Fresh, The Movie is a good one, too. Industrial farming is all over the news, from salmonella in eggs to contaminated feed lot beef. Its been nearly 5 years since we left the big city for the
We haven't sworn off grocery stores for a year, although I kind of wish we could. Out here we lack the robust local food systems that places like Los Angeles, Austin and Portland enjoy. Instead my goal is to steadily reduce the things we buy from stores. Like...
Just a few backyard chickens can supply all the eggs a family needs. They don't eat much and they're kinda cute. Just don't name the ones you might eat (see #6).
2. Salad greens
Have you noticed that smell when you open a bag of store bought greens? Ick. Easy to grow, quickly maturing, salad greens are something almost everyone can grow for themselves.
Okay, I did buy one 3 lb bag of red potatoes this year because I ran out of the ones we'd grown. They like loose soil but will grow nicely in a container or even an old feedsack. This year I have 10 lbs of Red Dale seed potatoes waiting to go in the ground.
4. Tomatoes and peppers
Yep, more stuff that's easy to grow whether you build a raised bed or just plant them in a 5 lb bucket. Commercial farmers have to spray their monoculture tomatoes with all sorts of nasty stuff but when you grow just a few for yourself they don't make much of a target for pests.
Okay, melons do take up a lot of room but a freshly picked cantaloupe is so good it will make your toes curl.
See item #1. If you buy straight run chicks you will likely have too many roosters. They fit nicely in the freezer and are quite tasty.
No, we don't raise cattle. But there's a nice family down the road that does and we buy grass fed beef from them once or twice a year.http://www.franciscanfamilyfarms.com/ Check craigslist, there may be a nice family close to you who does the same thing.
This one is more difficult as we live in zone 6b/7. I grow a lot of the fruit we eat. The Farmer's Market is a good source but it only runs from June to September. So I have made good friends with my water bath canner. My pantry is full of jars of pears and peaches that will hopefully last until the early summer fruits are available again.
So we've made a good start. We still have to buy some things from the grocery but the list is getting shorter. The foods we produce or buy locally are a better quality, we're supporting local business and we are consuming less oil as our food doesn't have to travel so far.
Our plans for this year? Well, there are 6 fig tree cuttings happily rooting indoors in a pot of soil (thanks, Sal). I have apple and pear scions on the way and cuttings from 4 different kinds of currants. The seed collection has grown considerably while the chickens tear up and fertilize more of the yard for garden space. It's going to be a great year!