Thursday, May 10, 2012

Eating Local on a Dime

Groceries cost less when we grow our own.

With the cost of food these days, it's always nice when you can find a bargain.  Many people think it costs more to eat local, but there are ways to make it affordable, and even less than shopping at a discount grocery store.  Here are a few to get you thinking.

Volunteer.  A previous issue of Mother Earth News reported that their Assistant News editor volunteers for a farmer every Saturday at the farmers' market in Lawrence.  She gets paid in leftover produce, and enough seconds to supply her with canned goods for the winter.

Trade something.  I've written before about the fresh baked bread I make.  One local farmer and I traded our products, my bread for his produce.  A friend of mine fixes equipment for a man who pays him with unlimited garden produce.  Consider your skills and how they may benefit a local producer.  Maybe you've got great marketing or computer skills, and a farmer could use your help to grow their business.  As Chris always says, "it's free to ask."

Split a share of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription.  I''m happy to say CSA's are beginning to grow in our area (here's a list of the ones I know of here).  If the cost of a CSA subscription is too much for you, consider finding a neighbor coworker or friend who wants to split a subscription.

Grow your own.  With the price of food these days you can save a ton of money if you decide to grow your own local food.  You don't have to turn half your yard into a garden, as we did.  Just fill a pot with some soil, and plant away, or join a community garden (see the list of those in Wichita here).  Think of the possibilities, local herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers and more.  This method is especially money saving if you typically purchase organics.  Rebecca over at the Sedgwick County Extension Agency blogs about the money that could be saved on groceries with their real world Family of Four Garden.  Check out her final post of the season to see how much money they saved last year.

Think like your ancestors - hunt & gather.  Chris and I have picked fruit from a tree outside of a local McDonald's, mulberries on public property near our home, and dandelions in random places where they grow.  One day my Mom and I spotted an apple tree at an apartment complex, apples falling to the ground and rotting.  We each filled a bag (okay, two) with some incredibly wonderful apples.  Keep your eyes open, there are free local foods to be found and gathered!

Can you think of other ways to get local foods on a dime?


  1. This is fantastic...we love all things authentic and unique!
    Check out our own new and exciting website...
    A website created by locals for those who love LOCAL!!!

    1. Thanks for your comment. Looks like you've created a great website for your location!