Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Food Prices, Grocery Budgets, and Self-Sustainability

This weekend I watched a series of videos about the coming food crisis on Backyard Food Production which I found very fascinating. Besides discussing various reasons why our grocery bills will be going up this year, Marjory Wildcraft lectured on gardening solutions to help reduce food costs. Let me say here and now, I will not be able to do all that she does anytime soon and I just about passed out when I saw the number of gardening beds required to be 100% self sustaining, but I did glean some terrific ideas and was encouraged that I'm on the right track!

For one thing, she didn't say you must be 100% self sustaining or else. Instead, she encouraged listeners to consider trimming 50% of their food costs by producing it themselves. Now that's a challenge I might be up to meeting fairly soon!

Photo Credit: Triskay86

Since I keep an online budget (and have for several years), I decided to go back and look at the percentage I spent on food for the last few years and I found that as my garden grew, the percentage I spent on food dropped. And if I take into account the fact that food prices have been rising, the percentage I saved would have been even greater. 

What my figures didn't reflect was the dollar amount I spent on seed and equipment. True, gardening is not free, but once you've purchased a few necessities, you can be more frugal and get more bang for your buck. And if you save seeds... well, that's even better! Now you're making steps toward sustainability!

Gathering one's own food can be daunting if you try to swallow the whole thing in one bite. But taken in small portions, it's not only possible, it's life changing! The problem is that as a society as a whole, we don't take the attitude that producing our own food is a worthy goal or even necessary. While considering what I had seen and heard on Marjory's video clips, I recalled an interview I did with Wendy at The Local Cook some time back where I commented on some historical statistics I had found regarding food acquisitions and budgets...

"Gathering one’s food and sustenance was just about an all-consuming struggle for survival. Everyday eating was a means of survival, with occasional feasts that were highly anticipated. And even when the industrial revolution took place during the 18th and 19th centuries, many still spent a large portion of their income on obtaining food.  

By the early 1900’s a family spent about 43 percent of their budget on groceries, but by the late 1980’s they only spent about 19 percent. Some of this was due to greater farming technology that resulted in falling food prices, but regardless, the results has meant that most families now can spend less on food and more on wants and desires. And with this new affluent lifestyle we have more disposable income to eat out and purchase “treats” that once were rare occasions." 

Photo Credit: Roadsidepictures

Hmmm... Historically speaking, that's a lot of work to get food for the family! Now contrast that with the fact that last year my family only spent 11% of our budget on food. That doesn't count what we ate out, but we don't eat out much, so I doubt it would change that figure significantly. I'd like to think I did a terrific job gardening and producing our own food! But it's more likely that food prices in the States have been fairly cheap in recent years. 

Until now.

It definitely feels like we are entering into a period of rising food costs. We've become accustomed to food being inexpensive and readily available. You've seen it yourself, I'm sure. 

Rather than get discouraged, let me suggest that you get proactive! Here's some thoughts to consider...

Moving Toward A Mindset of Food Self-Sustainability

• Our ancestors, recent and from way back, struggled to put food on the table in ways that we can't even imagine.

• We've become a bit soft; expecting food to be on the store shelves and always cheap.

• We do have options if we will choose to have a paradigm shift in how we acquire food.

• It's okay to work for food! Literally. In fact, it's probably good for us. We'd eat a lot less junk if we did!

Photo Credit: Urbanwild

• Urbanites and country folks alike can participate in reducing their commercial food consumption. It just takes some creativity and making different choices. For example, how much lawn does one really need? Seriously, as a kid we played ball in the street and had a great time! Remember the victory gardens of WW I and II ?

Photo Credit: chickenofeathers

• Consider changing just one thing you do to acquire food this year. For example, if you always buy tomatoes at the store, try growing some of your own, either in pots or the ground. How about herbs this year? Their easy and fun!

• If you've been growing your own food for a while, plan to add one thing to your garden this year that you purchase from the store. Or try one new method of food preservation to extend the bounty into the winter.

• Learn a new skill to be more self sustainable, such as composting or raising feed crops for your animals.

Photo Credit: net_efekt

• Besides a garden, consider one other food item that you could add to your existing homestead. Marjory raised meat rabbits. Many have added chickens for eggs, goats for milk, or a pig for meat. 

• Get your gun permit and hunting license this year or your fishing license and add to your deep freeze.

• Make a friend and start bartering food items. If you raise chickens and have eggs, trade with someone who has goats and milk. Marjory mentioned that she trades beef with her neighbor and in exchange receives milk (if I remember correctly!). 

Want the ultimate challenge? Do something this year to reduce your consumption of municipal water: collect rainwater and use it for watering your garden. (Be sure to check if this is allowed in your area - it varies by location). 

This year, my family will expand our garden by 1/4 again. We will double some of our crops and Lord willing, have more food than last year. Also, we will raise our first batch of meat chickens and start our first hive of bees. Little by little, it all adds up. When I look back at just 3 years ago, it's really amazing what has been accomplished over time. I just have to remember to be patient and recognize how far we've come!

What will you do that's new at your homestead this year in order to be more sustainable in terms of food production?


  1. I wrote this at the beginning of the year about what we've done regarding food and sustainability; and some of the plans/goals for gardening in 2011:


  2. I thought of a thousand things I wanted to comment on! What a great post- this is something we're really striving for so it's near and dear. Let me just add to the hunting suggestion that you'd need to bag a lot of deer (and not license your children to tag along) in order to make it economical. Like everything else, the cost to hunt is rising. We calculated that the deer my husband shot this year cost somewhere near $8/lb. We can raise meat for a lot less than that.

  3. We are adding grapes, raspberries, blackberries, and two new apple trees this year. I just ordered them last night! Our veggie garden will also be growing a few new types of garden plants this year. I am so ready to get ,y hands in the dirt... Thanks for your encouraging posts as always they inspire me.

  4. We too are moving toward food sustainablity. I will be watching the video you mentioned, as soon as I get a chance. I wanted to ask.... How did you do your farm drawing. I would love to do that for ours.

  5. Great read! I love the light fixture in the picture of the old store. I need two for my kitchen! LOL!!

  6. great, great post amy. This year, we've added one more garden to produce three new crops. We are adding strawberries and bluberries along with 4 apple trees.{i know it will be a few years, but at least it's done}

    We are considering chicken??? I have a lot to learn and with a new baby coming in less than three months, I think we will wait until next spring.

    Thanks for such valuable information.

  7. Absolutely wonderful post today! A couple of questions for you and your readers . . . first, you mention that you use an online budgeting system. I am determined to start one myself, and I am wondering if you can recommend a specific program or software.

    Also, I am trying to decide whether I will invest this year in a local organic CSA, or spend that amount on expanding my own small vegetable plot. I have a fair amount of my own land, but very little gardening experience. I am trying to discern what the better investment would be - - - supporting a local family farm? forcing my family to grow more of its own, even if that undoubtedly means less overall food brought in? Or maybe a combination of both? To put it in perspective, the local CSA would cost our family of 6 the equivalent of 2 weeks of our food budget - but would include 22 weeks of vegetable delivery, 22 weeks of a small fruit share, and 90 pounds of storage vegetables at the end of the season.

    Interesting topic!

    Kate in NY

  8. Amy - I'm on the board for a ministry that works on issues regarding homelessness and poverty. This includes a homeless shelter and a program transitioning people toward self-sufficiency. I'm wondering if you've seen any similar ministries/organizations utilize homesteading to cut costs and encourage self-SUSTAINABILITY in addition to self-sufficicency. In what ways do you think it would be compatible?

  9. Very interesting and true. I am very concerned about rising food costs and looking to grow more of my own food too. We will try bees again (last year they died). We just can't make the commitment on chickens, but we do have a local source of farm fresh eggs for cheap. I have been good about finding more and more local sources for food, so that we aren't as dependent on the stores. My grocery store budget has gone down, as out CSA and farmers market spending has gone up.

  10. I'm planting my first garden this year. I know it will be a challenge, but I'm excited to get started!

  11. I really love the idea of collecting rainwater for the garden. How much would life be different if we all went a little slower with our food, from the cooking, to the buying, to the growing, and the eating!

    I would love to get their sometime.

  12. We are also increasing our garden this year and seriously considering adding laying hens and chickens for meat. We would love to have a cow or two and a couple of pigs for the freezer. My 14 yos set out back in the cold for several hours this winter, but had no luck. We see deer in our front yard all the time, but in the back of our house...where the woods are, he had no luck! I do pick blueberries from a local farm (until we start producing more) and buy tons of produce from a produce stand. Last year I purchased 5 bushels of summer squash for $3 per bushel. It was a little bruised, but I was able to get a large amount put in the freezer. I put up around 70-80 jars of various preserves and would like to learn how to use a pressure canner. We also got a very nice food dehydrator. I have been making a great granola. This week I hope to use some of our frozen fruits to make fruit leathers. I hope to try my hand at dehydrating our herbs this year. I had good look with several herbs last year and I hope to increase our planting this year. We also started making our own bath soap and laundry soap and are working on developing an extensive food storage plan. Lots to do, but it is fun to learn!

  13. Thanks for the video link. It provided very important information about the actual status of our Country's food supply situation.

  14. Great posting!

    I'm just curious, when you say "43% of budget", "11% of budget", what are you defining as "budget"? Do you mean "income"?...or something else?

  15. This year our family is only spending $100 a month on all our food & toiletries and take out. I clip coupons with a vengeance... However... the majority of the food I'm able to pick up for free or ultra cheap is processed.

    I plan to off set my grocery budget this year by growing a huge garden in the backyard. 2 years ago I was able to grow over 1,300lbs of veggies in a combination of garden boxes and two traditional plots (it was an especially hot summer). This year my goal is to try and grow 1,000lbs. I have been able to pick up my garden seeds this year for free thru couponing and am curious to see how much I food I can grow with free seeds.

    We live in suburbia and luckily we are able to keep laying chickens in the back yard for eggs to help reduce our out of pocket grocery costs as well as keep "entertaining" pets (chickens) for my daughter... Now... if I could just figure out how to sneak a cow into the backyard without my neighbors noticing... that would be exciting!

    It's pretty amazing to think that not too long ago we all HAD to grow our own food to survive...

  16. What!?! You mean some people aren't 'allowed' to collect rain water? Now that really puts a burr under my saddle!
    Well, I think we are off to a good start with self-sustainability. Hubby has always hunted. We wouldn't eat much meat if he didn't. I do try to grow many of the fruits and vegetables we eat, but I haven't won the battle with the deer, yet! They seem to know exactly the day I plan to harvest! But I figure I will get my veggies eventually ~ hubby hunts remember! ;~P
    I hope to get bees someday, too. And goats and sheep and cattle (again). Before 'they' tell us we can't!

  17. I've just found your blog and read a couple of yours posts about beekeeping. They are so interesting. The kids think the comb is the greatest treat ever! Good luck with them!

  18. Hi - I dug up some info on placing the hives. It seems under the trees might be fine as long as you face SE. Here is a link to how we had our hives. http://weekendfarmer.blogspot.com/search?q=bee

    Also a link from the net. You will enjoy the sketch. http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/deciding-where-to-locate-your-bee-hives.html

    Good luck to you!! We had bees for the last 3 years. We had a bee keeper friend who managed the hives. This year me and my wife are going to do it on our own.

  19. We moved into a rental while my husband finishes school, so my garden plans have had to change. I only have a tiny strip that I can garden in, so I'm planning to add some containers and try to grow a variety of things. Every year feels like a new experiment.

  20. I don't think most Americans are aware of the rising food prices and the crisis that we may find ourselves in before the end of the year. The good news is, more people are waking up, more and more people are looking at starting their very first garden this year, and more people are spending their money a little more wisely. We will definitely be adding to our garden this year as well :)

  21. Hi Amy. Interesting post. A couple of comments. I read a book by Ken Carey about living in the Ozark Mountains called Flat Rock Journal years ago. When he and his wife first moved there, they tried to be 100% self sufficient. What they finally realized after about 7 years was that producing that last 10% took about 90% of their effort, so they backed off, and were much happier and less exhausted.
    The consensus among Anthropologists is that Hunter/Gatherers actually had significantly more leisure time than modern man. Of course, this depends on where you are living and how plentiful seasonal food is...but just saying.
    Part of why our food is inexpensive at the store is because of huge government subsidies. Read the first section of Michael Pollan's “Omnivore’s Dilemma” for one of the best balanced explanations of food subsidies I have ever read. It really helped me understand how and why we are where we are.
    I totally agree with start small. Gardening is not for everyone, and it is a lot of work, especially if it really isn't your thing and you let the weeds get away from you and then it seems overwhelming to reclaim the space. One of the best ways to save money on your grocery bill is to eat seasonally and learn how to freeze, can and dry some of that bounty for later. Buying asparagus in November (when it is coming from South America) or Blueberries in February will gut your budget quickly. But buying them when they are abundant and reasonably priced and freezing them…well, that is smart AND makes you feel wonderful when you are enjoying blueberries in your oatmeal in February that you froze in August.

  22. EXCELLENT post! I feel so strongly about this topic and it is so important that people become aware of it.

    "It's okay to work for food."
    Amen to that statement! I still don't fully understand why my city friends and family shudder when I mention caring for our food-producing animals or working on the garden. Like you said, it can be life changing and so very fulfilling!

    America's current climate of abundant, cheap food is the exception, not the rule when you consider how things were not so very long ago. And I think we are nearing the end of this phase. I hope more people CHOOSE to start taking an active role in producing their own food before they are forced to...

  23. Thank you for all your useful and encouraging posts! The Barn Hop has been fun, too. Thanks to all of you for putting this together.

  24. Wow! AWESOME conversation going on here today! I'll try to answer all your questions as best I can and believe me... I'm looking at every link you all send me! You've got great ideas and I don't want to miss a one!

    Quinn, you aren't kidding when you say it is getting more expensive to hunt. We have had to wait patiently for the right opportunities that are more affordable. For example, my husband can fly to Montana or Texas where he can hunt for free on friend's or family's land, but the ticket and cost of getting the meat back is ridiculous. He can try to hunt here, but it's almost a joke in CA. However, an opportunity or two has come open where it cost him nothing more than his ammunition. It wasn't my favorite kind of meat, but it was certainly edible and I was grateful! I just used the last of our venison so I'm praying for an opportunity for deer hunting. Ladies - encourage your guys to be manly and hunt! Don't squelch that desire if he's so inclined unless it becomes obsessive!

    Mrs. Trixi - I did the drawing in a Mac program called Appleworks. Sorry I don't know of a similar PC program, but perhaps another reader can answer that for you.

  25. Kate in NY - Good question! I can't really tell you what would work best for your family, but I can tell you what we did - both. We support a local farmers coop which is similar to a CSA. At first we purchased a weekly box while we worked on our garden. Then we were able to cut back to bi-monthly. During the winter, I still do the bi-monthly, but in the summer, I will cut back even further. Most CSA's require a subscription and you can't do it on a weekly basis, so you might consider purchasing a subscription and splitting it with another family if you don't need it all. Keep in mind that you should not be dependent on even a CSA. When it snows here, the truck can't get up the mountain, so we're on our own. Your first line of defense is your own garden, then your local farmer.

    Oh, and the online budget I use is through Crown Ministries (see their website) and look for Mvelopes.

  26. We are moving our garden to a different spot this year. For one thing it is too close to the road. I'll probably put low growing items there such as squash, and of course, lots of flowers. The main reason for doing this is last year a lady filed a police report about people stealing from her garden. The other reason is to give the earth time to renew itself again. We have chickens which we eat on occasion; they are more for the fresh eggs provided. We also have 3 honeybee hives having lost one during the winter. They seem to be pretty full of bees so we should be having new hives with queens soon. I agree so much with your post, and have enjoyed reading it. Things have been hectic so as usual I'm behind on my blog reading!

  27. Dear-Liza,
    What an awesome ministry opportunity you have! I have looked for a ministry that incorporates learning to homestead in urban settings, but few are actually doing this. And I really haven't found one that does what I've envisioned in my mind. A few secular groups are starting community gardens for the inner city poor, but it doesn't include other aspects that I'm aware of and it doesn't include the gospel. That said, I am in contact with a gal back east who is doing something through her church and I hope to interview her here at Homestead Revival soon!

  28. Kate @ Wonderful Life Farm,
    If I remember correctly, those stats referred to the percentage as compared to income. In other words, a lot of paycheck went to pay for just FOOD!

    Mavis, when you figure out how to camouflage a cow, let me know - I want one, too! But I still need a barn first.

    Weedend Farmer, thanks so much for the link - I can't wait to get over there and check it out. It makes total sense that the hive would need shade for southern exposure, but since mine are northern facing, I'm going to have to figure out a warmer spot in the yard, especially since wind can make our winter chill factor pretty low. I've been reading elsewhere and I'm wondering if I shouldn't have bought Russian bees instead of Italians.

  29. teekaroo, I've been right where you are - don't be discouraged! Do what you can and spend this time learning (which I know you are already doing based on all that I've read from you in the past).

    MIlesawayfarm, your comments are very appropriate and I agree. I must include that on previous posts I've commented that no one can be 100% self sustaining. Even Marjory Wildcraft's system that she set up required outside resources. God designed us to live in community and we can never get away from it and be doing His will. However, as a society, we have taken for granted those resources and we have gone way too far the other way. My goal is to encourage readers to build skills and eventually learn to barter and trade for what they can not raise themselves. Most of that trade should be local, but some will need to be from further away. I doubt wheat will be grown in my part of CA anytime soon, but I bet those midwesterners sure like our CA citrus!

  30. Ulrike, you bring up an excellent point that I have not discussed before - allowing the land to rest - a Biblical concept to be sure! Hmmm... perhaps a post on this would be good!

  31. Amy, This is a wonderful article and that backyard garden looks beautiful. One day I'll have one of my own :) :) for myself, let's see, I'd try my first ever change at container gardening this spring..and try zucchini. I'm not a big fan of tomatoes, strangely enough, but I sure do love zucchini. So I'd try growing that and maybe carrots, too? Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  32. MY husband has been itching to get the garden going for this year. We usually tap our trees in a couple weeks to make our own maple syrup.
    I love growing our own food and it definitely makes a dent in our grocery budget, not to mention I know we're eating real food.
    I am currently reading Family Friendly Farming by Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms. It is so inspirational!

  33. A great post and such a needed topic. We have a large garden and do fairly well with it, but still not up to providing 50% of our food supply.

  34. Hi Amy!

    I would need to watch the videos again, but I was under the impression that you didn't need but a fifth or less of the garden beds if you were NOT a vegetarian. Most of those beds are all grown for compost. If you have chickens and rabbits, you have a great advantage. The vegetarian formula is based on the biointensive gardening method :)


  35. And on a philosophical note....the creeping depression and sense of "what's the point" that stereotypically afflicts the middle-class American housewife can be the result of a too-easy life. If all a homemaker is called on to do is to shop wisely, how can that possibly be challenging and rewarding?

    I am never bored and rarely have time for the blues since I began asking myself to produce more than I consume.

    Thanks for the great post. This year I'm taking over the seed starting I usually leave to the professionals. We'll see how it goes!

  36. So many great thoughts from this post.
    On the news recently I've seen where people have coordinated to collect extra fruit from homeowners trees and donating it to the local food banks. What a great idea to help everyone involved and reduce the waste of otherwise unwanted food.
    For my family, this year we're trying some dry beans, and some additional herbs. I got together with some friends and we split some of our seeds that we might try some new veggies in the garden without added cost to our normal seed budget. It was a fun time getting together and now we're all having to practice some patience before the seeds can be started.
    Last year my goal was to not have to buy any tomatoe product over the winter. I learned how to make salsa, ketchup, can tomatoe varieties, and sauces. At the rate we are using our supply, I think the goal is going to be meet. We also learned how to freeze our fresh eggs as to not have to buy those over the winter as the girls rest. We almost meet that goal and are ready to increase the amount saved so that we hit the mark next winter.
    I don't know what the percentages or savings are, but I do know that the quality and work are the best.

  37. Such great information. I'll be turning to you for lots more information over the coming months, I know it. We are getting ready to move to the country (in two days) and there is plenty of change awaiting our arrival. Both my husband and I are on board to do whatever we can to become much more self-sustaining in the coming years. I look forward to the challenge and your tips!

  38. We're in the midst of prepping our first ever Texas Garden. We're a little behind, but, Lord willing, we'll get some things planted to get us started. I have a planting calendar all written up to help remind me and spur me that there are time deadlines for gardening here. We've got the goats, cows, chickens, rabbits, dogs and cats. Now we've got to get the fresh fruits and veggies going.

  39. Rhonda, I really want to read that book! I'm glad to hear it's a good one!

    Kathy, I was a bit confused when Marjory talked about those garden beds. I did hear her say for "vegeterians" but somehow I got the impression later that the extra beds were for feed for her rabbits. Did I get that wrong? Good thing if I did, because that was a bit overwhelming!

    animalfarm12 - you inspire me, girl! I've seen your work and it's impressive!

    A Serenade for Solitude - congratulations on your new ove to the country! How exciting! I wish you the best and look forward to hearing how it goes.

  40. Great post Amy! I would say more but it looks like there is enough discussion going on here. You started a good topic :)

  41. Amy, I'm getting excited about my garden! We are adding a 4 x 16 plot, and like animalfarm12, I am hoping to produce all of the tomato products, pickles and relishes we need for a year. I also get enough figs for most of our jam for the year. We will have everything we need for salads and salsa for the summer, which is a huge part of our diet in this Georgia summer heat. This post has prompted me to look ahead to the fall and plan to take advantage of the cooler weather to provide more healthy choices for my family. Thanks!

  42. Amy, in the beginning of the 4th video in the series http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOEj23RwXIE&feature=player_embedded#at=78 she talks about how only 12 beds out of the 40 are used for food production. The rest are for soil building, compost. (i watched them again)

    She does grow foods for her rabbits, but it seemed like she mostly pulled weeds and things for them. A little of this and a little of that. She also grows leuceana as a livestock feed/forage. You can feed 10% or less of it to non ruminants. Cows and goats, it can make up to 50% of their diets. (They can break down the mimosene)

    In her DVD she only feeds her poultry a little scratch, and her rabbits she only supplements with pellets in the late summer and fall. I was really impressed with her methods.

    I am implementing these ideas now. Gas will be 4.00 by Easter, and 5.00 by summer they say. Last time gas went to 4.00, alfalfa (80lb bales) went up to 18.00. We have cut back everywhere else, and animal feed is our last area.

    We'll just put a couple more holes in our belt and tighten it up another notch :)

    I enjoy your blog :)

  43. Another great post! I just think it makes plain good sense to be as self sustainable as possible. We are hoping to grow more & raise more of our food - we try & do a little more each year - we have long term goals & know as you said that you can only do one thing at a time. We are blessed living here that we can garden year round (although it means we don't get a break) & relying one rainwater for everything (we pump from one of our dams for our gardens).

  44. Thank, Kathy! You clarified it well for me! I should go back and watch them again just so I get more out of them the second time. I got interrupted several times during the first viewing anyway! My husband and I were just discussing how we can tighten our belt a bit more and what we should stock up on food wise for the next few months until our garden is producing well.

    Renata, you are definitely blessed to be able to garden year 'round! I know it's a lot of work, but as your children get older, they'll be a huge help! I'm so blessed that my oldest can do everything I do and my next oldest is getting there! It's like having two of me!

  45. What a wonderful read!! We've been growing a majority of our produce for five or six years now and we live in the middle of the city. I can be done! Unfortunately, we live in a society with a McDonald's or Microwave mentality: I want what I want, when I want it, and it better be fast! Growing your own groceries means eating whatever is in season and liking it! We've had many completely vegetarian meals over the years because there just wasn't room on the plate for anything else when the harvest came it.

    In your recommendations, I'd also recommend learning how to preserve your harvest. I am blessed to have a nine month growing season. Most people don't. And off-season produce prices are outrageous! Learn to can, freeze, or dehydrate your excess so you'll have your garden goodness during the off season.

    Oh, and barter with your neighbors. This is especially effective in urban areas. Got a bumper crop of tomatoes? Trade a few for a pound of green beans from your neighbor's garden. I've been trading eggs for grapefruit lately, lol!

    Thanks for the wonderful post. I will most likely mention it on my blog. I hope you don't mind.

  46. I mentioned some things we're planning to do here: http://oldhousekitchen.blogspot.com/2011/02/food-inc-review-and-thoughts.html

    I love reading your blog! You inspire me!

  47. Betty, Great ideas you've added. And I'm always grateful for a mention!

  48. Hi - your comment regarding the costs of food dropping in this last century - it has a whole lot of rather bad (even sinister if i may say) implications - please see:


    for a different and important take on the plummeting costs of our foods (and not cause we're growing veggies either!)
    Don't go back to sleep.

  49. Ravi, I would not disagree with you that prices on "fake" food has been dropping (well it was, but it's already going up), but as the government gains more and more control over our food through GM and GE crops, the price will start to rise once again. And because oil is about to go through the roof again, everything will go up - even Franken food. I believe that we've seen the last of cheap food. BUT, I could be wrong!

    I'm very willing to pay extra for local produce and I DO, but growing your own is still the first choice in my book while "importing" certain commodities that I can not produce myself.

  50. We too are getting meat chickens this spring! My in-laws have always done them and my husband is the one who does the dirty work. But we want to have our own this year! I have laying hens and adore getting fresh eggs! I really enjoy your blog. I have a blog as well, please check it out, myredbarnrevival.blogspot.com I just started about two months ago!

  51. I just need to get my garden back in order. It's 1200sf plus 11 fruit trees (so far!), and last year was a bum year for many reasons.

    I also try to get as much produce semi-locally as possible (I have a tomato lady, garlic guy, elderly orchard couple, bean/corn/squash guy, u-pick strawberry farm all on my to-do list during the season), so things don't have to travel as much. I've also been known to troll the neighborhood and knock on doors of folks that have fruit trees and ask if they plan to use the fruit, and if not, can I come back and pick when it's ripe? More often than not, folks don't know how much of a gold mine they've got in their yard. Which is good for me. :D

  52. If someone needs to start really small, sprouting is fantastic. And what nutritional powerhouses they are. You really get a bang for the buck with sprouts and even microgreens.
    Peace & Raw Health,


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