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As we get ready to venture into uncharted territory and live a simpler, more self sufficient lifestyle, I often ask myself crazy questions.
Well, crazy to some.
Could I live without the grocery store? Could anyone truly live without it? As a society, we are fairly dependent on the grocery. Just take a look at store shelves right before a big winter storm hits. Not much left, huh? That’s only for a short span of time, though. Could you do it for a week, a month, a year…
What if grocery stores no longer existed?
That’s a big question. I’m not saying no other food sources existed, just supermarkets. Did you know, the first supermarket didn’t hit American landscape until the 1940s? That isn’t all that long ago, yet people survived, even thrived, without supermarkets! If we didn’t have supermarkets, where would you get your food? Would you have enough knowledge and resources to eat?
What if you just don’t want to deal with the grocery?
There, that doesn’t sound so scary, right? And, if you learn how to not deal with the grocery, you would certainly fair better if there wasn’t one. It might sound crazy right now, but anything is possible. Besides, we probably aren’t going to be 10 minutes from the store where we’re headed, so I myself want to cut down on my trips, and dependency to the store anyway.
Let’s do this together. Here are 20 ideas to avoid, or at the very least cut back, on your grocery store trips.
- Join a local CSA! Try out local harvest to find one near you. You never know, you could find a great one and wind up getting the majority of your food from it!
- Utilize your local farmers market. I know, a lot of farmer’s markets aren’t year round. That doesn’t really matter, though. You can chat with the farmers in season, and make friends. They may very well have something else they could give you, trade or sale. Aside from, you can glean all sorts of information from these folks so you can:
- Start a garden of your own! Try turning that brown thumb into a green one. Instead of petunias plant some blueberry bushes. Instead of a garden bed full of wildflowers, grow some vegetables and fruits for you and your family to enjoy. Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats the taste and satisfaction of a ripe red tomato that you grew in your own yard.
- Then, learn how to preserve (canning or freezing) that produce you grew, purchased from the farmer’s market or the CSA.
- Find a source for your dairy products other than the grocery store. It could be the CSA, farmer’s market, friend, Amish or Mennonite village, however you can source it. Even if it isn’t raw dairy (which really is best) you can just about guarantee it is better than anything you can get at the store.
- Did you get that milk? Learn how to make your own yogurts, cheeses, and other dairy products (stay tuned for some great tutorials coming up!)
- Grind your own grains. You can purchase them whole through the above mentioned suggestions, or even an Amish market, if you have them in your area.
- Make large amounts of cleaning supplies using everyday safe products. Cleaner for the environment, safer for you and your family.
- Make your own detergent, and do laundry less often. Detergent is expensive, and full of heaven knows what. Opt for more natural ingredients. It’s commonplace to throw clothes in the dirty hamper after one use. If you’re out living on a farm working hard, they might be dirty. If you’ve been sitting at home, or working a light duty job, or running errands…. They really aren’t that dirty folks (I know I need to listen to myself on that one).
- Get some backyard chickens, if you’re allowed. This is the first thing I’m doing when we move, getting some chickens. We can’t have them here. Fun fact, did you know that people used to be encouraged (i.e.. required) to keep backyard chickens?? True story.
- Menu plan! Try to do it seasonally. I’m not saying you can’t, or shouldn’t, change things up, but you know what’s readily available in each season, work from there. Plus, not many people want to turn on their hot ovens when it’s 100 degrees outside. So, make a rough list of about a months worth of food for each season your area has. We have all four here, so I would make four “menus” and work from there. I might make my actual menu plan more often, but the list gives me something to work from.
- Did you learn how to make your own yogurt, cheese, etc? How about learning to make applesauce, salsa, bread, tortillas, anything really. Make it all from scratch!!
- Don’t use paper products. Trade in your paper towels for cloth. Use regular dishes instead of paper (or foam) plates. Cloth diaper. You can also use family cloth in place of toilet paper and reusable feminine products as well.
- Can’t have backyard chickens? That’s alright, try meat rabbits instead. Most ordinances don’t include them in their wording!
- Learn how to forage. Do you know what weeds are edible? Berries? Might be fun to learn, and definitely a good thing to know!
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16. Go fishing. Farm raised fish aren’t really all that great for you, anyway. Grab a pole, take the kids, and catch some dinner! I love to fish.
17. Take it up a notch, go hunting. I know, some people are totally against this. Most of these people will tell you this while having a large slice of cattle sitting on their dinner plates. Folks, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Your dinner was once a living, breathing, beautiful creature. Thank God for it. I’m not saying go out hunting for trophies, hunt for food, hunt for survival. We all gotta eat.
18. Become a beekeeper. Bees are awesome and I hope to someday learn to keep a few. Not only do you get wonderful beeswax, you get delicious honey to naturally sweeten all of your homemade dishes.
19. Learn more about herbal remedies. I am an absolute newbie when it comes to herbs, but their abilities are undoubtedly fantastic. Grab you a book, like Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide, and get started on learning how to ditch all those candy coated tablets in your medicine cabinet.
20. While you’re learning about how to dump all those tablets, learn how to use essential oils. I’m putting this one last, but it certainly isn’t least. There is no doubt essential oils are truly amazing.
Did I get it all covered? I was trying to think of everything available in today’s supermarkets. I’m sure this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start! If I really think about it, I think I could totally live without the grocery store.
Use some of these tips and figure out how you can live without, too.