The Rules: Homegrown Year

Homegrown Year Rules

Homegrown Year: The Rules 

There have been a lot of questions about the rules surrounding the Homegrown Year. It’s a challenge made up by my friend Emily, and then supplemented and clarified with several of our other close friends (most of the creation of this challenge happened in Napa – yes, there was wine involved.) Sign up for the newsletter below!

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The rules are as follows:

Kelly will eat only from food that produced on the little farm, bartered from that food, or hunted, fished or foraged by her or her husband for one year. (Working date: August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021)

Food produced prior to August 1, 2020 compliant with the rules is allowed for consumption during the year and for barter. Food obtained according to the rules will also be allowed.


Bartering is allowed, but only with other sources – growers, farmers, ranchers, etc. Although Kelly can pay for shipping, she must use those foodstuffs produced on the farm as payment.

Example: Friend goes and buys Big Mac and attempts to barter for goat cheese. Not allowed.

Example: Friend grows blueberries and makes jam and attempts to barter for goat cheese. Not allowed as the sugar is store-bought. Kelly can barter for the berries themselves and make a jam with either sugar or honey bartered from sources.

Example: Kelly wants wine – She needs to find someone who actually grows grapes and makes wine.*

*Important: if you know anyone who grows grapes and makes wine – HAVE THEM EMAIL ME AT because I AM HERE FOR IT. Same with coffee growers.

Oregon Trail Rule:

Kelly will be allowed certain things on a figurative “wagon” needed for the year – these will include things like salt and white vinegar which are necessary for preserving, cheese cultures and rennet for cheesemaking, yeast and rising agents, etc. Additions to the “wagon” of things needed will be submitted and reviewed by the rules committee.

Break meals:

Kelly will be allowed four (4) meals off over the course of the year. These can be used for weddings, holidays, securing a reservation at a Michelin star restaurant, or if Kelly finally breaks down and eat an entire bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Hunting, fishing and foraging: 

Hunting, fishing and foraging off-property is allowed to contribute to the Homegrown Year. This only applies to animals, plants and fungi obtained by Kelly or her husband. All other food must be bartered for with the hunter, fisherman or forager. This rule is necessary to ensure Kelly’s husband agreed to this insane thing and will likely be used as an excuse from said husband to plan as many hunting and fishing excursions as possible.

Food inputs:

Inputs are allowed (i.e. seeds, seedlings, compost, animal feed, etc) but animals for meat must be grown on the farm (no finishing).

Personal care products:

The year is for food only, personal care products will be allowed. Kelly’s nice face cream will be wrestled from her cold, dead, hands.


This challenge also doesn’t apply to clothing. Hopefully, Kelly will need some smaller clothes by the time this is over.


The rest of the family will continue to eat normally. The kids will eat mostly Mac and Cheese, and the husband will enjoy this opportunity to eat whatever he wants and use this as a year-long trolling opportunity.

Coffee meetings, lunch, or drinks for work:

Kelly will have to meet and order water. Like a lame-o. Or waste one of her break meals. Because as one of her buddies said at the formulation of this challenge, “if you’re going to do this, you need to commit and do it right.” Please still invite her to stuff, she’s still fun even if she’s drinking water.


Kelly will have to send food ahead or pack it. Luckily Kelly and her husband bought a freeze dryer and can now pack food in mylar bags like those camping meals you take hiking, or meals you keep in the basement for the zombie apocalypse.

9 thoughts on “The Rules: Homegrown Year”

  1. This sounds like a very fun! What crops do you currently grow/ plan on growing? Have you considered growing microgreens? I grow them hydroponically in my kitchen. They take up little space and depending the the variety they mature very fast. My radishes right now are ready to harvest in 11 days! And they have 40x the nutrients than full grown radishes. Might be a good way for you to add new flavors with little time investment.

    1. It will be fun! And so hard. But hopefully also super gratifying. Last year I did a TON of tomatoes (my favorite) tomatillos, all kids of gourds, zucchini, pumpkin, spinach, chard, corn, peppers. Etc. My garlic and onions both failed last year so I’m gonna have to figure that out ASAP. I’ve never done potatoes before either so that’s a MUST HAVE. I like to sprout broccoli greens to micro greens on the kitchen windowsill then sauté them? I also really like radish greens too! I’ll do that for sure. Adding those to a pan with some farm-fresh eggs? OMG. Thanks for the nice note! I’m so excited to challenge myself in this way. Keep in touch. Or follow along by signing up for the newsletter where I’ll let people know where I am on the project –

  2. I feel like this is going to earn you a MAJOR celebration meal when you’re done.
    Also, our HOLY CRAP NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY IS ON A FRIDAY THIS YEAR party is on July 24, I think you owe yourself a massive par-tay to kick this crazy adventure off!
    And I’ll be growing chives, green onions, edible flowers, and a few other things that I might be willing to trade for cheese …and we have a mystery shrub that might be currants if you’re interested…YOU GO GIRL!

  3. I am late to this adventure of yours, but hoping I can catch up with previous articles! Good luck!

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