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Over the next 90-days, my family is going to give up the grocery stores in an effort to eat locally and sustainably. Can we get what we need to nourish ourselves from local, independent sources? I can’t wait to share our journey with you!
Where Did This Crazy Idea Come From?
Two years ago today, I read an article called Our Year Without Groceries by Clare Adams. It circulated on Facebook for a while, and when I read it, it resonated with me. It was our second year with the gardens. Our fruit trees were only a year old. And I had a one-year old on my hip. I didn’t think it would ever be possible to give up the grocery store, but I longed for the simplicity of buying local, growing our own, or doing without.
I pretty much forgot about that article. In fact, I didn’t think about it at all until I scrolled through my Facebook memories this afternoon. But that article must have planted a seed when I wasn’t paying attention … that seed of an idea to do more with less.
That seed was slowly germinating over these last two years. I was fascinated by communities that don’t have supermarkets and have simpler grocery options like the small town I wrote about in my post yesterday. The fascination that for generations people either grew what they needed or got it from others in their communities.
I remember learning about the earliest settlements in the Americas. Everyone had their own gardens and raised their own food. Move forward in time about one hundred years, and you have the idea of the Victory Garden. That it is your patriotic duty to grow and raise your own food.
My grandfather was the bread man. He used to deliver bread door to door in the late 1950s and 60s. My mother tells me stories about getting milk delivered, and how my grandmother would skim off the cream and put it in a little pitcher in the refrigerator so she would have it for her coffee. My family has always gardened and gone to the butcher. How did we fall so far from that?
How did we fall so far from that? And more importantly, could we find our way back?
Our Desire to Eat Local
We all know that food tastes better when it is in season. If you have ever tasted what they try to pass off as a strawberry in the middle of December, you know what I’m talking about. Foods that are consumed during their growing season in the region where they are grown just taste better. This is the first reason most people decide to eat locally.
Our family also wants to support our local agricultural economy. We only have a quarter-acre homestead, but we live near so many wonderful, independent, family-run farms. By buying directly from them, we get to support our local farmers and local economy. I plan on visiting the various local farmers’ markets throughout the season to stock up on seasonal local produce that I can’t grow at home.
I am a small business owner, and I understand how hard it is to keep a small business running. While the supermarkets serve their purpose, it would be nice to support more of the “little guys” who are working to provide for their families and in many cases are working to keep family traditions alive.
Our Locavore Project will be a 90-day exploration of the food that is around us. Our desire is to have 100% of the meat, poultry, dairy, fruits, and vegetable to be grown or produced within 100 miles of our home. We want to teach our children about where food comes from, and we want to visit the farms, dairies, mills, and markets that serve our communities.
I also have a strong desire to lessen our dependence on processed foods – everything from sandwich bread to cereal. Over the next few months, I am hoping to make the switch from pre-packaged to homemade. This may be more challenging that I expect since the summer heat is going to be in full swing, but I’m sure it will be worth it, even if it means waking up early to bake before the heat of the day sets in.
Things We Still Need to Buy
While we are going to be shopping local, there is a lot we just can’t grow (or can’t be grown) in our area. My husband and I have agreed for the duration of this experiment, we will use up what we have on hand, but then there will be a select list of items that do have to be purchased. In years gone by, these items would have been purchased at the general store in town, so that is how we plan to do things as well. Coffee, tea, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, and oil are definitely high on the list of ingredients we will need to purchase. We are going to look into local alternatives though.
This project is a focus on food. We aren’t giving up toiletries, and we still need to purchase the items for our pets. My homesteading goals for this year included making more of our health and beauty products, so this is the perfect time to do that as well.
We are going into the Locavore Project with our eyes open. There are a lot of small challenges we need to consider.
Do we only go to restaurants that serve locally grown food? When we travel, do we now look for foods within 100 miles of that location? Can we find local alternatives to the beer, wine, and whiskey we currently enjoy? What about local alternatives to soda? Can we make our own snack foods? How will they measure up to their pre-packaged counterparts? Will I have enough time in my day to add baking and cooking from scratch to the myriad of other tasks I currently handle? Will the kids (and my husband) eat what we have available to us? Are we going to lose our motivation? How do we stay on track? (hint: that’s what the blog is for)