Makkah International Institute
Twenty plus years ago, when we first got married, we sat down to write out our goals. Knowledge and experience was a thread all our goals had in common. We wanted to learn from and experience life, and we wanted the same for our children. Farming and homesteading wasn't forefront in our minds but we both came from families where farming/gardening/homestead type activities were just a part of living (even in the city).
We’ve had a garden wherever we’ve lived (California, Sudan, Kuwait, Qatar, & Mexico). We’ve always educated our children at home and this allowed us to try and teach them some practical life skills/Sunnah along the way, while encouraging them to pursue and practice their own interest (woodworking, horseback riding, fiber arts, leatherworking, animal husbandry, mechanics, cooking, etc). We currently live in Oregon and moved here so that we could live on a larger property where our seven children could have space to grow, meet our needs via the land, and have enough to share with the community.
We’ve yet to find that balance where we can have land and community. We are the only Muslims in our town. We realize as our children mature that being near a Muslim community is very important. We cannot teach them everything. It’s not easy to have a full time job and try and homestead. We do most things here by hand (milking the cow, harvesting hay, digging ponds, building, etc.) which we enjoy but also know that it’s labor intensive. It’s helped us all appreciate hard work and not take things for granted. When we slaughter our own meat, it’s an animal we’ve raised from birth and loved. It brings an appreciation for that meat that we’d never get from buying it, and it means that we eat a lot less meat!
As a Black and Mexican family we are blessed to own our own property and have the opportunity and knowledge to farm and homeschool our children. We get to see a lot of things come full circle here. Even with all our trial and error it’s nice to know how much grass we need to scythe to have enough hay for the winter. It is comforting to know that the hard work of canning and dehydrating in the summer can feed us through the cold months. We feel that, through this lifestyle, we continue to gain knowledge and experience that keep us grounded.
Homesteading has included a lot of trail and error, and we learned an immense amount from that. We’ve built, torn down, and moved many gardens, fences and structures. We’ve learned to be a lot more flexible with our vision and timetable. Sometimes we’ve had to slow down or stop when major things happen (like births or moving). We’ve also tried to decolonize our homesteading practices, which includes studying the knowledge of our ancestors who were caretakers of the earth. We want to revitalize the earth, not deplete it.
Roots 'n Earth Family Farm
Roots n Earth is our family farm. We’re a big Mexican-Jamaican Muslim family living in Oregon. We practice sustainable, ancestral gardening and love doing things with our hands like crafting and woodworking.