80. How the Pioneers Lived Off the Land

How the Pioneers Lived Off the Land The Earth Keepers Podcast with Amy Dempster from Following HawksSeason 3 of The Earth Keepers podcast continues as we explore how the Mormon pioneers lived off the land in the desolate Utah Territory.

In this season, I'm taking us on a journey to explore what happens when an entire society of people lose their connection to the only land they’ve ever known.

And I'll be exploring this question by following just one branch of my family tree back through the Mormon Pioneer days in Utah and Idaho and then back to my ancestors who left Sweden for America.

In this episode I share about the Word of Wisdom and how it applied to the pioneer's diets, the importance of fermented beverages in indigenous diets around the world, and the different obstacles the pioneers faced as they lived off the land in the late 1800s.

If you've done any genealogy research into your own family origins, want to know more about how organized religion influenced your ancestor's beliefs, are curious about how plant medicine and shamanic ritual was integrated into early religion, and want some ideas about how you can reconnect with the land in a place and time your ancestors wouldn't recognize, you're going to love this season of The Earth Keepers podcast.

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Here's what I share in this episode:

  • The Scandinavian influences still found in Utah today
  • A story about how my ancestors gifted me a flour mill
  • What the Word of Wisdom is in the Mormon church
  • Why early Mormon pioneers were making so much wine
  • How the act of fermentation creates a very nutrient dense beverage
  • What early pioneer kitchens looked like
  • Why it's unlikely the pioneers had the skills they needed to live on the frontier
  • How the back to the land movement of the 1960s and 70s was similar to the pioneers of the 1800s
  • What excited people in the early days of the Industrial Revolution
  • The conditions that likely led to thousands of immigrants leaving their homelands to come to America
  • How the pioneers began to grow their own food
  • Why the Mormons believed the quality of their homes and gardens reflected their worthiness for heaven
  • Seasonal eating patterns of the pioneers
  • The importance of preservation to the lives of the pioneers
  • How incredible it was that the pioneers were able to hold an enormous feast just two years after arriving in Utah
  • How food will connect us back to our ancestral roots
  • Whether or not its possible to create an interdependent community that doesn't become a cult
  • Why true self-sufficiency isn't really possible
  • How simple peasant food can be especially delicious

Links & Resources

Transcript of this episode

The Psychedelic History of Mormonism, Magic & Drugs

Plain but Wholesome, Foodways of the Mormon Pioneers

Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: Secrets of Ancient Fermentation

Slowdown Farmstead on Substack

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