Having conversations about uncertain times ahead can often leave us feeling fearful or full of despair, but this conversation with Farmer John is one filled with hope.  He shares the truth about the history of farming, where things are now, and what we may see in the future, all while offering us encouragement about what is possible.  No matter where you are in your journey of growing your own food, let this episode inspire you to keep fighting the good fight.

In this episode, we cover:

  • What led John from his law practice into the homesteading life
  • The importance of food security and farm freedom
  • A brief history of industrialized food and the threat to farming
  • The deeper problem with synthetic meat and why we should not feel threatened
  • What you can do to embrace hope in the face of uncertain times
  • How the Bible informs our worldview around food and farming
  • The importance of using your experience to influence your community
  • A final note on the grave importance and great hope in growing your own food

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!

About John

John is an attorney, pastor, teacher, Vermont farmer, and author. John’s 2023 book titled “Small Farm Republic” advocates for a return to small scale, local food production as an antidote to the industrial agriculture that is corrupting God’ Creation. John and his wife Jackie homestead in Vermont, where they raise grass fed beef and lamb.

Resources Mentioned

Small Farm Republic by John Klar

Connect

John Klar | Website | Substack | YouTube | Facebook

Homesteaders of America | Website | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Pinterest

Embracing Hope in Uncertain Times 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 I have a special guest… Every week is a special guest. Right, guys? But we get really excited when we have different people on here. You guys learn new things. So this week I have John Klar with us. He is an attorney, a pastor, a teacher, a Vermont farmer, and an author. Some of you’ve probably even read his book. Actually almost a year ago, it published — a book titled Small Farm Republic, which advocates for a return to small-scale local food production. And we’re going to talk about that. We’re going to talk about the law side of homesteading. We’re gonna talk about a lot of stuff. You guys know, we just do candid conversations here. So John, welcome to the HOA podcast. 

Speaker 2 Thank you so much for having me, sister. 

Amy Fewell Yeah! Okay. So, John, tell everyone who you are, what you do, what your background is, because I’m sure there’s still a lot of people who don’t know who you are. And we’re going to introduce you to them. 

John Klar Well, I thank you for that. And I’m glad they know who you are. We have a lot of overlap in our missions, I think, so that’s kind of a good Segway. Actually, my story is a little bit like yours, as I recall. I think you had some health issues that led you maybe to start seeking healthier food. And for me, it was Lyme disease. And, you know, I recount this briefly in my book, but I was an attorney practicing law. I was a tax attorney, and then I was a litigator. And all of a sudden I went from completely healthy to can’t walk, can’t pick up, you know, the groceries. I had been bench pressing 400 pounds at the time, and now I am crippled. And I share that with your audience in particular, because for one thing, that led me ultimately to close the law practice and buy a farm in Vermont with no farming experience as a white collar lawyer and start figuring it out. So there’s a message there: if I can figure it out, you can figure it out. 

Amy Fewell That’s right. 

John Klar But it was also my testimony because through that pain of fibromyalgia syndrome and untreated Lyme disease, I actually came to my faith, as well. So those two things are here overlapping. We see God’s presence in our lives, that he’s working through us, I believe, because everything I’ve done since has reoriented my life towards God and towards food and trying to alert people to the peril that we’re in. And there’s a parallel between the food peril and the spiritual peril. And Scripture actually says a lot about that, and I preach about it sometimes. So then I moved to Vermont with my bride, and our young children. Had never made a bale of hay, bought 160 acre farm, and started trying to figure it out by doing it. And the long story short, is that we have subsequently downsized. Our children are out of the home. We’re shifting towards a total off grid homestead that we’ve been building. And right now I have 78 sheep and 12 cows, actually, just sold some cows, so I’ve downsized a bit. And so I know you can relate to what that is. We had 32 lambs this year. God is good, but we’re downsizing a bit. But part of why we’re doing this is to help create really good stock and to feed, if you will, into more people that want to homestead. Your position, your organization, is really imperative to help people learn how to homestead. My focus is more on fighting legal battles and otherwise helping people like you do what you do. I use my legal cap to… I’ve actually fought some food rights battles, including here in Vermont for on farm slaughter. And there are a lot of things, as you’ve referenced, that are going on in this world that suggest we’re going to have some more fights before us, and so we need people to move back to the land, and then we need lawyers and everybody else, all hands on deck, to help equip people how to do that and to pave the way for them legally from a regulatory perspective. So I hope that’s a good summary for who I am. 

Amy Fewell That is a good summary, and we’re going to unpackage it more. So, John and I actually kind of met… Like we met in passing at Polyface. We spoke at an event together last year, I think it was. So that was kind of how John and I got that connection. But even before that, I actually followed John on Substack, and we’ll link all of his stuff in the description. I’m like, “Hey, this guy is kind of neat.” I like, you know, following him because… it’s awesome that you came from being a lawyer, you dove headfirst into homesteading, and a lot of the people that we’re seeing… We did a survey a couple years ago, and we really need to do one again to see what types of people are coming into the homesteading world. And a lot of them are, you know, highly educated business people because they can see the times that are coming, they know there’s a better way, and they’re diving in headfirst to homesteading, just like you. So you’ve got into homesteading from being a lawyer, you know, let’s talk about your book a little bit. Can you tell us a little bit about that and what it’s about? 

John Klar Sure. Small Farm Republic is really a product of that journey. And interestingly, again, dovetails with what you’re saying. As a white collar person clueless about where his food comes from, you know, largely trusting the industrial food supply, my awakening, as a farmer, I didn’t set out to, like, you know, conquer the industrial food problem. I just set out to figure out how to subsist and try to, you know, keep functioning. And so one thing led to another. Well, as I learned more about farming, I learned more about the food supply. I learned about how much healthier everything I was raising was. I learned about how many regulations were set up to help the large producer and hurt the little guy. And so that’s kind of what the book ended up becoming. And then in the course of that, I was really sort of disoriented by this. I mean, this is actually contrary to what I expected to learn. I expected that, you know, my home raised food would be inferior. But when we raised chickens and we fed them to our children and we made our own butter and our own milk for the first time and did all of these things that you’ve now experienced, it was like an awakening. And so then I found Wendell Berry and his writings, and I started to realize that I wasn’t insane, that in fact, there was a large and long standing corporate effort, in conjunction with government, to control our food supply for profit and power. And that’s just the truth. And so then, that actually really equipped me to feel that this was a battle worth fighting. And then in 2016 and thereabouts, I got in the battle with the on farm food rights, a battle here in Vermont. And so the book really, in summary, is it advocates whatever one… Even though it comes from a conservative perspective, I’m trying to persuade more people to understand the importance of healthy food in their lives, and particularly conservatives. As Joel Salatin, your neighbor, will tell you, you know, most of his client base are people from the left. 

Amy Fewell Right. 

John Klar And the people on the left, traditionally, are supposedly the environmentalists and the organic foodies and everything, but they’re now pushing for a Green New Deal and a globalist food supply. So they’ve actually abandoned ship. So I would argue that it’s up to conservatives now to conserve our soil, conserve our water, conserve our healthy local food supplies and of course, it’s bipartisan. And the book also then ended up tackling the climate change issue, even though I never set out to do that. It’s inseparable now from agriculture. And that’s something, even since the book has come out and in recent headlines, we see more and more of this heated debate by globalists who are saying that we have to get rid of cows, and we have to get rid of people who drink raw milk, and we have to get rid of people eating meat, and instead we’re going to allow a corporate monstrosity, a Borg, a one world government, control every aspect of what you eat, when you eat it, and whether you eat it at all. Seems to be God in this timing. So that book was really about the importance of distributism, the importance to soil, water, food security and food health. And when I say security, I mean just literally your ability to have food that you take for granted in your grocery store. That could end tomorrow. And that distributive system of the American tradition of farming, particularly still extant, you know, here in Vermont, at some level (it’s sickly, but the patient’s still alive), that’s the only way out of this dependency. It’s also the only way out of the famine that our scriptures tell us is coming. For Christians, of all people, we should have no excuse for being dependent on industrialism when we could have been dependent on God’s provision. God has given us food. We’re the ones that have left that reservation. So we have to get back to the garden, if you will. And that’s actually what I think you and I both spoke about as our ships crossed at Joel’s because I actually, yeah… I had a table. I don’t remember if you had a table, too. But that was very exciting, very hopeful, to see so many people coming together. People, if you equip them with the truth, they’ll get it and they’ll take it in their own hands and they’ll carry it forward. And that’s what you’re doing. And that’s what I’m so happy to be part of today. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. And it’s convenient that we’re doing this today. My internet’s been weird and so I’m glad that this happened today because just yesterday I was looking at another farm raid that’s happened. I think it was in Michigan. It was for this farm, I think they’re called Nourish Co-op. And, you know, the government came in, they’ve raided their farm, they tossed all their raw milk, they confiscated meat, and so, you know, this is something that isn’t just… I think a lot of people think that farm raids are, you know, from the 90s and early 2000s. These things are still happening. These things are happening a lot more than media even talks about. And this is just an example of a more recent one. And so I wonder if you have any experience with that. Do you have any experience with helping people that have had their farms raided or do you have any legal expertise for homesteaders and farmers that are getting into the business side of this. 

John Klar Well, I do, I think, but each case is specific. So my general counsel would be Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. And they’re a great resource because not everybody’s experience is the same. And yes, I have been involved in a number of different battles, and so I smiled as you said that. Sometimes farmers aren’t always their own best friends if they set themselves up literally with, you know, putting a chip on their shoulder. I was helping a person here in Vermont recently, and it turned out he had actually been baiting the state and had been deliberately making things and selling yogurts and things that he knew he couldn’t. In the end, he ended up being fined and had to pay the fine. I mean, we have to pick our battles. But as far as some of these things, these farm raids have been going on actually since the 1920s. They went on in the Great Depression when farmers were told they had to dump their milk. If you gave your milk to your neighbors, the feds came and stopped you. Can you imagine that? That’s a chapter of history lost to most people. There have been a lot of food battles over the years. There are right to farm laws. Each state has different laws. There are local zoning laws increasingly now that are stopping people from raising chickens, from having a family cow. I mean, this is the front line of the battle. So again, as I said at the beginning, there’s, you know, there’s how do I learned how to raise a chicken? And then how do I learn what my zoning laws are about chickens? People have to be out there fighting both or the government and the corporate interests that influence government regulations will continue to tighten that noose. Wendell Berry wrote about this in the 70s in an essay called Sanitation and the Small Farm —how Kentucky’s farms were being destroyed in the name of food safety for more and more processing requirements. The very same battles were still fighting today. It’s been this slow attrition by regulators and corporations to control more and more and more of our food supply. Monsanto has been known to boast that they had at one point, this might have been 20 years ago, reduced the number of farmers in the food supply down to only 8% of their food stream. They’d like it to be zero. Wendell Berry said if they could design a way to send a tube right from the factory to our navels and just feed us that way, that they would do that. I use that in my book, and I’m working on another book now as a sequel, to show people that image. I think that’s a great image, because that actually is the way they view us. If you think your food company is any more trustworthy than a tobacco company who at one time told you that cigarettes were good for you and your children and had doctors and athletes promoting them, then you’re not understanding what’s happening to your food supply and the toxins in your food and the addictive, you know, chemicals manufactured specifically to make you eat more, buy more, of things that are not good for you, and they don’t even have any clue whether they’re good for you when you mix these chemicals together. So I digress now, but from a regulatory perspective, certainly people can also contact me. Part of Farmer to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, and part of Amos Miller and these other stories, is that the farmers can’t stand without their customer base, without you — consumers. We farmers and our consumers need to stand together. That’s what’s happened in Europe, creating whole new political parties. That’s what we have to do in America, whether it’s a zoning regulation in Florida or a federal action in Pennsylvania. I hope that’s responsive because there’s a lot there. You know, there are a lot of different legal issues. 

Amy Fewell So you touched on something. You were talking about, you know, Monsanto and businesses wanting to control everything. So we’re going to open up a can of worms, okay? Because I’ve been wanting to have this conversation with somebody over the last couple weeks that I think that you’re probably the right person. So one of the things that I’m seeing is, and we’re specifically seeing this like an HOA events, where people, you know, we’ll get volunteer applications or speaker applications of people who have not the same motive as us. They try to hide their real motive, you know? And so recently I had a few friends go to an event and when they got home, they were like, “You’re not going to believe this, but one of the speakers told us that they believe that lab grown meat is okay.” And this was at a homestead event, you know? And so, I think it’s really interesting that we’re seeing a lot of these types of ideologies unfold, right? Like this was somebody who was supposedly hardcore into natural food, good soil, all of these various things, but you made a really good point about how the end goal is for the oligarchy, essentially to get rid of all of that. And so as we start seeing the homestead movement and the farm movement grow, what do we do when we start seeing leaders within that movement kind of turn back on what they used to teach? And what do you think the end goal really is? Like how do we protect a community and push and hold leaders accountable? 

John Klar Well, that’s an interesting and broad question. You raise chickens so you know where to get feathers to go with the tar for these people. 

Amy Fewell Right. 

John Klar I’m joking. We don’t need to resort to some things though, I suppose in a proverbial, you know, not literal sense to tar and feather them by calling them out would be a good way to educate people. I actually don’t worry too much about such people infiltrating our efforts because everything you and I are doing is calling upon people to exercise their own critical judgment; to ask as Christians, you know, did God provide something in the way of a solar panel called a blade of grass that’s renewable that I don’t need to improve upon? You know, what is this idolatry going on? So, you know, these are actually great opportunities to have these conversations by which people reach their own conclusions. And once they reach conclusions about things like synthetic meat, they tend to cement them. And this isn’t just confirmation bias, this is education. This is how we come to have our worldviews. And we’re in a new worldview here when it comes to synthetic meat. I also wouldn’t worry much about synthetic meat because synthetic meat is failing. It’s never going to replace God’s provision. It is a boondoggle in every sense of the word, and it is failing. And people have invested billions and billions of dollars in it. But I think also for your listeners and for you as you try to work through these things, let’s try to discern truth from falsehood and remember who our adversary is. And Wendell Berry has written (and I borrow from Wendell, he’s a Christian) but the term I borrow from him often is techno-mysticism. We have put our faith in technologies to solve everything. “Look, satellites. Look at this new gadget.” You know, we’re dazzled. And frankly, I think this is what Satan showed Jesus when he pulled them up the top of the mountain. He says, “All of this I will give to you.” He wasn’t giving him some arid desert 2000. He was showing him helicopters and mRNA technology. And I mean, it really is amazing what we humans have accomplished, but we’re sort of like Icarus and we are now playing God even without gene splicing. So you know what we’re seeing here is people trying to come up with a techno-mystical fantasy instead of dealing with the real problems. So, for instance, you know, at root of this, actually, is even sillier truth, or sillier falsehood. The falsehood is that cows are bad. So even if you did believe that we were warming the climate with carbon dioxide from human activity, the solution would not be to get rid of cows, would it? The solution would be to put cows back on the ground, back in the dirt. Right? We’re the ones that took them out and stuck them in CAFOs and started treating them like fangs, you know? And now that’s the reason they want to get rid of all cows? If you look at every layer of the argument against cows, it’s all built on lies. So this person that spoke, yeah, they may have infiltrated but that might itself even prove to be fodder to show people, “Why would you come in and deceive people as to who you are or what your motives are?” But now we can have a conversation about why synthetic meat actually destroys the planet more an alternative, why synthetic meat actually isn’t healthy for the environment, why a grass fed meat is probably healthier for you than just about any of these processed, plant-based alternatives, that plant-based crops, vegan crops, that are built on GMO monocultures are destroying the soil and the microbiome of both the Earth and your gut, and you’re going to be better for me than a cow? That, naturally raised, doesn’t need any of these things? And so I think it’s actually the very fact that they’re doing that, part of their unraveling. Synthetic meat will never, ever replace God’s provision. It’s not going to happen at scale. It’s not going to happen at cost. And let’s go behind the scenes a little bit here to share this with your listeners (and it’s hard to trace this, and I have in some of my past writings): they originally proposed synthetic meat, not as a way to save the planet and not as a way to save animals and not as a way to make people healthier, but as a way to increase profit margins. Okay? There were some early Japanese companies in particular. I looked in their prospectuses and they said, “Look, if we could get rid of the cow part of the hamburger and replace that with soy and plant, would that be great? We can reduce costs. We can replace that expensive, slow to grow meat stuff out of the pasture with some soy that we grow in a vat.” It’s just another step in mankind’s effort to subjugate God’s creation into something marketable and controllable. You control the food, you control the people. So that’s actually how it was originally peddled. Well, guess what? It doesn’t work that way. It’s all fantasy. It’s all technology. It’s actually the perpetual motion machine. It’s turning lead into gold. It’s the same old tickling of the ear that Satan has given humans since Eve. Listen to that serpent, okay? 

Amy Fewell Yeah. 

John Klar And that’s actually where we are. And we’re still listening to the two sides. So you’re going to listen to the serpent that’s telling you that cows are bad and that meat is bad, and that “Here, this alternative fabrication, chemical based, chemical dependent, chemical trucks that I’ve created for you is better than creation.” The father of lies is very active in this world, prowling like a lion to devour. And so we need to devour healthy foods and the provision that God has already given us. We don’t need to reinvent this wheel. So to me, people infiltrating… Synthetic meat is a great tip of the spear conversation to have like transgenderism. It’s just so obvious to people, and it becomes a segue where a majority of people can see there’s something really, really wrong with this picture of replacing cows and sheep with bugs. So I actually think it’s an opportunity for your organization to press them on it, though. This is one of the things I see two people say things, like Fauci and others, they say things that are just totally unsupportable, and then if you say, “Well, let me ask you a critical question, naked Emperor, I’m just a little boy. Let me just ask you this question.” You ask them the questions. You know, the stuff we’re talking about. The more complex the world gets, the more they depend on us to take a simplistic response and resign ourselves to, you know, they’re the experts. They know best. And we’ll just trust that and we’ll give up the hard work. But as you’ve learned and as your listeners and readers have learned, we need to reclaim this knowledge, not move into further ignorance. Sorry that was so long winded. 

Amy Fewell No. That’s perfect. Don’t apologize. I know and I’m speaking to everyone that’s listening, let that be an encouragement to you. You know, there are so many experts popping up now in the farming and homesteading industry. There’s so many events popping up. There’s so many things, and all of those are great. But now that the whole regenerative farm, homesteading movement, which I think are two totally different yet very similar things, are really amping up, right? You’re going to have people like this that have different opinions than you. And so I would encourage you guys, when you hear these things, in love but also with confidence, to question them. Just like what John said, you know, question them, whether it’s during the event or after they’re done speaking or, you know, most speakers have a Q&A time after their segment is over, or if it’s in a YouTube video or something, wherever it is, you have that open dialog with most people. And if you ever come across someone that you cannot have an open dialog with, then I feel like that tells you all that you need to know about that, and then you just move on. But ultimately, you know, our goal here at HOA and I know, John, this is your goal too, is to have these conversations, to have these hard conversations with people, just like the church, right? Iron sharpens iron. You have to edify one another — same thing in the homesteading movement and the farm movement. Sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know. Sometimes people are just regurgitating information because it seems like a good idea at the time. But, you know, be confident in what you’re learning, be confident in what you’ve been taught, be confident in what you’re doing, and question the narrative. Question what’s being said. And, you know, don’t be rude about it, like John said, some people have a chip on their shoulder, right? Don’t be rude about it, but be confident that you can do those things whenever you’re at these events. You know, that’s one of the things that we’ve always said at HOA — not everyone is going to agree with everyone, right? Like we have non-Christians, plenty of non-Christians that come and don’t agree with our Christian talk. We have plenty of, you know, different religions that come and different farm backgrounds that come. I know plenty of people that come to HOA and listen to this podcast that are like, “No, I raise, you know, 500 dairy cows and they’re not on pasture. They only eat…” You know what I mean? So we have that diversity here, but we have it here because we want to have these open conversations with you guys and kind of make you think like, hey, is that the best way? We’re not going to necessarily judge you if it’s not, but there is a better way and we want you to come to that side. And so we’re just planting seeds, right? You know, we go to these events, not everyone’s going to agree, so if they don’t, plant that seed. Question them. Say, “Okay, but that’s not the right way. There’s a better way.”. 

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 John, I’m going to move into a different question real quick. Going back kind of to the law side of things and the culture… So one of the things that, I know, both of us are big in is basically, like you said, going back to the garden, how do we create this new culture? You even kind of talked about it briefly just a minute ago where you were talking about essentially creating a new system alongside of this broken system. I know this is a broad question, but maybe can you kind of talk a little more about that? How can we encourage people to realize, you know, America’s broken, the food system is broken, the health care system is broken. I think most of our people already know this, but they don’t feel confident enough to really take control of it. How do you take control of your local food and your local health? 

John Klar Great question and it’s what we’re talking about: you get informed. I mean, the first thing you do before you act is you get informed, right? Before you buy a house in a new area, you do a little research on property values and, you know, are there flood risks and what does the tax, you know, burden of this property and what’s the resale strength? And where’s the local school? So why wouldn’t you do the same thing about your food supply? It’s imperative that we become educated. And so what you talk about as far as talking about… That’s literally our life long process of how we learn new things. And just as we’re talking about synthetic meat, humankind are learning new things all the time with our technologies and other things. And so the guidepost I think I would give to people, and I think it’s great, too, that you’re ecumenical in the sense that, you know, how do we… When I’m giving a message in a church and I know there are non-Christians there, how do I fashion a message both for the Christian and the non-Christian at one time? As a lawyer, I always found that kind of interesting and a real challenge for pastors. You don’t generally have to do that as a lawyer. You know, when you have the court, you have one audience. You know, you have a court. So I sometimes in my writing (and I’m working on another book now that’s kind of a sequel) I try to say, “Well, whether you believe in God in the creation or you believe in this idea of nature, let’s just start there. Let’s look at what nature provided for humanity for thousands or millions of years, whatever your belief system is. And then let’s look at what certain corporate actors who we may question whether they have a profit motive, what they might actually be up to here.” The more you look through that lens at what’s happening, and the more you just try to get yourself informed, like you were going to buy a new house in a new neighborhood, the more you will start to learn about your food supply. Do not be discouraged. What you’re talking about is the most important thing and the biggest problem that confronted me in writing that book, and this one, is how do I… I write a book that says, “The sky is falling. The sky is falling, the sky is falling, the sky…” In the book, the sky is falling. Who wants to read that book? People want hope, they want an answer, and frankly, it’s kind of purposeless otherwise. And what lawyers do is we take complex situations and we try to explain them to our clients so that they can make an informed decision about something that’s complex. Doctors do this. So that’s what you and your listeners in each of us need to be able to do all the time. And what happens is, we get overwhelmed. And Wendell Berry wrote, I think in The Art of Loading Brush, a more recent book he wrote about this, and he talked about growing up under the threat of nuclear holocaust and being a young father with children who couldn’t afford to build a bunker. And he said, after a while, that great fear, that constant barrage of Orwellian nuclear, you know, threat, you become burdened by that fear and you resign yourself. And he actually made an analogy in this essay between that and the late, great climate change, one cause of warmth. So in the name of all the global warming, let’s not worry about the chemicals that are giving people cancer? Let’s not worry about glyphosate giving people lymphomas? Let’s not worry about other things? Wendell points out, “Nothing ever good comes out of fear.” So a lot of times when people are stuck in the city and they hear something like what you and I are talking about, they go, “Well, I’m powerless,” and they resign themselves and therefore they don’t act. They don’t act to improve their food supply. They don’t act to support other farmers who could make food more affordable or readily available to them. They don’t actually read their labels on their products. They are not acting, therefore, in preserving their own health that God wants them to have. So, “What would Jesus do?” we say. You know, “What would God do with this renewable solar panel versus this renewable blade of grass?” You know, constantly look at that common sense of what God (and the earth, whatever your faith tradition is) provided and then look at what you’re being presented as an alternative is and start analyzing it critically, and don’t feel that it’s an all or nothing, because that’s where we get resigned. GMO labeling — complex, hard to know what’s in there, “Oh, I give up. I’m gonna eat Doritos.” So what we don’t want people to do is give up. And we want them to feel enabled with policies or decisions. So, you know, for instance, you do a lot with herbal stuff and herbs is just… Anybody can buy high quality herbs and they go, “Oh, I don’t know whether to buy it from that company or that company.” Well, nobody else is going to do that homework for you. You know, sometimes you just have to do that work. And then, what you and I have both experienced is you tip your toe in the water, and you start raising chickens, and then you go, “Oh my gosh, this is really challenging and really rewarding. And now I’m going to try a pig.”. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. 

You know, none of us really jumps in the deep end. And so I think also people that are in urban areas, there are market gardens they can go to. There’s rooftop gardening, there’s aquaponics (maybe), raised beds. Do something. And I’m seeing more and more people that as soon as they do that, they just dip their toe in a window box, they start feeling empowered because they see — and this is what I actually experienced — one day my wife and I are looking and we weren’t setting out to becoming food independent, and one day… We got three kids and we’re looking at the whole table, this spread, and we’re like, “Well, we made the butter. You know, we made the milk, we made the chicken. We grew all these vegetables,” (God did) and we suddenly realized that we’d spent our whole life without that. You know? We had our children over here this weekend for dinner for Father’s Day, and we had our beef and our lamb grass fed, served at the table and it occurred to me that I’d never done that before I was 35 years old. I never had anything in my freezer that I raised. Maybe a trout I’d catch. So we’re talking about unwinding false knowledge or a dependency on an artificial system that we spent our whole lives knowing nothing else. And now it’s sort of like being red pilled, I guess. We have to sort of wake up. So we have to be sensitive to people, and we have to realize that everybody can do something from where they are. Everybody can be enabled. There’s a spectrum, and so no one has to feel that they don’t have a place at this table (to speak in food terms) or a place in this army (to speak in spiritual warfare) and countering the globalist cabal of corporate engineers who are engineering our demise and subjugation, because that’s what’s happening right now. And of course, that’s fulfilling a lot of Scripture, as well. You know, as far as end times. 

Amy Fewell Okay. So the last part of this, that’s what I want to go into. So that was a great segue. So let’s just open that up. You know, you talk about this, the spiritual side of it — let’s talk about the spiritual side of it. What do you see happening in the world right now? What do you see coming? You know,  I would consider you an elder in the homestead community, in the farm industry. And so what are some of the things that you see that you can alert the church to? 

John Klar I am an elder in the sense that I’m learning from the elders. We need to respond. 

Amy Fewell That’s right, that’s the perfect answer. 

John Klar So I’m just a, you know, I actually consider myself one of the, you know, Johnny-come-lately. I’m an 11th hour farmer, you know, and it’s okay because I’ve learned from the farmers that went before, this is a precious resource. Just like, so-called, indigenous knowledge. You know, the knowledge of horticulture and plants and homeopathy. We lost 93% of our heirloom seed varieties. Well, let me put it to you this way that hopefully, you know, for non-Christian listeners, it could be allegorical or literal: the Bible, begins pretty quickly, chapter three of Genesis, with God telling Adam that he’s going to farm. Right? It’s a product of this apple eating thing or whatever that fruit was that we don’t know. And we don’t blame Eve, we blame Adam, who sits there trying to blame Eve. And what does God say to Adam? “Guess what? You disobeyed me. You’re going to work by the sweat of your brow. You’re going to have bugs and thorns and tilling and hardship.” By the time we get to Isaiah 2:7, Isaiah condemns humans for “worshiping the idols that we’ve created by our own hands.” Now, that might be rocket ships. It might be, you know, iPads, but it also might be GMO technologies and tractors and combines and processors and genetic modification of plants. And we have decided that we were going to escape the hardship that was covenantally thrust upon us in the garden. And we were going to cheat that. We don’t want that sweat and those thorns and we’re living the easy life now. No society in the history of humankind has had such cheap, plentiful, abundant food which beneath the surface is becoming nutrient depleted, shipped from further, further away, not as fresh treated with preservatives, tainted with pesticides, herbicides, hormones and endocrine disruptors. The packaging it’s in is full of phthalates and forever chemicals, and PFAs and BPA and atrazine, and things that mimic estrogen. Who would want to give that to their children or grandchildren? So then we get to the end of the book of the Bible: we get to the book of revelation. We’re told there’s a famine, that one of the riders of the horsemen of the apocalypse is literally food scarcity and famine. Really, in America? The great Babylon? The harlot on the beast where we’ve had… The breadbasket of the world? Where we are rapidly destroying and eroding our soils, depleting our water that God gave for us, that can’t even be naturally replenished. We’re headed right off a cliff in our destruction. We’re headed right towards that revelation thing, whether you’re a Christian or not. Pretty freaky that the Bible tells you those three things. And so I’ll make it another analogy: in that food discussion, you will raise your food from the ground or you will starve. Right? That’s what God told us. Well, Jesus came along and he made a parallel between that food and spiritual food. The food of Scripture itself, the food of knowledge of God itself. When he said, “feed my sheep” to Peter, he wasn’t talking about giving them grass or grain. He was talking about feeding them with Scripture and the knowledge of the things we’re talking about here, without which humans will perish, right? That you will perish for lack of God’s word. Who’s worried about starving to death for a lack of, you know, your Doritos or your Happy Meals? We should be more worried about that food upon which Jesus subsisted, which is to do the will of the father who sent him. So ultimately, throughout the Bible — and we’ve lost connection with this, just like our food supply, and we as Christians have lost supply connection — God tells us to be stewards of and responsible for our own food supply or suffer the consequences. And God makes a continuous parallel through his Scripture of this very need every day of food, with a spiritual need for him every day. And both of which, if you sever them, you are taking away both your physical and then your spiritual life-giving connection to the earth and to the God who created them. So that’s where I think that food and spirituality converge in these end times and it’s a great awakening. And people, as they wake up to their enslavement, we’re hoping that they wake up, you know, full force. Most people don’t come to Jesus because they have a happy day. Most people, like me, through my illness and suffering and pain… You know, pain is God’s megaphone. I actually needed to suffer chronic illness and pain to be given the gift — that here I am, sitting here now and now I have no money and continuing health problems. But I have faith. And before I had lots of money and and my health seemed fine and and all the, you know, the pride of life, but I had nothing without Christ who strengthens me and gives me everything. So that’s my journey. And I’m hoping that more people will go on board for that, that even in seeing the evil of the corporate actors in our food supply, maybe they’ll understand that beneath this is a battle between evil and good going on, in which we are the pods and we want to be the sheep, not the goats. You know, we want to hear the call, and we want to then, become part of the solution and not the problem. Right? That’s the old saying? We don’t want to be dependent on government when there’s an EMP or a currency collapse. And we’re going, “Oh, government, my God. Government, my new idol, please come save me. Come send me some free lunches packed in a box and arrive at 2:00 pm every day.” No, they say God helps those who help themselves. It’s not in the scriptures, but there’s a certain truth there that we’re talking about. 

Amy Fewell Yep. 

John Klar Spiritually and physically, if you don’t watch your candy store, if you don’t look at what you’re putting in your microbiome and in your children’s mouths and you defer to government to do that, I think you get what you deserve. And I don’t mean to say that, you know, in a condemning way. But in a compassionate way. As you say, these people that are out there advocating for fake meat and vegan diets are the victims themselves of an ideology that ultimately is a satanic cult. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. Yeah, and, you know, my husband and I talk about it a lot about how, you know, food… We see this a lot. So your journey of being in pain and finding Jesus, right. That is a common thing in the church. And, you know, so my husband and I talk about this a lot, how people will come to us and say, “But I just want to be healed.” And I look at them and think, why would you be healed if you’re going to walk right back into the same lifestyle you were in before? You know, it doesn’t make sense. That’s not how this works. You know, God’s not a crutch for you to be healed and go back into… But that’s the mindset we have with everything. You know, I want to eat healthy for a month, and then I want to go back to the way I was eating. You know, I want to try this farm thing for a couple of weeks. It was too hard. I’m going to stop and do, you know… And so it’s the same mindset over and over and over again. And there’s no momentum, there’s no longevity, there’s no commitment to living a way that is holy and pleasing. Right? And so I love your story. I love that you share that, because I think it actually will encourage and inspire a lot of people listening that are in the same situation you were in years ago, that need this final push to get into this lifestyle physically and spiritually (not just physically) and who can take control first of their lives, right? Like, we all want to talk about saving the world. We all want to talk about change in our county, in our state, but if you’re not even taking control of your own life, if you can’t even, you know, stop feeding yourself and your kids junk. If you can’t do any of these things within your own home, then you cannot influence a county, and you definitely can’t influence a nation to do these things. And so, you know, our goal here at HOA is to start with the family and, you know, physically, spiritually, mentally. And then from there, it’s natural, right? Your culture in your home changes, then your culture in your immediate family changes, then into your community, then into your county, then into your state. And this is the one thing that we say all the time. You know, HOA is not the end all for homesteading. Right? But what we always say to people is, “Okay, take home what you’ve learned, apply it in your household, change your culture there, and then take it to your community.” Teach your community about what John and I are talking about. Teach your community about what you’ve learned and the changes you’ve made, and give your testimony to the people in your community. And for some of you guys, that means you’re going to have to get over your fear of man, right? Your fear of saying things and what’s the retaliation going to be? Somebody sent me a question on Instagram the other day and they said, “Aren’t you afraid of, you know, this, this and this happening?” And I’m like, “No, that’s never crossed. You know, like the thought has crossed my mind, but I have such peace in Christ.” I have such peace in what we’ve built here. And then, we have… like we practice what we preach. We’ve built it in our community. It’s still building in our community. It’s still building in our family. It’s still building in our county, you know? And so that’s where perfect peace comes from. It’s not just a feeling, it’s an action. You know, it’s an action with faith. It’s an action in how sustainable are you? And so I hope this conversation really encourages you guys. I think John and I could like… We’ve just scratched the surface. I think John and I could probably talk for hours, but I want to be respectful of his time and you guys. And so we might have him on again in the future, in the very short future, because there’s just a lot of things that we’re seeing happen in the homestead community, where you need people that will speak life into you. And John, you’re really good at that. I love the part where you said… You were talking about fear and how we can’t, you know, we can’t fall into that either. But, you know, education helps with that. And so I want to thank you for coming on the podcast today. The one thing I always do at the end, which, you know, has proven to be able to go on for 20 more minutes, but at the end, I always ask my guests if there’s one thing you could say to this community that’s just burning inside of you or something that you want to share, now’s your time to share it. You know, what is something that you feel like the Lord’s place on your heart for this community, for this movement, and for this time? 

John Klar I’ll try not to go 20 minutes, but it allows me to dovetail with something else you said, which is… I smiled. When I became sick and I went through my ordeal, because I was, you know… Fibromyalgia is really quite crippling, and actually, I went through 12 years of antibiotics therapy trying to find a pill, you know, manmade pill to give me a quick fix. And it didn’t work. And it was really only when I couldn’t take that anymore that I started really focusing on diet more. I already was, but then when my only way out was through diet and changed behavior patterns, that’s why I really started to improve more. And you’re right. You know, in biblical counseling, we have a phrase that, you know, “We do what we do because we want what we want.” And that’s what sin is. So yeah, we want to go back to our vomit. And so it’s funny because a lot of people in my testimony over the years, when they meet me and they say, “But you know, you’re still struggling with health problems,” I’m like, “Yeah, but I’m way better than I was.” And I would rather stay in pain if it keeps me in unity with God, then be healed of my condition and go back to my old man. Does that make sense? Because you just said the same thing. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. 

John Klar And what we’re really then talking about is how we change ourselves. And so then you ask me, “What would I tell people?” I would tell people not to give up hope. I would tell people to understand that in talking with Amy and studying these issues, you’re actually on the ground floor of a true revolution. The fake meat revolution will fail because it’s built on fake — lies. Untruth. Two plus two will never be seven. You know? The transgender movement will fail. The climate movement will fail because it’s built on falsehoods. EV cars and solar panels are destroying the planet more quickly than if we weren’t making them. We’re threatening our grid. Be excited. You’re on the ground floor. If you’re listening to this, and you’re on the ground floor with Amy and me and the others (because none of us are the leaders. We are all followers, right? Our job is to stand. Right? In the armor.) And so you’re on the ground floor. Everybody wants to be on the ground floor. Everybody wants to get the stock offering of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Everybody wants to be out there at the front. You know, the first to do it. Get on board because more people are getting on this train here in Vermont and elsewhere. Young people are fleeing cities. 66% of Americans in a recent poll, if they could telecommute, would live in a rural place, this country mouse city mouse dichotomy and battle that, you know, just like with race and everything else that they’re trying to foment and divide us, we need to find our unity. It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat or black or white or rich or poor or old or young if you want to raise local food. That should be a unifying factor. Get on board for this movement. The opposition to a globalist effort to control all humanity and do whatever they want to us is exactly what we’re doing right here. It’s growing your own vegetable patch. It’s learning how to store your own seeds. It’s learning how to can food. Come on in, the water’s fine. If a lawyer, a white collar lawyer can learn to do this, you can learn to do this. A white collar, crippled lawyer who could barely walk can do this. You can do this, at any age. Take control of your food. Take control of your body. Don’t try to counter your obesity or your creaking joints or your inflammatory conditions with yet more drugs that will not heal you. Go back to the garden. Go back to what God provided for you. Feed your microbiome. More and more, the science has come full circle. As Amy knows and is teaching you and proving to us and showing us, that the provision was always there and that when we leave that reservation for the substitutes, they always have these hidden costs, these hidden dependencies, these hidden pollutions and carcinogens that are like a cancer, like Satan is a cancer. So don’t be intimidated by it. Just the opposite, be excited by it. Embrace the adversity of it because that’s the only way out is through your plight and mine. I’m 60 years old. This problem began before I was born. And it’s a long standing battle. It’s not my fault, you know? But I’m in it, just like the spiritual battle we’re in. So I would actually encourage people to not be intimidated by all of these things. Just the opposite, be excited about finding the areas where you can serve and be part of a real movement that is a sustainable movement. That is not going to fail like all of these other utopian, cultural Marxist boondoggles. They’re lies. You just lies. They’re going to make everything worse. This is the right train to be on. It’s a win win to be in a more godly, whether you’re Christian or not, in a more direct connection with your physical microbiome that’s connected directly to the soil microbiome, which is connected through plants and animals. And that is the natural order of things to which we must energetically and hopefully and joyfully return and invite everybody else to come along. And some people are still going to want to eat their processed foods. I mean, you know, that’s the way it works. They taste good, but they’re not good for you and we need free will to exercise dominion over our own bodies, to choose what we’re going to put in them. But first we need to have the choice and a lot of us don’t even know that we’re making these choices. And that’s what I’ve done teaching in a Christian school is my kids go away, they’re never going to go in a grocery store again the same way. They can’t not see. It’s kind of like learning the law of morality, you know, you can be forgiven if you never heard of it but once you know, you know when you’re eating that Dorito now what you’re doing to yourself. So that’s the first step is awareness. And then the next step is to try to sin less, right? Just like sin, we know we’re never going to arrive. Nobody’s perfect, and that’s the other thing. Don’t be a purist. This is what I teach my kids: don’t be a purist and think that you’re going to eat the perfect, you know, Eve diet. It is unattainable. All right? But don’t give up because you can’t live, you know, eat that perfect diet. Certainly that’s not a reason to keep eating, you know, red and yellow number five and these things we can’t pronounce and never heard of. You know, we’re creating something like 3000 new chemicals a year that God did not create. It’s only to be expected that some of those may have some deleterious side effects, especially when mixed together, like a potion in our children’s and our women’s reproductive systems. So anyway, all of that negativity in a whirlwind of hope, the water’s fine. This is the revolution. And if you don’t have your own local food supply, you don’t fight the British. You don’t fight Stalin, you don’t fight Mao, you don’t fight Pol Pot, you don’t fight anybody. You don’t fight Klaus Schwab. If you don’t have a food supply to feed your troops, the army marches on its stomach and on its healthy stomach. So, you know, there’s a lot of stuff to be really excited and hopeful and feel rejoicing about. Actually, it may not be what people perceived the revolution would look like, but this is the revolution: growing your own food. It’s a win, win, win, win, win. It helps the economy, it helps your health, helps the animals, it helps the planet, it helps everything. All those things that the corporations are telling us, that only they can fix, the opposite is the truth. Just as we are his image bearers, Jesus is coming down to tell everybody what to believe. It’s his believers acting out, in Christ, that become his image. And that’s what we’re doing as his farmers. And that’s what you’re doing and that’s why I’m really excited to join you today. Thank you. 

Amy Fewell Yeah. You know, you nailed it. Of course, John, you nailed it. We already knew that you were going to do that. But you know, it’s really encouraging to bring a leader… And we are leaders, we’re also followers, but to bring someone like you onto the podcast, and all of the others that we’ve been interviewing over the last few years, and always, always, everyone’s leaving the podcast with hope. You know, the world can be on fire, but if we have these basic things, we’re going to be okay. And, you know, as we encourage more people, as we encourage you that are listening, we encourage you to encourage others. And, you know, I wrote… Well, so funny — I wrote the foreword to Joel’s book, and Joel wrote the foreword to your book, and he wrote a book recently about the homestead tsunami and basically said what you just said to you is, you know, get on the ark. It’s time. And there are going to be people who don’t. And I have conversations with friends all the time where they’ll come to me frustrated. I know a lot of you have this too, where you have family members who are just not on board, they don’t want anything to do with living healthy, they don’t want anything to do with the homesteading movement, they don’t want anything to do with it. They think you’re crazy, right? You know, at the end of the day, keep encouraging them, right? But understand that not everyone is going to get on board. Not everyone will get to that point. And, you know, that’s of course sad. But there are people who will and who need you and who need your voice and who need your encouragement. And so I hope that you guys really enjoyed this podcast episode. I definitely enjoyed having you on, John. Thank you for taking time out of your day. I know you’re busy with all those lambs and writing another book, and so we’ll have to have you on when that comes out, too. You guys, make sure that you check out all the information. All of John’s links are in the description of the video or the podcast, whichever you’re watching or reading on the website. Very quick reference there. And make sure you buy his book and check him out on Substack. That way you can kind of keep up with him all the time. And John, just thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciated it. 

John Klar Honored and humbled. I’m very grateful. I was really excited to join you, too, sister. Let’s keep up the fight. We’re all stronger together. 

Amy Fewell Amen. All right guys, until next time, happy homesteading. 

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.