Farm Bureau in Richmond where, believe me, there was a whole lot of people from northern Virginia advocating for agricultural regulatory policy that if we had not had Farm Bureau going down there and fighting the way they did, we’d all be in a lot of trouble with some of the things that they were trying to do. And something that ends up happening in these fights is we will see somebody on the other side of the table on an important fight to us and we will assume, okay, that’s part of the enemy. And what I encourage people to do is like, well, it may be for this issue, but for another one they might not be. And the other thing that I would encourage people to do is… Part of the problem, part of the reason why some of these I would say associations and larger agricultural organizations do the things they do is because the people that show up advocate for it.
Amy Fewell Right.
Nick Freitas Well, you can always show up as well and advocate for something different. We’re seeing this in other areas right now with education policy, where for the first time we’ve seen in a while we have a school board standing up and telling the Virginia School Board Association, no, we don’t want you to take this position against school choice. If you want to remain neutral, because we realize there’s other… fine, remain neutral. But no, we don’t want you to take this position. Well, that’s going to… I don’t know what impact that’s going to have overall, but my gosh, thank God somebody’s doing it. Right? If we have more people within the homesteading community showing up, joining and showing up to Farm Bureau or other associations and saying, look, no, I don’t want you to take this position. I don’t want you to oppose the Prime Act. I don’t want you to oppose more cottage food industry. I don’t want you to do that. At least make it difficult for them to oppose you. Right? Make it difficult. And so there’s a number of ways that you can be involved in this issue, which will get you within the realm of politics, that, again, doesn’t require you to be immersed in politics. And I would just encourage people that’s a very time effective way to be involved. That doesn’t drag you into all the other partisan garbage you’re probably not interested in.
Amy Fewell Right. Yeah. We saw this work really well. When Thomas Massie contacted us about the Prime Act recently—I guess it was a few weeks back now, maybe a couple months now—you guys totally moved mountains, like calling your delegates and calling your congresspeople and just making sure that they knew about what was happening and to get on board with what he was working towards. And you guys were sending us screenshots of conversations you were having with your politicians and people within your community. And Thomas was just completely blown away by how many people. All he had to do is pick up a phone or make a network connection with somebody in community. And so it was pretty incredible that even just doing those things can really help in regard to food freedom and the bills and the laws that are being worked on. And so, Nick, we just thank you for all that you’re doing, for keeping us informed, for educating us, especially at the HOA conference. And today, I’m sure people have learned a lot of things today that they didn’t really know and now people know how to get involved. And so I’m going to let you go. But before I do, I wonder if you have any inspiration or encouragement for this homesteading community.
Nick Freitas Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, first of all, I’ll join the litany of other people that are like, “We want it to be even bigger and we want to do it more times a year” and everything else with respect to the conference. But just the community in general, I want people to understand that going to the Homesteaders of America conference or the other homesteading conferences that you might go to, that’s not a one off thing where it’s like, okay, cool, I get to enjoy two days out of the year with… No, this is about finding your people. And one of the most important things that I really stressed at the conference and I talk about on our podcast all the time is that, look, you are going to have to do some things that you don’t like to do in order to fight for the things that you care about. But the most effective fighting that you ever do for the things that you care about are the things that you enjoy. And one of the ways that we’re going to demonstrate to legislators, one of the ways that we’re going to demonstrate to other people that may not be convinced of some of the things that we’re doing in this way of life is not going to be sitting around and arguing for it. Right? It’s going to be passing a bill for it. It’s going to be absolutely enjoying and loving the time that we have with our own families, with our children, with our livestock. Right? With growing… Like putting a seed in the ground and watching something grow is just incredibly therapeutic. Unless it was me with tomatoes last year. That was not. But I think in most cases, it really is. It’s this really fun experience that is practical, that provides value for yourself, for your family. We had people… When egg prices went through the roof, I mean, we felt like gangsters, right? We were giving out eggs at church like, “Here’s another carton for you.”
Amy Fewell Right. No big deal. No big deal.
Nick Freitas But it’s stuff like that where that’s fun. You get to do something that is useful. You get to help other people when they’re in need right within your community. You get to find out who’s really good at what. And maybe you try that same thing. Or maybe you just decide, you know what, I’m going to stick with the chickens or the pigs. I’m going to let you do the beef, and we’re going to trade, right? Or we’re going to exchange. But you end up finding who your people are. And the more you do that and the more you build that intentional community locally, regionally. And then you find out that you’re actually a part of something that’s national and international. I cannot tell you how good that is going to make you feel in a world that constantly feels like it’s trying to tear itself apart. And when you’re the person that is showing that this is not only providing constancy and consistency and value, but that it is something that you get genuine enjoyment out of and it gives you a way to kind of separate yourself, you know, occasionally separate yourself from the madness that is going on in the world and to create that sort of security right there at home, I am telling you, that is almost addictive. And it is, I would say, the best argument that you can make for what you believe. And so be encouraged. Be encouraged. Every once in a while you got to do the drudgery. Every once in a while, you got to do the stuff you don’t like to do. But the best argument you’re going to make is doing all the things that you love to do with your family and everyone looking around and saying, “Man, what is different about that?”
Amy Fewell Yeah. That’s one of the things we try to stress here at HOA is homesteading isn’t just gardening, it’s not just livestock. It’s literally bringing it all back home the way it should be. Homeschooling, homesteading, home birthing, all of those things, and just being home centered. And so, Nick, thank you again for joining us this week. You guys check out the show notes in the description of this podcast or the video or online, wherever you are checking this out. We’ve got all the information in the show notes of what Nick talked about today. And if you have any questions, you can message directly or if you’re here in Virginia or beyond, I’m sure Nick would be happy to answer questions for you if you reach out to him, too. So thanks for joining us this week, Nick.
Nick Freitas Thank you very much.
Amy Fewell Hey, thanks for taking the time to listen to this week’s Homesteaders of America episode. We really enjoyed having you here. We welcome questions and you can find the transcript and all the show notes below or on our Homesteaders of America blog post that we have up for this podcast episode. Don’t forget to join us online with a membership or just to read blog posts and find out more information about our events at HomesteadersofAmerica.com. We also have a YouTube channel and follow us on all of our social media accounts to find out more about homesteading during this time in American history. All right, have a great day and happy homesteading.