Guest post from Laura of Green Legacy Farm
One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries is to avoid the grocery store! Historically, grocery stores didn’t exist until the 1940s. Families raised much of their own food, bought it locally, or even traded with friends and neighbors.
Although I appreciate the convenience the grocery store offers, I’ve discovered the financial and health benefits of stocking my pantry from either my yard or local farmers.
Knowing where our food comes from can help reduce sickness, as food that is heavily processed or travels long distances is often void of essential nutrients. In addition, buying locally what you can’t grow or raise at home stimulates local economies. For example, The Virginia Department of Agriculture states that if every household spent $10 per week on local food, 1.65 billion dollars would be generated annually into the local economy!
I often hear many excuses as to why people can’t raise some of their own food, but there are solutions to almost all of those excuses!
Not Enough Space:
Container gardening, square foot gardening, and community gardening are all possibilities for those with limited space.
Not Enough Sun:
Is your lot wooded, or partially wooded? Consider planting edibles in your front yard, replacing ornamentals with fruit-bearing trees or bushes, or looking into shade-tolerant edibles. EdibleLandscaping.com is a great resource, or you can find many edible plants at your local nursery.
I have one friend who plants her garden along her driveway because it’s the only place that gets sun. Again, Square Foot Gardening gives some great suggestions for working with small spaces.
Not Enough Time:
Start small! Were you turned off by the mealy tomato at the grocery store? Try growing tomatoes this year. Next year, add in something else. Gardens are great projects for kids, too; they will learn much and take some of the responsibility off your hands.
Not Enough Money:
Prices of local meats and eggs are often more than their conventionally-raised counterparts at the store, though still often less than organics. Personally, we live on a teacher’s salary, so this hits close to home for us. Consider getting egg-laying hens (female chickens). This was a common backyard animal up until the 1940s. Chickens are easy to care for and relatively quiet.
In addition, buy in bulk. We got an extra freezer on Craigslist that can easily hold a quarter of a cow and several whole chickens.
Not in the Country:
Got an HOA, or a city that restrains how you can use your yard? Could you help change that? Our local city has a petition circulating right now to allow hens and honey bees within city limits!
Not a Good Cook:
Eating in season and simple recipes can make this task less daunting. Simply in Season is a wonderful cookbook to help you get started!
Laura is a wife and homeschooling mom to two children. She enjoys writing, reading, art, photography, gardening, and farming and blogs about it at Green Legacy Farm.